Indirect questions

دوره: گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه / اپیزود 21

گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه

60 اپیزود

Indirect questions

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Could you tell us what you have learnt from Unit 21 so far? Have you any idea how you can ask indirect questions ? It might be a bit of a challenge, but dont worry. Here are Rob, Catherine and Mike to help you out.

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Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Catherine.

And me, Rob. Hello.

Today we’re talking about indirect questions.

That’s right: Indirect questions. We’ll tell you what they are, how to make them and when to use them

There’ll a quiz at the end of the show, so listen carefully.

Let’s start with a simple question. Catherine: What time is it?

It is 18 minutes past 11, Rob.

Goodness already.

And that question uses normal question word order. What time is it? But there’s another way to ask that question. Let’s listen to Mike:

Could you tell me what the time it is?

Yes, it’s still 18 minutes past 11! Thanks Mike. This is a much more polite way of asking a question. It’s called an indirect question and it has two parts. The first part is the phrase Could you tell me …

And the second part is the question word what with the information we want to know. Here it is again:

Could you tell me what time it is?

And there are lots of phrases that we can use in the first part of an indirect question. Here are some examples:

Do you know….?

Do you know when the film finishes?

Have you any idea?

Have you any idea where I left my phone?

Would you mind telling me …?

Would you mind telling me how this machine works?

Now, let’s get a closer look at the second part of indirect questions. And it’s important to note that we don’t use question word order.

That’s right, the subject and verb are in the same order as they are in statements. So, we don’t say Can you tell me what time is it? We say Can you tell me what time it is? It’s subject - it - plus verb - is . Listen out for the statement word order in these indirect questions:

Do you know when the film finishes?

Have you any idea where I left my phone?

Would you mind telling me how this machine works?

One more time please?

Do you know when the film finishes?

Have you any idea where I left my phone?

Would you mind telling me how this machine works?

Thanks Mike now, let’s talk about yes - no questions. Here are some direct questions.

Is this coffee for everyone?

Does the canteen open for breakfast?

Can I use this computer?

Now, listen to the indirect questions. They use statement word order again, so listen out for that, and also listen out for the two words that come after the part one phrases.

Do you know if this coffee is for everyone?

Do you know if the canteen opens for breakfast?

Do you know whether I can use this computer?

One more time please?

Do you know if this coffee is for everyone?

Do you know if the canteen opens for breakfast?

Do you know whether I can use this computer?

So, use if or whether in yes - no questions. The meaning is the same, but whether is a bit more formal than if .

6 Minute Grammar from BBC Learning English dot com.

And we’re talking about indirect questions.

That’s right, and we use indirect questions a lot in English, especially when we are talking to people we don’t know.

Let’s recap: there are two types of indirect questions: those that use question words like what, where, when, why and how …

… and those that use if or whether .

But all indirect questions have the same word order as statements.

They do. Now, a quick word about tenses. Listen to these direct questions.

Does this programme finish soon?

Did a package arrive for me this morning?

The first question was in the present simple tense. We had the auxiliary does with the verb finish .

And the second question was in the simple past, with the auxiliary did and the verb arrive . Let’s hear the indirect questions now.

Can you tell me if this programme finishes soon?

Could you tell me if a package arrived for me this morning?

So, no does or did in the indirect questions. In the first question, it’s finishes in the present simple.

…and in the second question, it’s arrived , in the past simple.

Simple!

And now: it’s quiz time. Number one. Which is correct? Is it a) Can you tell me where the coffee machine is? Or b) Can you tell me where is the coffee machine?

It’s a) Can you tell me where the coffee machine is?

Good. Number two. a) Do you know if this machine does give change? Or b) Do you know if this machine gives change?

It’s b) Do you know if this machine gives change?

And number three. Have you any idea what the time is? Or b) Have you any idea what is the time is?

It’s a) Have you any idea what the time is?

Well actually, it’s time for the end of the show. Well done if you got those right.

There’s lots more about this on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Grammar soon.

Bye.

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