Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Grammar Point: Indirect questions

Good day everybody. Later today I'll post a fresh Six Minute English Quiz. But now I'd like to "flag up", that is, draw your attention to something that regularly "crops up", in other words occurs, in our English lessons. I'm talking about Indirect Questions.

We use these in various situations, notably when reporting what someone said. They are also very commonly used when we want to make a polite or delicate request, for example when asking for permission or information.

Here's an example that happened to me on the early morning flight from Istanbul to Izmir, Turkey. I had boarded the plane and taken my allocated seat. The seat next to me was empty. A British tourist asked me curtly, "Is this free?" She sounded quite aggressive. She should have said, "Could you tell me whether this seat is free?"

I should have stared up at her coldly and replied, "Yes!" Instead of this, I said mildly, "Yes, I think it is." I guess I am too nice.

To find out more about Indirect Questions, go to this page on the BBC World Service Learning English site. Pay particular attention to the word order. Which is correct:

1. "Could you tell me what time is is?"
2. "Could you tell me what time is it?"

Study the BBC page and then post your answer on the Tag Board or in a comment.

Good luck, and more soon!
Yours,
Michael

1 comment:

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