Reported Questions

Reported questions are one form of reported speech .

We usually introduce reported questions with the verb "ask":

  • He asked (me) if / whether ... (YES/NO questions)
  • He asked (me) why / when / where / what / how ... (question-word questions)

As with reported statements , we may need to change pronouns and tense (backshift) as well as time and place in reported questions.

But we also need to change the word order . After we report a question, it is no longer a question (and in writing there is no question mark). The word order is like that of a normal statement (subject-verb-object).

Reported YES/NO questions

We introduce reported YES/NO questions with ask + if :

Note that in the above example the reported question has no auxiliary "do". But there is pronoun change and backshift.

Note that we sometimes use "whether" instead of "if". The meaning is the same. "Whether" is a little more formal and more usual in writing:

Reported question-word questions

We introduce reported question-word questions with ask + question word :

Note that in the above example the reported question has no auxiliary "do". But there is pronoun change and backshift.

Look at these example sentences:

Contributor: Josef Essberger

Reported speech 2 – questions

reported questions

Do you know how to report a question that somebody asked? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we can tell someone what another person asked.

direct speech: 'Do you work from home?' he said. indirect speech: He asked me if I worked from home. direct speech: 'Who did you see?' she asked. indirect speech: She asked me who I'd seen. direct speech: 'Could you write that down for me?' she asked. indirect speech: She asked me to write it down.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 2: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

A reported question is when we tell someone what another person asked. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech.

direct speech: 'Do you like working in sales?' he asked. indirect speech: He asked me if I liked working in sales.

In indirect speech, we change the question structure (e.g. Do you like ) to a statement structure (e.g. I like ).

We also often make changes to the tenses and other words in the same way as for reported statements (e.g. have done → had done , today → that day ). You can learn about these changes on the Reported speech 1 – statements page.

Yes / no questions

In yes / no questions, we use if or whether to report the question. If is more common.

'Are you going to the Helsinki conference?' He asked me if I was going to the Helsinki conference. 'Have you finished the project yet?' She asked us whether we'd finished the project yet.

Questions with a question word

In what , where , why , who , when or how questions, we use the question word to report the question.

'What time does the train leave?' He asked me what time the train left. 'Where did he go?' She asked where he went.

Reporting verbs

The most common reporting verb for questions is ask , but we can also use verbs like enquire , want to know or wonder .

'Did you bring your passports?' She wanted to know if they'd brought their passports. 'When could you get this done by?' He wondered when we could get it done by.

Offers, requests and suggestions

If the question is making an offer, request or suggestion, we can use a specific verb pattern instead, for example offer + infinitive, ask + infinitive or suggest + ing.

'Would you like me to help you?' He offered to help me. 'Can you hold this for me, please?' She asked me to hold it. 'Why don't we check with Joel?' She suggested checking with Joel.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 2: 2

Language level

reported speech of "he asked : which shoes are yours" isn t it he asked me which shoes were mine ?

Hello holingutenderg,

Yes, that's correct. May I ask where you see that on our page?

All the best, Kirk LearnEnglish team

Hi, please how can solve this for me, thank. Q/ Change the following into reported speech.

1. "I'm really tired of all these questions," he said. 2. "My sister is cleaning her room," said Lisa. 3. "I can't wait to get home today," said Frank. 4. "I don't have much time today," she said.

Hello waad Ali,

I'm afraid we don't solve tasks from elsewhere for users. We're happy to give advice and explanations but we can't just provide answers or we'll end up doing our users' tests and homework for them!

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I want to ask about reported speech. He said: "Do you want me to send this postcard for you?" -> He asked if i wanted him to send that postcard for me. I think this is what is normally changed from direct to indirect speech. But it's kinda weird for me. And i changed the sentence like this: -> He asked whether to send that postcard for me. Could you answer this for me? Thanks in advanced.

Hi Jenny2101,

Yes, I think the first one ("He asked if I wanted ...") is the typical way to transform the question into indirect speech.

The second one ("He asked whether ...") is also grammatically fine and means pretty much the same thing. But compared to the first one, it doesn't explicitly contain the idea of you wanting him to do that, which might or might not be important, depending on the situation.

I hope that helps.


The conversion to reported speech -> She said that she could swim when she was young.This is right, isn't it? AND NOT She said that she could swim when she had been young. Please answer.

Hello englishforeverindia,

Yes, that's correct.

All the best, Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, i have a question. 'Where did he go?' changes and become 'He asked where he went'. So questions with question words have no backshift, isn't it?

Hi Blizzard93,

Backshifting is actually possible too - it depends on the context. It's also possible to report the question like this --> He asked where he had gone . (backshifted)

The version without the backshift is preferred when the thing being reported is still true or still relevant. Perhaps he left and then the speaker asked that question just a moment ago, for example.

reported questions

English grammar – Reported questions

Keith Taylor

Form & meaning

These general rules for reported speech also apply.

Related grammar points

Reported Speech Reporting Verbs Say and Tell

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English grammar – Say & tell

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It’s very informative… It helped me a lot… Thank you

can you convert this? the student said, “would that my results were different”

Hi , in my book there is exercise that want change sentence from Reported question sentence to direct question My question is ( in past perfect sentence ) how I know that this sentence change to past simple or present perfect. Because both of them in direct speech change to past perfect .

Hi, can you write here the sentence that you need to change?

Hi I have a question, my English teacher said we never inverted the subjects in the reported questions. But in your work I saw that you are inverted the subjects in that reported question. Can you tell me why you do this?

please can you tell me what is the reported speech of “what was the last book you read? “….please it is very important

He asked what book I read last

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Reported or indirect questions in English

 reported questions and verb tenses in english , preliminary points:.

1. Reporting the present: simultaneous reporting.

2. reporting the past: deferred reporting., 2.1. reporting the past from the  present ..

reported questions

2.2. Reporting what was the future in the original question.

online shopping


Reported Questions: Direct and Indirect Questions

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Reported Speech Questions! Learn how to form Reported Questions in English with useful grammar rules and example sentences.

Table of Contents

When you are changing a question from direct speech into indirect speech, you follow the same kinds of rules as for statements. The only differences are that you need to use a different word to introduce the reported speech , and the word order of the question becomes like that of a statement. You end the sentence with a full stop, not a question mark.

To report a question, we use verbs such as: inquire , wonder , want to know , ask …

Only ask can take an indirect object.

Reported Speech Questions Examples:

Direct speech : “ Have you got a computer? “

Reported speech: He wanted to know whether I had a computer.

Reported Questions | Direct vs. Indirect Questions

How to Report Wh and Yes/No Questions

Reported speech questions:  yes/no questions.

– We use “ if ” or “ whether ” to introduce a “yes‑no question”.

Direct speech: “ Did you receive my e-mail? “

Reported speech: The teacher asked me  if I had received his e-mail. OR  The teacher asked me  whether  I had received his e-mail.

– You introduce questions where there is a choice in the same way ‑ more usually by using  “ whether ” than by using “ if “.

Direct speech: I asked, “ Is it John’s phone  or Richard’s?”

Reported speech: I asked whether it was John’s phone  or  Richard’s .

Reported Speech Questions:  Questions Words (Wh- Questions)

– You introduce questions that begin with who , why , what , how , when , where …  by using the word  which begins the question in direct speech.

Direct speech: She asked, “ Where did he stay?”

Reported speech: She asked me where  he had stayed .

Direct speech: She asked, “ When will you go back to London? “

Indirect speech: She asked when he would go back to London.

– You often mention the person who is being asked the question, by using a pronoun ( him , her , them , etc.) or by mentioning their name.

I asked him if he ate meat.

She asked Michael when he would go back to Japan.

Notes for Reported Questions

In reporting questions:

– The tense of the verb changes as it does in reported speech but there is no auxiliary verb and  the word order is like an affirmative sentence .

– We don’t use question marks in reporting questions except beginning with  Could you tell me…? ,

Do you know…? , May I ask…? , … (when we ask for information.)

Reported Speech: Useful Rules & Examples

Reported Speech in English

(Reported Questions: Direct and Indirect Questions)



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Reported questions – Exercise

Task no. 2323.

Finish the sentences using Reported speech. Always change the tense, although it is sometimes not necessary.

Peter: "Did John clean the black shoes?" Peter asked me  

Peter asked me if John had cleaned the black shoes .

Do you need help?

Reported questions in English

Reported questions

Sometimes we want to retell somebody's question in the reported speech.

For example

What do you want? → I ask him what he wants.

Where are you staying? → He asked us where we were staying.

Reported "wh" questions

In reported questions, we also "backshift" the verb as we do in  reported statements. It is important that the word order changes as well: the sentence is no longer a question. We have a direct word order in reported questions.

... question word + subject + verb

Study these examples:

Reported yes/no questions

Some questions don't have a question word. To transform them into reported speech we add the word  if. Do not forget about the backshifting of the verb tenses.

Do you like this T-shirt? → She asked me if I liked that T-shirt.

Can you do me a favour? → He asked me if I could do him a favour.

Is there a cash machine nearby? → They asked us if there was a cash machine nearby.

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  1. Reported Questions

    Reported Questions ; She said: "Are you cold?" She asked me if I was cold. ; He said: "Where's my pen?" He asked where his pen was.

  2. Reported speech 2

    A reported question is when we tell someone what another person asked. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech. direct speech: 'Do you like

  3. Question Forms and Reported Speech

    Word order Normal word order is used in reported questions, that is, the subject comes before the verb, and it is not necessary to use 'do' or 'did':

  4. English grammar

    Form & meaning · When we report questions, the subject comes before the verb. · When reporting questions we don't use the auxiliary verb do

  5. Reported or indirect questions in English

    If the reported question refers to a past situation, the verb in the reported question clause should go in the past. But if the reported question refers to a

  6. Reported Questions: Direct and Indirect Questions

    Reported Speech Questions: Yes/No Questions ... – We use “if” or “whether” to introduce a “yes‑no question”. Example: Direct speech: “Did you receive my e-mail?“.

  7. Reported questions in English

    1.2. The introductory sentence in the Simple Past · Direct Speech → Susan: “Does Mary work in an office?” · Reported Speech → Susan asked if/whether Mary worked

  8. Reported questions, Exercise

    Mark: "Has John arrived?" Mark asked me . Ronald: "Where does Maria park her car?" Ronald asked me . Elisabeth: "Did you watch the latest film?" Elisabeth asked

  9. Reported Speech 5- Reporting questions

    In this video you will learn about how to report questions. you will learn what changes to make when changing a question from a direct to an

  10. Reported questions in English: explanation, examples

    Reported "wh" questions ; What colour is your car? They asked me what colour my car was. ; When did you leave? They asked me when I had left. ; How long have you