Reported Questions are kind of reported speech. They are more difficult to make than indirect statements. Use them to pass on questions asked by another person or questions asked at a different time.
Our client asked when her order would be ready.
We use reported speech to show that the words we are saying are from another person, or another time. If you need to review the reasons for reported speech, please read this page. You can also learn about how to make reported speech on this page.
| So the four steps of reported questions are:
Step three of making reported speech is pretty easy. You need to take the question word from the original question and put it into your sentence, after "asked".
|"What is your name?"||→||She asked me what my name was.|
|"Where are you?"||→||She asked me where I was.|
|"Why won't you go?"||→||She asked me why I wouldn't go.|
|"How are you?"||→||She asked me how I was.|
|"Which one do you want?"||→||She asked me which one I wanted.|
|"When did you go?"||→||She asked me when I had gone.|
|"Who is he?"||→||She asked me who he was.|
However, in the case of a "yes" or "no" question, you need to be a bit more careful. In reported speech, we show "yes" or "no" questions with "if" or sometimes, "whether".
There are two ways to know if a question is a "yes" or "no" question.
|"Do you like chocolate?"||→||She asked me if I liked chocolate.|
|"Can you play the bongo?"||→||She asked me if I could play the bongo.|
|"Will he work tomorrow?"||→||She asked me if he would work tomorrow.|
|"Should I work too?"||→||She asked me if she should work too.|
|"Have you been to China?"||→||She asked me if I had been to China.|
The last step is maybe the most difficult for students. The first thing to realise is that when you report a question, your sentence is not a question. You are making a statement. You are saying, not asking.
But in English, when we make questions, we do two things:
So, when you report a question, you have to modify the original question. You have to change the question into a statement.
This is very similar to what you do when you make a noun clause. In fact, reported questions are a way to use modified noun clauses. That means you make a noun clause and you change it a little --- make the verbs past, and change the relative words, like in making reported speech.
Here is a simple example. Look at the words in bold. Compare the noun clause to the reported question. Notice the changes, shown in red.
|Noun Clause||Reported Question|
|I don't know what his name is.||She asked me what his name was.|
|Do you know what this is called?||She asked me what that was called.|
|I forgot to ask who will take it.||She didn't ask who would take it.|
Learning about noun clauses and how to make them will help you with reported questions and vice versa.