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  1. #21
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Re: Is this an indirect question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    e.g. I wonder what time it is. Tell me what you have done. Do you know what he wants.
    All these above given examples are indiect questions.
    " What time is it? What have you done? What do you want? are direct questions. We can use them in reported speach but I don't think they are indirect questions. They are simply questions used in reported speech.
    I'd like to hear other native speakers' opinions.
    Indirect speech = Reported speech
    Indirect question = Reported question

    I think those are different words with the same meaning.

    The question 'What's the time?' can be reported differently:
    He asked me what the time was.
    I didn't know what the time was.
    Peter knew what the time was.
    "Peter, tell us what the time is."

    However the reported (or indirect) question is the same - 'What's the time?"

    I would even get rid of the term 'indirect'. It seems confusing.

  2. #22
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Re: Is this an indirect question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Hi naomimalan,
    I cannot find any page references that you've quoted. Would you post them again, with the full title of the book?
    Thanks.
    Hi Raymott,

    In fact, I muddled this thread up with a similar one (What - that)which I had contributed towards the same day or the previous one. Sorry. Anyway, here is the reference*.

    Under the heading 15.5 “Wh-interrogative clauses”, the relevant passages are the following:

    “Subordinate wh-interrogative clauses occur in the whole range of functions available to the nominal that-clause [ … ]

    “The type of subordinate wh-interrogative clause that most closely resembles wh-questions is the indirect wh-question:
    She asked me who would look after the baby.
    Compare the direct question: She asked me, ‘Who will look after the baby?’

    “But we can claim a chain of resemblance from the request for an answer to a question (as in the indirect question) through uncertainty about the answer (as in I’m not sure who will look after the baby), certainty about the answer (It’s obvious who will look after the baby), expressions of other mental states or processes about the answer (I found out who will look after the baby, It’s irrelevant who will look after the baby), and informing about the answer (I told you who would look after the baby). In all instances a question is explicitly or implicitly raised, a question focused on the wh-element.”

    Perhaps it would have been less confusing to use Quirk’s name ("Subordinate wh-interrogative clauses") for this type of subordinate clause rather than “Indirect interrogative clauses”)? In fact I now see that Clark also suggests the term "indirect" to be confusing:

    I would even get rid of the term 'indirect'. It seems confusing.
    *QUIRK et al, “A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language” (1992), p. 1051.

  3. #23
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Re: Is this an indirect question?

    I think that the content of the reporting clause, whatever variations we may have, can roughly be classified as:
    a) answer to the question - ?
    b) answer to the question - +;
    c) answer to the question - -.

    As you can see, the reporting clause contains information with regard to the answer to the question of the reported clause .
    Last edited by Clark; 25-Nov-2008 at 18:47.

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