Direct or Indirect? That is the question.I hear it all the time in my lessons. Students will say something like, "I don't know what is it." Have you ever said that? Look closely at the word order, it's easy to miss if you're not looking for it.
'What is it?' OR 'I don't know what it is.'
One is an example of a direct question, and the other is an indirect question.
DIRECT QUESTIONS are what we typically think of when we ask questions.
- What time is it?
- Where is she going?
- Is there anything to eat?
INDIRECT QUESTIONS are questions that are normally formed as sentences, but preceded with some sort of introduction (Could you tell me.../ I wonder.../ I'd like to know.../ Let me know.../ Etc.) . You're asking the question... well... indirectly. These are typically seen as more polite or formal.
- Can you tell me what time it is?
- Do you know where she is going?
- Could you tell me if there's anything to eat?
Other Ways to Begin Indirect Questions:
Where did you go? - DIRECT
Could you tell me where you went. - INDIRECT
Ask him where he went for vacation. - INDIRECT
What are weddings like in Saudi Arabia. - DIRECT
Can you tell me what weddings are like in Saudi Arabia? - INDIRECT
Ben: Come pick me up at 9.
Nicole: Ok. Remind me where you live again. - INDIRECT
How much is it? - DIRECT
Do you know how much it is? - INDIRECT
I'd like to know how much it is. - INDIRECT
How did she do that? - DIRECT
I wonder how she did that. - INDIRECT
Indirect questions are often more polite because they are more passive and... well... indirect. That's not to say direct questions are rude. They're not. But, indirect questions are just a bit more polite or formal.
Practice changing these DIRECT QUESTIONS into INDIRECT QUESTIONS.
1. What will you do when you get there?
2. Where are my shoes?
3. Did Andre leave yet?
4. Do they have any more bread?
5. How many times can you jump rope?
6. How old are you?
7. Did they like the pizza?
8. What did you like best about the movie?
Answer these and ask your teacher to check them for you.
Have a great day! Don't text and drive.