Reported questions are a part of Reported Speech. Read the post to find out how we introduce them and what changes appear when reporting a question.

Word order in reported questions

When we report a question, we change the word order of the question – it becomes the same word order as a statement.

Note: We do not use the auxiliary do, does or did in reported questions:

WrongHe asked what time did the flight leave Paris.   

Right: He asked what time the flight left Paris.

We make the same changes in tense, pronouns and time and place words as for reported statements:

The reporter asked, ‘Did you tell us the truth yesterday, Minister?’

 The reporter asked the Minister if he had told them the truth the day before.

We don’t use question marks in reported questions:

WrongThey asked if I was satisfied with the room?

Right:     They asked if I was satisfied with the room.

Reported yes / no questions 

 We introduce reported yes /no questions with ask / want to know + if or whether:

‘Has your union agreed on the new pay deal?’

A reporter asked the leader if his union agreed on the new pay deal.

‘Did the Minister answer your questions?’

She asked me whether the Minister had answered my questions.

‘Have you ever lived in this city? Why do you like it?’

They wanted to know if I had always lived in the city and why I liked it.

With if and whether we can add or not at the end of the question:

She asked if/whether the Minister had answered my question or not.

Reported wh – questions

We introduce reported wh – question with ask / want to know + wh-word:

‘When will the article appear in the newspaper?’

They asked us when the article would appear in the newspaper.

‘Where is the cash desk?’

She wanted to know where the cash desk was.

We don’t use an object after want to know:

Wrong: They wanted to know me why I liked it.

Reported Questions in English

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