Indirect Questions


There’s more than one way to ask a question. An indirect question is a polite way of asking a question by adding another question to it.

After the question words (when, where, who, how, etc.), indirect questions have the same word order as positive statements; they do not need a change in word order in the main question.

Where is the nearest bank please? (direct question)

To make it more polite, we can add an introductory phrase, such as, “Could you tell me…?” before the direct question. Now we have an indirect question, “Could you tell me where the nearest bank is, please?”

Note that the second part of the sentence is no longer in question form (direct question).

Here are some introductory phrases you can use in indirect questions:
• Could you tell me…
• Do you know…
• I was wondering if you…
• May I ask…
• Would you mind telling me…
• Do you happen to know…
• Do you have any idea…

Let’s practice!
You don’t know the cost for two-one way tickets to Surabaya. You ask your friend how much for them. Use one of the introductory phrases mentioned above.


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