Indirect questions are often used in situations where you would like to appear gentle, polite or non-intrusive.
이번 강의에서는 간접적인 언어를 통해 하고 싶은 말을 돌려 말하는 방법을 가르쳐 드립니다. 보통 예의를 차리고 싶을 때 간접적인 언어를 사용하죠.
Check out the following examples to get a better understanding of how indirect questions are made and used.
Indirect question: I was wondering why… Direct: Why did you move to Korea? Indirect: I was wondering why you moved to Korea.
Direct: Why do you like boxing? Indirect: I was wondering why you like boxing.
Direct: Why do you like studying English? Indirect: I was wondering why you like studying English.
As you can see, these “indirect questions” aren’t even questions – they are actually statements that offer the person you are speaking to a chance to provide you with more information about what you were “wondering”.
Indirect question:I was wondering if… Direct: Do you have any black t-shirts? Indirect: I was wondering if you have any black t-shirts.
Direct: Does she like BTS? Indirect: I was wondering if she likes BTS.
Direct: Do you enjoy cooking? Indirect: I was wondering if you enjoy cooking.
Indirect Questions:Showing Understanding Or Interest
Indirect questions such as ‘I was wondering why…/I was wondering if…’ are also used to show interest in, or an understanding of, something that has just become apparent. See the examples to see what this means exactly.
Situation: Mary has confirmed she can come to Bill’s party. Bill: I am so excited about the party this weekend. It’s going to be fantastic. Mary: Oh, I forgot to tell you, I can come after all. Bill. Great! I was wondering if you were coming. (i.e. I was going to ask if you were coming.)
Situation: Three people are talking about Star Wars movies. Ben: Dude, the new Star Wars movies are pretty naff. Jerry: What!? From a father’s perspective they are still great. Sure, the stories might not be as good as the originals, but the lessons my kids learn from these movies about loyalty and honor is great. Ted: Ah, I was wondering why you liked those movies. (i.e. It has just become apparent as to why you like those movies.)
Note: Stress the word wondering when you are showing a realization or understanding. It might also help to say 'Ah' as a way of showing a realization. (To learn more about using correct intonation and word stress in English,
check out our forum right here!)
Communication Tip:Pretending to care when you have forgotten something
Often people will say 'I was wondering...' if they have forgotten something. For example:
Bill: I bought this gift for you while I was in New York.
Sally: Oh yeah! I was wondering how your trip was. (i.e. I totally forgot you went to New York, but I am pretending I didn't forget.)
intrusive (adj.): causing disruption or annoyance through being unwelcome or uninvited
naff (adj. informal): not good; poor quality
original (n.): first one made
loyalty (n.); a strong feeling of support or allegiance
honor (n.): a person or thing that brings credit
ah (response): used to show a realization
To sound more polite in English you can use indirect questions. This style of speaking is very common in English and is often used when asking for help from people you don’t know. For example, you can use indirect questions if you ask a stranger for directions, when talking to someone in a store or café, or when requesting information from someone you are not close to.
In this lesson we will teach you how to use 'Could you tell me...?' and 'Do you know...?'
Indirect question:Could you tell me…?
Using the ‘Could you tell me…’ structure is considered polite because it is softer than a direct question. This style of question also allows the person you are speaking to the option of providing you with the information or not. This ‘power to choose’ leaves the person feeling good because in most cases they will choose to help you.
Examples Direct question: Excuse me, where is Chuck’s café? Indirect question: Excuse me, could you tell me where Chuck’s café is, please?
Direct question: Excuse me, what time do you close? Indirect question: Excuse me, could you tell me what time you close, please?
Direct question: Excuse me, when is the next bus? Indirect question: Excuse me, could you tell me when the next bus is, please?
Direct question: Excuse me, what type of food do you serve? Indirect question: Excuse me, could you tell me what type of food you serve, please?
Note: Always remember to say ‘excuse me’ if you need help from a stranger.
Indirect question:Do you know…?
Examples Just like the above example, ‘Do you know…?’ is often used when speaking to people you do not know to sound more polite and a little less direct.
Direct question: Excuse me, where is the park? Indirect question: Excuse me, do you know where the park is?
Direct question: What time does the library close? Indirect question: Do you know what time the library closes?
Direct question: When is Bill going on holiday? Indirect question: Do you know when Bill is going on holiday?
Direct question: Why is he looking at me? Indirect question: Do you know why he is looking at me?