If or whether in reported speech (questions)

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yes \ no questions

When we report yes \ no questions, we use a noun clause beginning with if or whether and we use the word order of a statement:

"Can I leave the room?" I asked. - I asked if \ whether I could leave the room.

 

 

We MUST use whether, not if

  • when we are asking someone to make a choice:

"Do you want coffee or tea?" they asked. - They asked me whether I wanted coffee or tea.

 

  • when we include the phrase or not. We use whether ... or not to emphasise the necessity for an answer, often because we are irritated or angry:

 

"Are you going to tell me the answer or not?" she said. - She asked him whether he was going to tell her the answer or not.

"Is he coming or not?" - Did he say whether he was coming or not?

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