Inversion in non-direct questions

The structure of indirect questions is different from that of direct questions. We must establish a distinction between:

  • Embedded questions:                                    

 

  • Questions in indirect speech:                                                                                                              

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Could you tell me why everybody is wearing a mask?

I wonder why everybody is wearing a mask

 

Embedded questions feature just one inversion of word order. They do have a question mark, much like direct questions.

Direct 

Non-direct 

Why is everybody wearing a mask?

Could you tell me why everybody is wearing a mask?

We can see that the word order features an inversion: we say “is everybody”, rather than “everybody is”. However, in the embedded question, the inversion in word order is “could you” (used instead of “you could”). As a consequence, there are no more inversions, that is, we say “everybody is”, as though it were a statement.

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Inversion in non-direct questions (versión en castellano)

Questions in indirect speech are different: they do not display an interrogative word order. Neither do they use a question mark.

Direct 

Why is everybody wearing a mask?

Non-direct 

I wonder why everybody is wearing a mask.