Using indirect questions correctly
Indirect questions are not questions in the strict sense of the term. They don’t not have a question mark at the end.
In direct questions, the auxiliary verb goes before the subject.
- Does he know what he is doing? (Here the auxiliary ‘does’ goes before the subject ‘he’.)
- Will you help me? (Here the auxiliary ‘will’ goes before the subject ‘you’.)
- In an indirect question, the auxiliary verb goes after the subject.
She asked me if I could help her. (NOT She asked me if could I help her?)
- Tell me when you are going on holiday. (NOT Tell me when are you going on holiday.)
- I wondered if she was all right.
- Rahul asked if I wanted to watch the film.
Note that an indirect question cannot stand alone. It has to be attached to an independent clause with a conjunction like if, whether or when.
- I don’t know whether I will have time. (Will I have time? I don’t know.)
- I wondered if she was free. (Is she free? I wondered.)
- Tell me what you are doing there. (NOT Tell me what are you doing there?)