English grammar – Reported questions

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Form & meaning

These general rules for reported speech also apply.

  1. When we report questions, the subject comes before the verb.
    • Direct speech: “Where are you going?”
      Reported speech: He asked me where I was going.
    • Direct speech: “Why is he shouting?”
      Reported speech: He asked me why he was shouting.
    • Direct speech: “What do you want?”
      Reported speech: She asked me what I wanted.
  2. When reporting questions we don’t use the auxiliary verb do, except in negative questions.
    • Direct speech: “Who doesn’t like cheese?”
      Reported speech: She asked me who didn’t like cheese.
  3. We report yes/no questions with if or whether.
    • Direct speech: “Do you want me to come?”
      Reported speech: I asked him if he wanted me to come.
    • Direct speech: “Have you fed the dog?”
      Reported speech: She asked me whether I had fed the dog.
  4. When we report questions with who, what or which + to be + object, the verb be can come before or after the object.
    • Direct speech: “Who is the champion?”
      Reported speech: She asked me who the champion was / She asked me who was the champion.
    • Direct speech: “What is your favourite colour?”
      Reported speech: She asked me what my favourite colour was / She asked me what was my favourite colour.

Related grammar points

Reported Speech
Reporting Verbs
Say and Tell


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