Indirect Question

What Is an Indirect Question? (with Examples)

An indirect question is a question embedded inside a statement (i.e., a declarative sentence) or another question (i.e., an interrogative sentence).

Of note, a declarative sentence with an embedded indirect question ends with a period () / full stop () not a question mark.

Let's start with a direct question: Here it is as an indirect question in a statement: Here it is as an indirect question in a question: The word whether can be replaced with if in these examples.

Read more about if and whether.

Examples of Indirect Questions

Here are some more examples of indirect questions (shaded):

Forming Indirect Questions

When the direct question is a yes-no question, the indirect question will start with if or whether. For example: When the direct questions start with an interrogative pronoun or interrogative adjective (i.e., how, what, when, where, which, who, whom, whose, or why), the indirect question will start with it as well. For example:

Word Order in an Indirect Question

Notice that the word order in an indirect question is the same as for a declarative sentence and not an interrogative sentence. For example:

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See Also

What are declarative sentences? What are interrogative sentences? What are direct questions? Using if and whether What are interrogative pronouns? What are interrogative adjectives? Glossary of grammatical terms