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Hi

I've just talked by the internet to someone about indirect and direct questions.

I wrote that:

"Where is Tom?" is a direct question

and

"Could you tell me where Tom is?" is an indirect question, and he didn't agree. He wrote that this is not an indirect question. He wrote also: "Where is Tom" may SOUND like the question you are asking, but the REAL question is "Could you tell me?" Let's say that A is asking B about Tom. "A" is DIRECTLY QUESTIONING "B."

He gave his examples:

What is wrong with Jim? [DIRECT QUESTION]
His teachers want to know what is wrong with Jim. [INDIRECT QUESTION]

NOTE: The second one is "indirect," because, even though they want to know WHAT?, the sentence is phrased as a statement, or, as you call it "an affirmative sentence."
I assume that according to him, if I said, "Could you tell me what is wrong with Jim?" this would be a direct question, but in my opinion it is indirect.

What's your opinion about it?
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Hi Newguest

Look at it this way: In the following sentences, the direct questions are in blue, and the indirect questions are in red:

- What did she tell him?
- Do you know what she told him?

- I wanted to know what she told him.

As Jim put it, an indirect question is embedded within a larger sentence.

In the sentences above, the first is simply a direct question, the second has an indirect question embedded in a sentence that is a question, and the third sentence has an indirect question embedded in a statement (reported speech).
Comments  
Indirect questions can be either questions within questions (as in your example) or questions within reported speech (as in your friend's example).
Look at this link:
http://www.learnenglish.org.uk/grammar/archive/indirect_questions.html
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<>I wrote that: "Where is Tom?" is a direct question
and

"Could you tell me where Tom is?" is an indirect question, and he didn't agree. I don't agree either. The entire sentence is not an indirect question. Indirect questions are always embedded. They are only parts of sentences. where Tom is is the indirect question. He wrote that this is not an indirect question. He wrote also: "Where is Tom" may SOUND like the question you are asking, but the REAL question is "Could you tell me?"...

He gave his examples:

What is wrong with Jim? [DIRECT QUESTION]
His teachers want to know what is wrong with Jim. [INDIRECT QUESTION] Also not an indirect question. Only the part what is wrong with Jim, embedded in the larger sentence is the indirect question.
CJ
See also Question about question
Hi

But these sites http://www.eslbase.com/grammar/indirect-questions http://www.eslau.ca/lesson/unit13.php in my opinion say something else.

What did she tell her? [direct question]

Do you know what she told her? [indirect question]
 Yankee's reply was promoted to an answer.
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YankeeHi Newguest

Look at it this way: In the following sentences, the direct questions are in blue, and the indirect questions are in red:

- What did she tell him?
- Do you know what she told him?

- I wanted to know what she told him.

As Jim put it, an indirect question is embedded within a larger sentence.

In the sentences above, the first is simply a direct question, the second has an indirect question embedded in a sentence that is a question, and the third sentence has an indirect question embedded in a statement (reported speech).


Is there any such thing as an indirect question by itself then?

Thanks,

Donna
AnonymousIs there any such thing as an indirect question by itself then?
No. It has to be imbedded inside a bigger sentence.
CJ
Could you tell me where Tom is? This is completely an indirect form of question.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
blue slide 166 Could you tell me where Tom is? This is completely an indirect form of question.

Are you implying that this is a case of an indirect question by itself, that is, not embedded in a higher level clause?

I ask because if that's what you are claiming, you are wrong. Only 'where Tom is' is an indirect question. The whole sentence is a direct question.

If you have any remaining doubts about this, please read the thread again, recognizing that the eslbase website is talking nonsense. The authors there are not being very rigorous in their definitions. They are oversimplifying to the point of distorting the truth about direct and indirect questions.

CJ