Reporting Questions – Rules and Examples

Reporting questions

In reported questions the subject normally comes before the verb.

  • Direct speech: James asked, ‘Why are you going?’
  • Indirect speech: James asked me why I was going. (NOT James asked me why was I going.)
  • Direct speech: I asked, ‘Where are they staying?’
  • Indirect speech: I asked them where they were staying. (NOT I asked them where were they staying.)
  • Direct speech: He said to me, ‘Where are you going?’
  • Indirect speech: He asked me where I was going.
  • Direct speech: ‘Where do you live?’ asked the stranger.
  • Indirect speech: The stranger asked where I lived.
  • Direct speech: ‘Will you trust such a man?’ he asked.
  • Indirect speech: He asked me if / whether I would trust such a man.

Reported questions are usually introduced by verbs like asked and inquired. Note that question marks are not used in reported questions.

Reporting yes/no questions

Yes / no questions are reported with if or whether.

  • Direct speech: Ann asked, ‘Will you wait for me?’
  • Indirect speech: Ann asked if I would wait for her. OR Ann asked whether I would wait for her.
  • Direct speech: Alice asked Peter, ‘Can you help me?’
  • Indirect speech: Alice asked Peter if / whether he could help her.