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by Insights to English | 18 Jul 2018
Resource Description:

Here's how to teach the 3 parts of Indirect Question sentence structure, whether they are reported questions or polite or formal requests or inquiries.

The full resource is a seven-minute video.

Audience: Adult, Secondary, Teacher Training
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced
Teaching Tip:

There are three parts to Indirect Questions:

  1. The Introductory Clause - for reported speech, this is "She asked", "He wondered", and so on.  For polite or formal questions, it's polite expressions like "Do you mind if I ask" or "Could you tell me", among others.
  2. The Crux - this is what links the two clauses.  It's also the unknown part of your sentence.  It's usually question words like 'who', 'what', 'where', and 'when', but for yes/no questions it's 'whether' or 'if'.
  3. The Content - this contains the details of the question you want to ask.  For reported questions, it's what you're actually reporting.  The trick is to order the words according to declarative structure, not interrogative structure.

That's it for polite requests and formal inquiries.  Reported questions, however, need to go through the 3 steps to Reported Speech in addition to the 3 parts of Indirect Questions.

For details on how to teach Indirect Questions, watch the video.

TESOL Interest Section: Adult Education, English as a Foreign Language, Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL, Teacher Education