Embedded Questions

1. What are embedded questions?

Embedded questions are questions that exist within full sentences, or inside other questions.

They are used to answer questions, or to ask questions in a less direct manner.

2. Examples of Embedded Questions

Basic questionEmbedded question
What is the time?Do you know what the time is?
Where did she go?Would you tell me where she went?
How do you do this?Can you tell me how to do this?
When are Max and Fionn arriving?We don’t know when Max and Fionn are arriving.

3. Making Embedded Question Statements

To put an embedded question in a statement, the pattern is:

main statement + question word + subject + verb (+ object/preposition/compliment if necessary)

– Some common main statements:

I don’t remember…
I wonder…
Please tell me…
I’m not sure…

Main statementQuestion wordSubjectVerbObject/PrepositionEmbedded question
I don’t rememberwhatthe houselooks likeI don’t remember what the house looks like.
I wonderifwehavemoneyI wonder if we have enough money.
Please tell mehowIgettherePlease tell me how I get there.

4. Making Embedded Question Questions

Questions containing embedded questions follow the same pattern as statements with embedded questions, except the main statement becomes a main question.

Some common main questions:
Do you know…?
Do you remember…?
Could you tell me…?

Main questionQuestion wordSubjectVerbCompliment/ObjectEmbedded question
Do you know…?howIgetto the train stationDo you know how I get to the train station?
Do you remember…?whereweparkedthe carDo you remember where we parked the car?
Could you tell me…?whetherthe bushas goneCould you tell me whether the bus has already gone?

5. Exercises

1. What are the simple questions being asked by these embedded questions?

– I don’t remember what time we got home.
– He isn’t sure whether they got the money.
– They are wondering whether you would like to come to the party.

– Do you remember how much the jacket cost?
– Could you tell me which bag is yours?
– Do you know which person hit you?

2. Make embedded statements or questions for these simple questions:

– Where is the exit?
– How many do you have?
– Is this yours?
– Why are you doing that?
– Who are you?

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