Direct and Indirect Questions

🧠When we ask for information, we often use direct questions:

Where is it?

If we want to be more polite or formal, we can use indirect questions:

Can you tell me where it is?

Take a look at the table below:

Rules for forming direct and indirect questions

Direct questions can be simple questions:

Are you at home?

Subject questions:

Who won the match?

Object questions:

What did they win?

With simple questions and object questions we use special word order for questions

If there is a ‘helping verb’ (auxiliary verb), for example will, was, have and can, we put the subject after the auxiliary verb:

Can you help me?

Where will Allie be tonight?

How many languages can you speak?

In present simple and past simple questions, we use do/does/did:

Where do they live?

Did you call me?

Indirect questions have the same word order as statements (subject before verb):

Do you know how long the journey takes?

We do not use do/does/did in the question:

⛔Do you know how long does the journey take?

If there is no question word (who, where, why, how, etc.) in the direct question, we can use if or whether
in the indirect question:

I wonder if she replied to your email.

I wonder whether she replied to your email.