1.1 TIME FOR A CHAT: direct and indirect questions

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Question English
Answer English

What does 'strategy' mean? Have you finished yet?
Question word: what; auxiliary verb: does; subject; strategy; main verb; mean. Auxiliary verb: have; subject; you; main verb: finished.
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The word order for most questions is: (question word) + auxiliary verb + subject + main verb

What happened next?
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Subject questions: when the question word is the subject of the sentence, use the affirmative form of the verb.

What are you working on? What was Thailand like?
(Here 'like' is a preposition and the question is asking for a description)
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Prepositions in questions usually come at the end.

In which newspaper did you read it?
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In very formal English, prepositions can come at the beginning.

I'm going out tonight. Where to? Who with? I didn't go to the party. How come? Why not? I hate spicy food. Why's that? Such as? Can you lend me a paintbrush? Which one? What for?
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Short questions, often ending in prepositions, are common in conversation

Could you tell me what time the lesson starts. Do you mind me asking why you left your last job?
the lesson starts. you left your last job.
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Use indirect questions to ask questions in a more polite way or for very personal questions.
After the opening phrase, use the affirmative form.

Do you know if Mike's married?
Mike's married.
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In yes / no questions, use if or whether + the affirmative form.

Other opening phrases include:
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Can I ask...? Do you have any idea...? Would you mind telling me...? What / Why / Where / Who do you think? I was wondering, I wonder, I'd be interested to know, I'd like to know, I want to know.

I wonder where Derek is. How do you think he did that?
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Only use a question mark if the introductory phrase contains a question.

When a question is very personal, start with
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Can I ask a personal question?

Where / have / been?
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Where have you been? At a meeting.

Who / be / you / with?
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Who were you with? Just people from the office.

What / meeting / like?
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What was the meeting like? Oh, you know. Long.

you / know / what time / now?
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Do you know what time it is now? Um... is it late?

Can / ask / why / you / not / phone?
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Can I ask why you didn't phone? My mobile was dead.

you / have / any idea / how / worried / I / be?
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Do you have any idea how worried I was/I've been?

if / you / here / credit / they / know / Do / cards / accept?
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Do you know if they accept credit cards here?

me / you / model / mind / how / a / you / asking / became / Do?
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Do you mind me asking how you became a model?

you / coffee / any / at / idea / this / where / time / I / can / get / have / a / Do?
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Do you have any idea where I can get a coffee at this time?

you / me / computer / Would / telling / the / available / mind / when / becomes?
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Would you mind telling me when the computer becomes available?

get / if / married / you're / Can / planning / I to/ ask?
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Can I ask if you're planning to get married?

was / I / briefcase / that / bought / you / where / wondering.
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I was wondering where you bought that briefcase.

I can't meet you tonight. No? How (1)?
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I can't meet you tonight. No? How come?

Because I'm going out. Where (2)?
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Because I'm going out. Where to?

To the Theatre. Who (3)?
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To the Theatre. Who with?

Nobody you know. The tickets were very expensive. How (4)?
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Nobody you know. The tickets were very expensive. How much?

I'm not telling. I'll get home late. What (5)?
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I'm not telling. I'll get home late. What time?

After midnight. You shouldn't ask so many questions. Why (6)?
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After midnight. You shouldn't ask so many questions. Why not?


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