What’s the difference between direct and indirect questions?

Promoter Asked on 10/02/2014 in English Grammar.
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1 Answer(s)

Indirect questions are used when wanting to sound more polite or formal.

The most important thing to get right when asking indirect questions is WORD ORDER.
Here’s a good list to help you:

WH-QUESTIONS

  • Where is the station?
  • What time does the film start?
  • How do they feel about it?
  • Where are you going?
  • Where were you born?

POSITIVE WORD ORDER

  • Can you tell me where the station is?
  • Do you know what time the film starts?
  • Do you know how they feel about it?
  • May I ask where you are going?
  • Could you tell me where you were born?

YES/NO QUESTIONS

  • Are you planning to move?
  • Does Tom like pizza?
  • Did she see Mrs Craig?
  • Have you met Sally?
  • Was she upset?

IF/WHETHER + POSITIVE WORD ORDER

  • I’d like to know if you are planning to move.
  • Do you know whether Tom likes pizza?
  • Do you know if she saw Mrs Craig?
  • I’m not sure if you have met Sally.
  • Can you tell me whether she was upset?

Read more:
Polite Expressions in English: Words, Phrases and Questions
Formal and Informal Email Phrases Starting with Greetings
Difference between POLITENESS and RESPECT
A Practical Guide to Using Diplomatic English in a Business Environment
I’m not good at asking questions in English. Can you help?

direct indirect questions

Promoter Answered on 10/02/2014.
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