Business English: Presenting the decision
Business English: Presenting the decision

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Business English: Presenting the decision

1.1.3 Reporting questions

Reporting questions is similar to reporting statements. Remember to look at:

  • reporting verb;

  • tense changes;

  • pronouns;

  • words of time and place;

  • punctuation (no question marks are used in reported questions).

And when reporting questions check:

  • question type;

  • word order.

You report questions that have a yes/no answer using if or whether. There is no difference between if and whether in reported speech. Look at these examples from the interview:

‘Did you involve the staff in the decision?’

I asked him if they had involved the staff in the decision.

I asked him whether they had involved the staff in the decision.

Question words (what, who, where, why, how, etc.) do not change when reported, but the word order does change:

‘What incentives were there for staff to move?’ I asked.

I asked him what incentives there were for staff to move.

Word order

Reported questions do not have the same word order as direct questions. In reported questions the word order is subject followed by the verb:

‘Did they call a meeting?’

I asked if they had called a meeting.

‘What have you done?’

I asked what she'd done.

Activity 4

Now report the questions from the interview with David Bailey.

Example

‘Did you involve the staff in the decision?’

I asked him if they had involved the staff in the decision.

  1. ‘Why did Mobil decide to move out of London?’

    I asked ......

  2. ‘What factors did you use to choose your new location?’

    I asked ......

  3. ‘Did Mobil do all the work or did you have help?’

    I asked ......

  4. ‘What are the results of Mobil's relocation?’

    I asked ......

  5. ‘What lessons have you learned from the whole process?’

    I asked ......

Answer

  1. I asked (him) why Mobil had decided to move out of London.

  2. I asked (him) what factors they had used to choose their new location.

  3. I asked (him) if Mobil had done all the work or if they had had help.

  4. I asked (him) what the results of Mobil's relocation were.

  5. I asked (him) what lessons they had learned from the whole process.

In the next activity you prepare reported statements about Mobil's move that you will use in Activity 6 in response to questions from Diana.

Activity 5

Convert the questions and answers to reported speech, making the two sentences into one as in the example.

Example

QUESTION Did Mobil have any help?

ANSWER Companies who want to relocate can get help from the Commission for New Towns.

I asked him ...... and he told me that ......

I asked him if Mobil had had any help and he told me that companies who wanted to relocate could get help from the Commission for New Towns.

  1. QUESTION What incentives were there for staff to move?

    ANSWER We helped them to sell their houses and buy new ones.

    I asked him ...... and he told me Mobil ......

  2. QUESTION What are the results of Mobil's relocation?

    ANSWER It worked – the majority of the staff moved and are very happy.

    I asked him ...... and he told me ......

  3. QUESTION What lessons have Mobil learned from the whole process?

    ANSWER We made better decisions because of what our people told us.

    I asked him ...... and he told me ......

Answer

  1. I asked him what incentives there had been for staff to move and he told me Mobil had helped them to sell their houses and buy new ones.

  2. I asked him what the results of Mobil's relocation were and he told me (that) it had worked and the majority of the staff had moved and were very happy.

  3. I asked him what lessons they had learned from the whole process and he told me (that) they had made better decisions because of what their people had told them.

Activity 6

Use your answers to Activity 5 to respond to the following questions on the audio clip.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Extract 22
Skip transcript: Extract 22

Transcript: Extract 22

Heather Horner
Extract 22.
Following the instructions in your book, take part in a conversation about the interview.
Veronika Hyks
Hi. Tell me about your interview with Mobil. What did you find out?
Nigel Greaves (Billy Shepherd)
I asked him if Mobil had had any help and he told me that companies who wanted to relocate could get help from The Commission for New Towns.
Veronika Hyks
Right. What did he say about staff incentives?
Nigel Greaves
I asked him what incentives there had been for staff to move and he told me that they had helped them to sell their houses and buy new ones.
Veronika Hyks
I see - and what about the results?
Nigel Greaves
I asked him what the results of Mobil’s relocation were and he told me that it worked. The majority of staff moved and were very happy.
Veronika Hyks
Ok anything else useful?
Nigel Greaves
Yes, I asked him what lessons they had learned from the whole process and he told me that they had made better decisions because of what their people had told them.
End transcript: Extract 22
Extract 22
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Example

DIANA Hi. Tell me about your interview with Mobil. What did you find out?

YOU I asked him if Mobil had had any help and he told me that companies who wanted to relocate could get help from the Commission for New Towns.

Answer

The answers to this activity are the same as those in Activity 5. Model answers are also given in the audio clip and transcript.

Before relocating it is important that as many staff as possible visit the area. In the next activity you check arrangements for such a visit.

Activity 7

Read the following fax and change the itinerary (travel plan) which follows in accordance with it. One change has been highlighted for you.

Answer

The changes are given in bold.

As you saw earlier, phrasal verbs tend to be more common in speech than in writing as they are less formal. They can usually be replaced by more formal verbs. In Activity 8 you look at phrasal verbs, taking vocabulary used in the fax from Reloc.

Activity 8

The words in the left-hand column are taken from the fax in Activity 7. Match them with the phrasal verbs in the right-hand column.

1 depart(a) get on
2 arrive(b) put off
3 postpone(c) set off
4 return(d) put back
5 leave(e) get to
6 collect(f) pick up
7 board(g) bring forward
8 delay(h) get back
9 advance(i) drop off

Answer

1 depart(c) set off
2 arrive(e) get to
3 postpone(d) put back
4 return(h) get back
5 leave(i) drop off
6 collect(f) pick up
7 board(a) get on
8 delay(b) put off
9 advance(g) bring forward
Skip Your course resources
L550_3

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus