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.
- 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.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.