Unit 10.1

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Indirect Closed Questions

Introduction

Indirect questions are structures used in formal situations where we may need to ask something from someone we don’t know well.

The indirect closed question are introduced by if.

Form

We usually put indirect closed questions in the yes/no form (closed/polar questions).

The structure of indirect closed question is:
Indirect question phrase + if + affirmative clause + … (+…?)

Indirect closed questions usually contain an if-clause.

Example

  • Can you tell me if Michael lives here?
  • Could you ask her if she got my message?
  • I would like to know if you have already changed the ticket.
  • Do you have any idea if they are okay?
  • Do you know if I can find a tourist map in this shop?
  • I need to know if I need a visa for this trip.

Use

We use indirect questions to avoid direct questions.

We use indirect questions in formal contexts, such as professional situations, to request something in a more polite way.

Summary

Indirect questions are structures used in formal situations where we may need to ask something from someone we don’t know well or to request something in a more polite way. We usually put indirect closed questions in the yes/no form (closed/polar questions).

Indirect closed questions usually contain an if-clause.

We start with indirect question phrase followed with the word if and an affirmative clause (the sentence may end with a question mark).

For example:
— “Do you know if she cancelled her ticket?” = Do you know if is an indirect closed question and it is followed by a affermative clause.
♦”Has she cancelled her ticket?” /  “Can she cancel her ticket?”
 = Direct closed questions can only start with an auxiliary or a modal verb. They are informal and less polite than the indirect ones.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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