Indirect questions in Spanish are subordinate clause that indirectly express a question or refer to its content. With indirect questions the speaker asks for some information or refers to the information asked by another person.
Today our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem provides all its students with additional information on how to ask questions in Spanish.
In our previous blog, we explained how to make direct questions. Therefore, to offer a complete overview on Spanish questions, this time we teach you how to make indirect questions.
Are your ready to learn more? So, let’s start!
Differently to direct questions, indirect questions are subordinate clauses. They are introduced by:
1. QUESTIONS WORDS (Adverbs and pronouns) expressing place, manner, time, quantity, cause and person.
The questions words are exactly the same as the ones used in the direct questions. In this case, the speaker aims at receiving information related to place, time, manner, quantity, cause or persons.
Ana no sabe dónde está su gato = Ana does not know where her cat is (PLACE)
Marcos pregunta cuánta mantequilla hay que poner en la cazuela = Marcos aks how much butter he has to put into the pot (QUANTITY)
Le gustaría saber cuándo llega el tren = She would like to know when the train arrives (TIME)
Lucía no sabe quién toca a la puerta = Lucia does not know who is knocking at the door (PERSON)
Necesito saber cómo solucionar este problema = I need to know how to sort out this problem (MANNER)
2. The conjuction SI (if)
In this case, the speaker is indirectly making a yes/no question. The indirect question introduced by “si” contemplates a choice between two or more opposite options.
Lucas me pregunta si voy al concierto mañana = Lucas asks me if I go to the concert tomorrow
Mis padres quieren saber si he aprobado todos los exámenes = My parents want to know if I passed all the exams.
Please, note that all indirect questions are attached to a main clause, whose VERB conveys some speaking-related meaning:
– PREGUNTAR (to ask)
– DECIR (to say)
– SABER (to know)
– RESPONDER (to answer)
Differently to direct questions, indirect questions in Spanish are usually not framed with question marks. Nevertheless, there is only one exception, that is, when the indirect questions is a subordinate sentence of a direct question.
¿Tú sabes cómo se enciende el horno? = Do you know how to turn the oven on?
¿Me podrías decir cúanto tiempo te quedas en casa? = Could you, please, tell me how long you are going to stay home?
Similarly to direct questions, question words that introduce indirect questions have the orthographic accent.
Finally, we point out that in indirect questions introduced by “SI” the word order is the same as in affirmative sentence.
On the contrary, you will find the subject and verb order inverted in indirect questions introduced by question words.
No sé decirte si Ana ha regresado de la escuela = I do not know if Ana came back from school
Voy a preguntar cuánto vale la entrada = I am going to ask how much the ticket is.
We hope this blog has helped you to master questions in Spanish 🙂
As usual, our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem wish you to enjoy your Spanish learning. Finally, Spanish grammar may seem difficult at the beginning but do not worry! Our Spanish teachers are here to make things easier for you!
Till the next blog!