Article Changing Wh-questions with the be verb to indirect questions - a handout


Here are different Wh-questions words:

What ...? Who....? Where ....? When ....? Which .....? Why ....?

How....? How many ....? How much ....? What for ....?

Here are several examples:

1 What's your name?
What is (1) your name (2)?

2 Who is your technical teacher?
Who is (1) your technical teacher (2)?

3 Where's the bathroom?

4 Where's the museum?

5 When is the drinking party?

6 Which book is mine?

7 Why are you late?

8 How tall are you?

9 How much are the tomatoes?

To change Wh-questions (direct questions) using the be verb to indirect questions, the word order changes. The be verb now comes after the noun and we add in front of the wh-question word one the following expressions --- could you tell me, do you know...

Indirect question formation - polite questions

1 Could you tell me what your name is?
Could you tell me what your name (2) is (1)?

2 Do you know who your technical teacher is?
Do you know who your technical teacher (2) is (1)?

3 Can you tell me where the bathroom is?

4 Do you know where the museum is?

5 Would you mind telling me when the drinking party is?

6 Do you know which book is mine?

7 Could you tell me why you are late?

8 Can you tell me how tall you are?

9 Can you tell me how much the tomatoes are?

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If this is a rule for creating indirect Wh-questions then how come the word order for this sentence is not changed. Example: Do you know which ring is cheaper? Is it the comparative cheaper that changes this rule?

Not sure Reema, but it does follow the rule (#6) where the question starts with WHICH.... I wonder if there are other exceptions.

Which one is correct :
Could you tell me which room i can use ,or
Could you tell me which room can i use?

When you say "Could you tell me which room I can use?" It is just a polite question. When you use "Which room CAN I use?" You are saying "Well all the rooms seem to be full so which one CAN I use?"

I am following this english course. I hope I would able to speak english.

Which one is correct:
Do you know who America was discivered by?
Do you know who was America discovered by?

Marcella; surely the second one is wrong. You have not altered the word order, 'Who was America discovered by?' is a direct question. To transform it into an indirect question you have move the verb as you have done in the first example.

why in question 6: "Do you know what book is mine?"
the verb didn't change its position?
I have a question to write: "Do you have any idea of what percent of e-mail is spam?" I suppose the direct question is "what percent of e-mail is spam?" why it didn't change its position?
If you can answer it sending me an e-mail, I'd be very grateful.
thanks a lot.

1) The question is 'Do you know...?' and you don't change the second verb into a question.

my name is housna i m from marrakesh i want to improve more about amirecain language

To do indirect questions, there are four basic question patterns to be aware of:

A. Question with a question word (where, how, etc.) and BE or "helping verb" including will, can, have/has, etc.

--> invert BE verb (etc.) and the following noun (Ex: Where is the bathroom. Can you tell me where the bathroom is?)

B. Question with a question word and do/did/does

--> take out do/did/does and make other necessary changes (Ex: Where did you go yesterday? Can you tell me where you went yesterday?)

C. Yes/no questions

--> add "if" and make changes as in A and B (Ex: Did we win? I'm not sure if we won.)

D. Questions with question word (who, what, which) as the subject.

--> no change (Ex: Which is cheaper? I don't know which is cheaper. Who called? I don't know who called.)

I would like to know if there is a rule for this:
Who was at the party? cannot change to Do you know who at the party was?
Who was your teacher? changes to Can you tell me who your teacher was?


Thank you for your help.

I like very much this article but I am confused with a usage.

Direct = "Will they be happy?"
Indirect = "DO YOU KNOW IF they WILL be happy" (I think this is okay because it follows the rules.)
but = "DO YOU THINK IF they WILL be happy" sounds wrong.

My friend says should be "Do you think they will be happy" without "IF" but why???


Your friend is right because it is a direct question.

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