Question Forms and Reported Speech

1. Normal word order is used in reported questions, that is, the subject comes before the verb, and it is not necessary to use ‘do’ or ‘did’:

  • “Where does Peter live?” —>  She asked him where Peter lived.

2. Yes / no questions: This type of question is reported by using ‘ask’ + ‘if / whether + clause:

  • “Do you speak English?” —-> He asked me if I spoke English.
  • “Are you British or American?” —-> He asked me whether I was British or American.
  • “Is it raining?” —–> She asked if it was raining.
  • “Have you got a computer?” ——> He wanted to know whether I had a computer.
  • “Can you type?” —–> She asked if I could type.
  • “Did you come by train?” ——> He enquired whether I had come by train.
  • “Have you been to Bristol before?” ——>  She asked if I had been to Bristol before.

3. Question words:

This type of question is reported by using ‘ask’ (or another verb like ‘ask’) + question word + clause. The clause contains the question, in normal word order and with the necessary tense change.

  • “What is your name?” he asked me. —–> He asked me what my name was.
  • “How old is your mother?”, he asked. ——-> He asked how old her mother was.
  • The policeman said to the boy, “Where do you live?” ——->  The policeman asked the boy where he lived.
  • “What time does the train arrive?” she asked. ——-> She asked what time the train arrived.
  • “When can we have dinner?” she asked. ——>  She asked when they could have dinner.
  • Peter said to John, “Why are you so late?” ——-> Peter asked the John why he was so late.

Note: See also Summary of Reporting Verbs