Remember the English language, unlike other languages, doesn't have specific polite forms. When you need to be more formal or more polite, such as when you are talking to your boss, it is a good idea to use formal English. Formal English is more indirect and therefore is sounds more polite.
Examples of direct questions:
- What time is it?
- Why are you late?
- What is that?
- When does the lesson finish?
- What phone does she have?
- How did you make those biscuits?
Examples of indirect questions:
- Do you know what time it is?
- Could you tell me why you are late?
- Would you mind telling me what that is?
- Could you tell me when the class finishes?
- Can you tell me what kind of phone she has?
- Would you mind sharing that biscuit recipe, they are delicious!
Watch the video to "review in two".
Are the questions direct or indirect?
- Is John French?
Direct. To make it indirect say: Do you know whether John is French or not?
- Do you have any idea if this is the right bus for Princes Street?
- Was Lindsay on time?
Direct. To make it indirect say: Can you tell me if Lindsay made it on time?
- Could you tell me when classes start?
- Would you mind telling me where you come from?