Indirect and direct questions introduction
AIM: To practise forming indirect questions.
INTRODUCTION: In the alcohol case, the doctor sometimes asks a question in an indirect way, so it isn't a question in a grammatical sense. For example:
Tell me about how much you drink Play
instead of How much do you drink?
Notice that the grammar changes. Using about is optional here. Tell me how much you drink is fine.
Alternatively, the doctor could pause and keep the direct question form:
Tell me, how much do you drink? (It is not possible to insert about here.)
Elsewhere in the interview, the doctor uses a pause in this way:
Let me ask you, do you feel the need to drink at the start of the day? Play
Here the pause (indicated by the comma) means that the grammar doesn't change - the question remains a direct question.
Without the pause, the sentence would be:
Let me ask you if (OR whether) you feel the need to drink at the start of the day.
Asking questions indirectly can seem less intrusive and perhaps more polite. There are several possible starting phrases: Tell me ..., Can I ask ..., Would you mind telling me ...? I wondered ..., I wonder if you could tell me ... The longer phrases tend to sound more polite.