Changes in Reporting verb in case of Interrogative sentences

We make any change in the reporting verb and in the sentence structure of direct speech depending on the kind of sentence used under inverted commas.

There may be five kinds of sentences in the inverted commas:

  • Assertive
  • Interrogative
  • Imperative
  • Exclamatory
  • Optative

In this article, we will cover the transformation in case of Interrogative sentences.

Changing the Reporting verb in Interrogative sentences

Concept 1

Direct and Indirect speech

Direct speech: He said to me, “Are you lazy?”
Indirect speech: He asked me if I was lazy.

Direct speech: The old man said to me, " I am old, will you bring some water for me?”
Indirect speech: The old man asked me whether I would bring some water for him as he was old.

Concept 2

Direct and Indirect speech

While transforming direct into indirect, we change the reported speech into assertive sentence.

Direct speech: He said to me, “What is your height?”
Indirect speech: He asked me what my height was.

Direct speech: The doctor said to me, “How and when did you meet with such a fatal accident?”
Indirect speech: The doctor inquired of me that how and when I had met with such a fatal accident. (incorrect; ‘that’ should not be used)
Indirect speech: The doctor inquired of me how and when I had met with such a fatal accident. (correct)

  • While converting into indirect speech, we should change the ‘Question Mark (?)’ into ‘Full Stop’.

  • As the sentences are not in interrogative form in indirect speech, so helping verb is used after the subject. 

  • If the question can be answered in yes/no → We will use the conjunction if/whether.
    If the question is of ‘wh family’ → We will not use any conjunction.

Concept 3

In case of “Assertive sentence with question tag” remove the question tag and change the assertive sentence into interrogative sentence and follow the required rules.

Fenni said, “you can’t trust everyone, can you?”
Fenni asked if/whether I couldn’t trust everyone. (asked if/whether should be used, instead of ‘said that’)

Concept 4

In case of “yes”, use ‘answer/reply in the affirmative’.
In case of “no”, use ‘answer/reply in the negative’.

He said, “Are you fine?” I said, “yes”.
He asked if/whether I was fine. I replied/answered in the affirmative.

Ajay said to her, “Have you gone mad?” She said, “No”.
Ajay wanted to know from her whether she had gone mad. She replied in the negative.

Concept 5

In case of need and needn’t we use the following structures.

Direct speech: Subject + say/said ……., + “need + Subject + Main verb +……. ?”
Indirect speech: Subject + ask/inquire/……+ if/whether + Subject + had to / have to + $V_1$ ……..

Direct speech: Mak said to Mayank, “Need I go to temple?”
Indirect speech: Mak asked Mayank if he had to go to temple.

Direct speech: Subject + say/said……, “needn’t + Subject + Main verb +…….?”
Indirect speech: Subject + ask/ inquire ………………….. + If/ whether + Subject + needn’t + $V_1$ …..

Direct speech: Heather said, “Needn’t we meet tomorrow?
Indirect speech: Heather asked if they need not meet the next day.

Concept 6

In case of dare and daren’t we use the following structures.

Direct speech: Subject + say/said….., “Dare + Subject + Main verb …..?”
Indirect speech: Subject + ask/inquire/ …..+ If/ whether + Subject + dare / dared + $V_1$

Direct speech: Mr. Sharma said to her, “Dare you speak something before your father?”
Indirect speech: Mr. Sharma asked her if she dare speak something to her father.

Direct speech: Subject + say/said………, “Daren’t + Subject + Main verb + ………..?”
Indirect speech: Subject + ask/inquire ……. + if / whether + Subject + daren’t + $V_1$ ………….

Direct speech: Mr. Sharma said, “Daren’t you touch Anand?”
Indirect speech: Mr. Sharma asked if I daren’t touch Anand.

Concept 7

Let us see the structures that we can use in case of “how about/what about + $V_1$ + ing.”

Indirect speech pattern 1: Subject + suggest/propose + $V_1$ + ing……..
Direct speech: Alia said, “How about walking on the terrace?”
Indirect speech: Alia suggested walking on the terrace.

Indirect speech pattern 2: Subject + suggest/propose + to + Object + that + we/they + should + $V_1$ ….
Direct speech: Alia said to Ankita, “what about spending some time together in the gym?
Indirect speech: Alia proposed to Ankita that they should spend some time together in the gym.

Extra Books and Tools

Though the matter on our website is in-depth and comprehensive enough for the needs of most of the aptitude exams, but it may also feel daunting for the same reasons. Moreover, some learners prefer books over websites. So, if you are a beginner level English learner, and prefer books, you may explore the following English Grammar books too.

1. Wren & Martin - This book has been around for long and is still considered one of the best. Though many concepts have not been dealt with in much depth here, but beginners may find it a breeze to read. Once you are done with it, the content on our website will work as a rich add-on. If you are getting this book, make sure you get the key to its exercises too.

Link for Indian readers: Wren and Martin

2. More advanced learners may refer to the following books. However, buy them only if you must. Most of your English Grammar learning needs will easily be met by our website.

Essential English Grammar by Raymond Murphy
Link for Indian readers: Essential English Grammar

Intermediate English Grammar by Raymond Murphy
Link for Indian readers: Intermediate English Grammar

Advanced English Grammar by Martin Hewings
Link for Indian readers: Advanced English Grammar

So much so for Englsh Grammar. But what about Comprehension skills and Vocabulary?

We strongly believe that Comprehension skills and Vocabulary are more a matter of practice. The more you read, the better you will become in them. In fact, this will help you in Grammar too. Afterall Grammar rules are just in the nature of temporary scaffholding - the goal is to read, write and speak a language without consciously remembering even a single Grammar rule.

So, we suggest you to read vividly. Ideally, carry some tool with you that you may refer to learn the meaning of any word that is new to you. There are many ways you may go about it.

* The old method: Carry a good dictionary with you. But who does?

* Download a Thesauraus app on your mobile or just google it. Better, but we still need to stop reading, open app, type and then search. Boring!

The methods mentioned above kill the joy of reading. Who wants to stop reading in the midst of an interesting plot and look for the meaning of a word? And if you are a lazy soul like me, oh man! No chance!

That's why I prefer to read on gadgets like Kindle. We may just tap on any word and see its meaning there and then. It's also not taxing on the eyes.

If you guys know about any more such books, gadgets and technologies that are awesome and may help English learners, do share 😇
Share on: