When a question is reported, it becomes an indirect question. An indirect question does not end with a question mark; it ends with a full stop (period). We do not use quotation marks in indirect questions.

Examples:

  • The reporter asked, “When is the rain going to stop?”
  • The reporter asked the weatherman when the rain was going to stop.
  • We asked her, “Where were you last Sunday?”
  • We asked her where she was the previous Sunday.

 

We often use if in indirect questions.

Examples:

  • “Do you believe in one god or many gods?”
  • They asked if I believe in one god or many gods.
  • “Are you sad that you have no friend?”
  • My sister asked me if I was sad that I had no friend.

 

We can use whether or whether or not instead of if.

Examples:

  • They asked whether I believe in one god or many gods.
  • My sister asked me whether / whether or not I was sad that I had no friend.

 

The present form of modal verbs in direct speech takes the past form in indirect speech.

Examples:

  • She asked, “Can you burn these things for me now?”
  • She asked me if I could burn those things for her then.
  • He said, “My grandmother will be ninety-nine years old the day after tomorrow.”
  • He told us his grandmother would be ninety-nine years old in two days’ time.