Direct and indirect questions

Where is the waiting room? is a DIRECT QUESTION.

Do you know where the waiting room is? is an INDIRECT QUESTION. It is a polite way of getting information.

Do not use question formation (Unit 9) after the question word because you have already used it before the word.

Could you tell me how much it costs? (NOT does it cost)

Do you know where the toilets are? (NOT are the toilets)

Can you ask him when we can leave? (NOT can we leave)

Could you tell me what they are doing? (NOT are they doing)

For an indirect question without a question word, use if:

Could you tell me if the pharmacy has a blood pressure clinic tomorrow?

Do you know if the pharmacist will be there?

Reported questions

These questions tell us about questions, but they do not ask them. They are REPORTED QUESTIONS.

She wants to know when the course begins. (NOT does ... begin)

He wants to know where he can smoke. (NOT can he smoke)

Statements with question words

Here are some more statements with question words:

I can't remember where I have put them. (NOT have I put)

I'd like to know what you saw there. (NOT did you see)

They haven't decided where they will go. (NOT will they go)


An exclamation shows interest or surprise. They use question words but, again, they are not questions.

What a beautiful day it is! (NOT is it)

Look how fast they are going! (NOT are they going)

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Exercise 13.1