Unit 49. Questions (2) (Do you know where …? / She asked me where …)
When we ask for information, we often say Do you know…? / Could you tell me…? etc. If you begin a question like this, the word order is different from a simple question.
|Where has Tom gone?||(simple question)|
|but||Do you know where Tom has gone?||(not ‘Do you know where has Tom gone?’)|
When the question (Where has Tom gone?) is part of a longer sentence (Do you know…? / I don't know… / Can you tell me…? etc.), it loses the normal question word order.
Be careful with do/does/did questions:
Use if or whether where there is no other question word (what, why etc.):
- Did anybody see you?
- Do you know if (or whether) anybody saw you?
The same changes in word order happen in reported questions:
|direct||The police officer said to us, ‘Where are you going?’|
|reported||The police officer asked us where we were going.|
|direct||Clare said, ‘What time do the banks close?’|
|reported||Clare wanted to know what time the banks closed.|
In reported questions, the verb usually changes to the past (were, closed). See Unit 46 Reported speech (1) (He said that …).
Study these examples. You had an interview for a job and these were some of the questions the interviewer asked you:
Later you tell a friend what the interviewer asked you. You use reported speech:
- She asked (me) how old I was.
- She wanted to know what I did in my spare time.
- She asked (me) how long I had been working in my present job.
- She asked (me) why I had applied for the job. (or … why I applied)
- She wanted to know whether (or if) I could speak any foreign languages.
- She asked whether (or if) I had a driving licence. (or …I had got…)