Could you tell me a bit more about you? Direct or Indirect Question

Shihastudent

New Member
Arabic
Hello, I have that lesson about direct and indirect questions
I know it's pretty easy!
but some classmates have already made me confused
They say that "Could you tell me a bit more about you" is an indirect question because it starts with the could-you-tell-me phrase
but i think it's direct
can anyone elaborate on this??
 
  • VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Your classmates are right — that is an indirect question. In fact, your particular example couldn't be turned into a direct question by removing the "could you tell me" part; instead, it becomes a request: "Tell me a bit more about you (please)."
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think it's a direct question. "Tell me a bit more about yourself" is a command, an imperative. When you introduce it with "Could you...", for politeness' sake, it makes the command an indirect one.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I think it's a direct question. "Tell me a bit more about yourself" is a command, an imperative. When you introduce it with "Could you...", for politeness' sake, it makes the command an indirect one.
    1. What is your name? — direct question
    2. Could you tell me what your name is? — indirect question

    3. Tell me a bit more about yourself. — command
    4. Could you tell me a bit more about yourself? — ???

    Why is '4' closer to '1' than to '2' ?...
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Vic, you can turn 2 into direct speech:
    2a. Could you tell me: "What is your name?"

    You can't do anything similar with 4.


    (In case it's not clear, I agree with veli:).)
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Vic, you can turn 2 into direct speech:
    2a. Could you tell me: "What is your name?"

    You can't do anything similar with 4.


    (In case it's not clear, I agree with veli:).)
    The point is that we add "could you tell me" to make the question more polite. And to make a direct question into an indirect one. So this is a typical example:
    1. What is your name? — direct question
    2. Could you tell me what your name is? — indirect question
    In the OP, however, the "tell me" part is already there, so we only have to add "could you". I don't think this is an essential difference:confused:

    Besides, if we consider "Could you tell me a bit more about yourself?" a direct question (where "could you tell me" is not for the sake of politeness) then it must mean: "Did you have the ability to tell me a bit more about yourself?":)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If you don't like to think of it as a direct question, then I think you must call it an indirect imperative. An indirect question uses a wh-question word (or "how" or "whether/if"):

    Would you mind telling me when the train leaves/where you're going/why you're travelling alone/what you will do there/how you will get there/whether you are coming back?
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    "An indirect imperative" seems to not be a grammatical term either; a YT video says an "indirect imperative" is "His mother said: "Be careful" --> His mother said to be careful";

    But, ok, if an indirect question must contain a wh/how/etc word, then the OP is not an indirect question, I agree:)
     
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