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Embedded Questions in English:

Rules and Specific Structures

By Gilberto Hernández Quirós, Ph.D.


www.gilbertohernandez.blogspot.com
ghernandezq@gmail.com

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Introduction
Effective communication depends on the
choice of words, correct grammar
structures, vocabulary and coherence of
the message conveyed. Additionally,
thorough understanding of embedded
questions will undoubtedly help speakers
better communicate their ideas and ask
questions properly. This presentation
provides some rules and specific
structures to better understand how
embedded questions should be formed
correctly.

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
What is an embedded question?
• An embedded question or indirect question is a question that is included
inside another question or statement. They are common after
introductory phrases, such as:

• I wonder…
Could you tell me…
Do you know… Do you happen to know…
Do you remember…
I need to know… I would like to know…
We need to find out…
I'd like to know…
Could you tell me…
I'm not sure…
Would you mind explaining…
Would you mind telling me…
Would you kindly tell me…

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Rule 1: Omit auxiliaries DO-DOES-DID
DIRECT QUESTION EMBEDDED (INDIRECT) QUESTION
Does the supervisor speak Portuguese? I wonder if the supervisor speaks Portuguese.

Do you have time to touchbase on the strategy? I’d like to know if you have time to touchbase on the
strategy.

Does the customer have a token? Can you tell me if the customer has a token.

Did you receive the confirmation e-mail? We need to find out if you received the confirmation
e-mail.

Where did you hear about this company? I’m not sure where you heard about this company.

What do you want to delete? I would like to know what you want to delete.

Does the badge reader work? Would you mind explaining if the badge reader
works.
Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Rule 1: PRACTICE. Use embedded questions on slide 3

1. Does the monitor have a distortion or blurriness?


2. Do you have access to the financial accounts area?
3. Does the printer have enough toner?
4. Did you reboot your computer?
5. Which search engine did you use to find this
information?
6. What do you wish to remove?
7. Does the plan include international calls to cell
phones numbers?
Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Continuation
8. Did you already verify that the LAN cable is plugged in?
9. Do you still have the old password with you?
10. Do you have any other issue or concern?
11. Does the new employee have good metrics?
12. Do you have your husband’s social security number
with you?
13. Did I resolve your problem?
14. Does the password have numbers and letters?
15. Did you request this application through your
manager?

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Rule 2: VERB TO BE: If the embedded question includes an
auxiliary verb or the verb "to be", reverse the positions of the subject and the
auxiliary verb. AM-IS-ARE-WAS-WERE-WILL

DIRECT QUESTION EMBEDDED or INDIRECT QUESTION


Is he the new employee? I’d like to know if he is the new employee.
Is she the floor supervisor? I wonder if she is the floor supervisor.
Was your computer upgraded? Do you remember if your computer was
upgraded?
Can you help me? I wonder if you could help me.
Where is the printer? Do you happen to know where the printer is?
Where are you located? I’d like to know where you are located.
Were the windows secured? Can you tell if the windows were secured?
Was the water dispenser working I need to know if the water dispenser was
yesterday? working yesterday.
Were the employees aware of the Would you be so kind and tell me if employees
outage? were aware of the outage?
Am I answering your question? I’d like to know if I am answering your
question.
Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Rule 3: Embedded questions are introduced by WHETHER, WHETHER OR NOT, or
IF, whether or not, and if when there is no question word in the sentence (yes/no
questions).

EMBEDDED QUESTION WITH “IF” EMBEDDED QUESTION WITH “WHETHER”


I would like to know if you have had the I would like to know whether…
chance to visit other Sykes locations.
I am interested in learning whether Sykes has some
sort of social responsibility programs.
I am interested in knowing if I will have
the possibility to join a sports or social
responsibility program.
I am interested in enriching my linguistic skills, and I
would like to know whether there are foreign
language programs available.
In one of the halls, I saw a chart that
had information on educational
programs, could you please tell me
whether new employees can benefit
from these educational programs.

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Modal Auxiliaries: Reverse position of modal auxiliaries when
using embedded or indirect questions

DIRECT QUESTIONS EMBEDDED QUESTION


Should I wear a tie? Can you tell me if I should wear a tie?
Must we comply with a specific dress I would like to know if we must comply with a specific
code? dress code.
Could we wear jeans? I wonder if we could wear jeans.
Would there a problem if I brought in Can you tell me if there would be a problem if I
my personal laptop? brought in my own personal laptop?
Will holidays be paid double? I am wondering whether holidays will be paid
double.
Will we be given a locker? I am wondering whether we will be given a locker.
Would we have to pay if we decided to Can you please tell me whether we would have to
join the Cisco Academy and/or the pay if we decided to join the Cisco Academy and/or
extra curricular language courses? extra curricular language courses?
May I share my badge with a co- Do you know if I may share my badge with a co-
worker? worker?

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Embedded Questions in Present Perfect, Present
Perfect Continuous and Past Perfect: have-has-had
DIRECT QUESTIONS EMBEDDED QUESTION
Have you installed this application before?
How long have you worked for the company?
Have you requested the office supplies?
Has the recruiter contacted you yet?
Had you applied for this position before?
Where have you been searching for
troubleshooting steps on this issue?
Why have you decided to resign?
Has your supervisor explained to you the way
the report OT?
Where had you been working before applying
at Sykes?

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
PRACTICE

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
PRACTICE: Practice embedded questions in Past Tense
DIRECT QUESTIONS EMBEDDED QUESTION
Did you turn off the computer? I wonder if…
Where did you find this wallet? Can you please tell me…
How long did you wait for the shuttle bus? I need to know…
Did your manager inform you of the process? Can you please tell me…
Why did you decide to study computer Would you mind telling me…
programming?
Did you lose or forget the badge? I would like to know…
What did the customer tell you? Could you please tell me…
When did you request this product? Could you please tell me…
Why did you download music without I was wondering…
permission?
Did you receive my e-mail? I’d like to know…

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
PRACTICE: Practice embedded questions in Future
WILL-WILL BE-and GOING TO
DIRECT QUESTIONS EMBEDDED QUESTION
Will I report to you? I wonder if…
Where will I be sitting? Can you please tell me…
How long are we going to be in training? I need to know…
Is training going to be paid? Can you please tell me…
Why will my schedule be changed? Would you mind telling me…

Am I going to work on weekends? I would like to know…


Are we going to have a break? Could you please tell me…
How many breaks will we have? Could you please tell me…
When will all of us be officially working on I was wondering…
the floor?
Are we going to be paid on a weekly basis or I’d like to know…
on a monthly basis?
Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
PRACTICE: Practice embedded questions in PRESENT PERFECT,
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS AND PAST PERFECT
DIRECT QUESTIONS EMBEDDED QUESTION
Has my service my deactivated? I wonder if…
Have you paid your bill yet? Can you please tell me…
How long have you been waiting for the I need to know…
response?
Had you been contacted before? Can you please tell me…
How long has it been raining there? Would you mind telling me…

How long had you been waiting before the I would like to know…
driver arrived?
How many people have been affected by the Could you please tell me…
outage?
How many names had you entered on the list Could you please tell me…
before it disappeared?
Has the combination been changed in the I was wondering…
lock?
Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014
Thank You! ghernandezq@gmail.com

Educational material created and customized by Ph.D. Gilberto Hernández Quirós. 2014