I want to to know how to change questions to indirect speech if we are asking about personal information? E.g "What's your name?" said John to the man. "How old are you? What's your job?


John asked the man what his name was.

John asked the man how old he was.

John asked the man what his job was.

  • Inversion as shown (... how old he was) is necessary.
  • The tense changes because the original sentence in the direct speech is past as in "said John to the man." In some cases such as names, "is" may seem correct for it is still current or doesn't change. However, since we're referring back to the time the question was asked, it has to be "was".

John asked the man his name, age and occupation.

John asked the man for his name, his age and what he did for a living.


  • Must we change the tense of the sentence must we say what his name was – Sayed Abdalah Jul 11 '15 at 1:06
  • Yes, he asked what his name was at that time. It is possible the man has since changed his name for some reason. – chasly - supports Monica Jul 11 '15 at 1:30
  • Can't we say what his name is. – Sayed Abdalah Jul 11 '15 at 1:58
  • We don't know what his name is. He is just called 'the man' in the direct speech that you quote. How can we put his name in the indirect speech if we haven't been given it? – chasly - supports Monica Jul 11 '15 at 7:02

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