Direct & Indirect of interrogative sentences with examples and exercise

 In this article, I have explained the direct & Indirect interrogative sentences with examples and exercises. I have explained the direct & indirect of closed questions and open questions separately.

I have given examples of both open questions and closed questions.

Interrogative sentences (Direct & Indirect )

What are the interrogative sentences?

Interrogative sentences have two types. One type is called closed questions and the second is called open questions. Closed interrogative sentences are those sentences that are made with helping verbs. The sentences that are made with a helping verb can be answered with the word Yess or No that is why they are called closed questions. We have no other option but yes or no. The other type of interrogative sentence is called open questions. In this question, we are free in question. we can give an answer of our own choice. These question sentences are made with wh-words like Why, What, When, How, Where, Which, etc. In order to change interrogative sentences into indirect speech with helping verbs following rules are applied.

Closed Interrogative Sentences (Started with helping verbs)

Interrogative sentences that can be answered with yes or No. They have a limited range of answers like yes or no only.


1. Inverted commas will be removed and the word "If" or "whether" is used instead of commas.
2. The conjunction "That" is not used in interrogative sentences.
3. The interrogative sentences become assertive in indirect speech.
4. Question marks will not be used in an indirect sentence of interrogatives.
5. The verb Say and said converted into asking or inquiry.
6. The changes in pronouns happen according to assertive sentences.

Examples of Closed Questions( Started with helping verbs)

  • He said to me," Will you like mangos?"
  • He asked me if I would like mangos.
  • She said to me," Are you preparing for the test?"
  • He asked me if I was preparing for the test.
  • They said to me?" Have you broken our pen?"
  • They asked me if I had broken their pen.

Open interrogative sentences (Started with WH words)

Open interrogative sentences are made with WH words like What, When, How, Where, When, etc. They have a detailed range of answers. Open question sentences have different methods from close question sentences. The rules of open questions are following.

Changes in Indirect sentences

1. Inverted commas are removed 
2. The WH word is used in the place of inverted commas.
3. The interrogative sentence changes into an assertive or positive sentence.
4. The question mark will not be used at the end of the indirect sentence.
5. The word Say and said converted into the word ask or inquiry.
6. The pronoun changes according to general rules.

Examples of Interrogative sentences (Started with Wh words)

  • He said to me?" When will you return my books?"
  • He asked me when I would return his books.
  • We said to them?" Who will be visiting your school tomorrow?"
  • We asked them who would be visiting their school the next day.
  • I said to him?" Which book do you like?"
  • I asked him which book I liked.
  • They said to me?" What are you doing here?"
  • They asked me what I was doing here.
  • I said to them?" Where were you going to yesterday?"
  • I asked them where they were going the previous day.

Changes in pronouns

First of all, we need to know about the kinds of persons in order to understand direct and indirect speech.

1st Person

Subjective         Possessive        Objective
[ I ]                    [ My ]                [ Me]
[We]                  [ Our ]                [ Us]

2nd Person

Subjective          Possessive       Objective
[ You ]                [Your]                    [ You]

3rd Person

Subjective           Possessive          Objective
[ He ]                   [ His ]                 [ Him]
[ She ]                  [ Her ]                 [ Her]
[ They ]                [Their ]               [ Them]
[ It ]                      [Its ]                    [ It       ]

Changes in Persons

  • 1st person of reported speech is changed according to the subject of reporting speech
  • 2nd person of reported speech is changed according to the object of reporting speech.
  • 3rd person of the reported speech never changed.

In order to understand we can explain this point in this way.

Reporting Speech                         Reported Speech

  • Subject                  ---------------        1st Person
  • Object                   ---------------        2nd Person
  • Never changed     --------------          3rd Person
In order to comprehend this point. we can remember this formula for changing pronouns.

Reporting Speech              Reported Speech

SON              ---------------           " 123 "

S = 1
O = 2
N = 3

1--- Stand for 1st Person of Reported speech
2---- Stand for the Second Person of the Reported speech
3---- Stand for 3rd person of the Reported speech
S---- Stand for Subject of Reporting Speech
O--- Stand for Object of Reporting Speech
N--- Stand for Never of Reporting speech

If we explain this formula we can say that

  • 1st person of Reported speech changed according to Subject of Reporting Speech
  • 2nd person of the Reported speech changed according to the Object of Reporting Speech
  • 3rd Person of the Reported speech never changed

Changes in Tenses

If reporting speech is in the present or future tense, the tense of reported speech never changed. We can change only persons. If reporting speech is in the past tense, then the tense of reported speech is changed according to the following rules.


The tense of reporting speech is changed when the tense of reported speech is in the past tense. For example, He said, they said, She said to me, they said to her, etc. If the tense of reporting speech is in the present and future for example the verb of reporting speech is "Say" and "Will Say", the tense of reported speech never changed, only the pronoun is changed.

  • Present Indefinite changed to Past Indefinite
  • Present continuous changed to Past Continous
  • Present Perfect changed to Past Perfect
  • Present Perfect Continuous changed to Past Perfect Continous
  • Past Indefinite changed to Past Perfect
  • Past Continuous changed to Past Perfect Continuous
  • Past Perfect never changed
  • Past Perfect Continuous never changed
  • Will/ Shall changed to Would


Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tenses never changed.
If the tense is not clear or we do not know the tense, we can remember the changes of tenses in this way.
  • 1st Form changed to 2nd Form
  • Is, Am, Are + VI +ing changed to Was, Were + VI +ing
  • Have, Has + VIII changed to Had + VIII
  • Has been, Have been + VI +ing changed to Had been + VI +ing
  • 2nd Form changed to Had + VIII
  • Was, Were +VI +ing changed to Had been + VI +ing
  • Had + VIII changed to Had + VIII (Never Change)
  • Had been + VI +ing changed to had been + VI +ing (Never change)
  • Will, Shall + VI changed to Would + VI
  • Will be, Shall be + VI +ing changed to Would be + VI +ing
  • Will have, Shall have + VIII changed to Would have + VIII
  • Can +VI changed to Could+ VI
  • May +VI changed to Might+ VI

Changes in Adverbs

This change into That
These changed into Those
Here changed into There
Now changed into Then
Sir changed into Respectfully
Madam changed into Respectfully
Tomorrow changed into The next day
Yesterday changed into The previous day
Tonight changed into That night


1. He said," Are you ok?"(Direct)
   He asked if I was ok. (Indirect)
2. She said?" Do you hate me?"(Direct)
   She asked if I hated him. (Indirect)
3. They said?" Have we completed our task?"(Direct)
   They asked if they had completed their task. (Indirect)
4. I said to him?" Are you hungry?"(Direct)
   I asked him if he was hungry. (Indirect)
5. He said?" Did they help you?"(Direct)
   He asked if they had helped me. (Indirect)
6. She said to him?" Why are you teasing me?"(Direct)
   She asked him why he was teasing him. (Indirect)
7. They said?" What are you writing?"(Direct)
   They asked what I was writing. (Indirect)
8. He said to me?" Why are you talking loudly?"(Direct)
   He asked me why I was talking loudly. (Indirect)
9. She said to me?"How did you pass your examination?"(Direct)
   She asked me how I had passed my examination. (Indirect)
10. We said?" Where have you gone?"(Direct)
      We asked where I had gone. (Indirect)

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