Meeting people and indirect checking/ clarifying questions

Roleplay meeting for the first time, including checking/ confirming the information your partner gives you when you ask about their company, contact details, etc. Use as many different checking/ clarifying questions as you can. Your teacher will tell you which parts below (suggested questions, etc) you can use to help.

Ask about anything below that you couldn’t understand, don’t understand, or can’t respond to. 

Match questions with the same meanings on the separated questions version of the worksheet, then check with the paired questions version of the worksheet.

Direct and indirect checking/ clarifying questions presentation

Without looking below, write the direct versions of the indirect questions below:

  • Can I check how you spell…?
  • Can I ask how you pronounce…?
  • I’m wondering what… means.
  • Do you know what … stands for?
  • Can you tell me if that is spelt with… (or…)?
  • Can I just check if you mean…?
  • I’m not sure what you mean by…
  • Can I just double-check whether you said… (or…)?
  • Could you tell me whether I need…?
  • I can’t remember if that is with double…
  • I’d like to know if that is…
  • I didn’t catch if that was…

Check below.

Test each other on converting from indirect to direct and from direct to indirect questions.

Brainstorm rules for making indirect questions.

Answer these questions to help make and check the rules you discussed:

  • Why does the word order change between direct and indirect questions?
  • Why do some indirect questions not have question marks?
  • Why do some questions have “if/ whether” in them?

Brainstorm questions which should be indirect when meeting someone (because they are slightly personal, etc).

Suggested things to ask about

  • (first/ given/ Christian/ middle/ family/ sur)name
  • job (job title, division, department, section, team, etc)
  • company size/ company data
  • company names (parent company, subsidiaries, business partners, competitors, etc)
  • products/ services (product names, model numbers, brand names, etc)
  • dates (of foundation/ of product launch/ of…)
  • website addresses/ search terms
  • colleagues (boss, line manager/ direct boss, director, team members, etc)
  • places (workplace, home station, etc)
  • transport/ travel/ journey (commuting, flight, travel times, stations, rail line names, etc)
  • recommended places (near here/ near your workplace – pubs, etc)
  • contact details (mobile/ office number/ landline/ extension, email addresses, social media such as Twitter name, postal address, etc)

Suggested initial questions

  • Can I ask your name?/ And you are?
  • What (exactly) do you do?/ What’s your (English/…) job title?
  • Who do you work for? (What do you do there?/ Is it part of a group?)
  • What kind of business are you in/ company do you work for?
  • Which division/ department/ section/ team/… do you work in?
  • What kinds of products do you sell?/ What kinds of… do you…?
  • What’s your most famous product?
  • Who are your (main) competitors?
  • What are you working on (at the moment)?
  • Where is your company based?
  • Where are you based?/ Are you based near here?
  • Do you live near here?
  • Is your office near here?
  • Have you come far?
  • How did you get here today?
  • Do you have a business card?
  • I’d like to know more about… Can you tell me your…?
  • Let’s meet again. Can you give me your…?

Suggested things to check/ clarify

  • spelling (double letters, B or V, etc)
  • punctuation/ formatting (capital letters, dot, slash, underscore, dash, all one word, etc)
  • pronunciation
  • meaning
  • abbreviations
  • where
  • who
  • when
  • which
  • how many/ how much

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Suggested checking/ clarifying questions – separated questions version

  • Are you saying…?
  • Can I ask how you pronounce…?
  • Can I check how you spell…?
  • Can I check if I need any capital letters in that?
  • Can I check if you are saying…?
  • Can I check which part is your family name/ which part is…?
  • Can I double-check if you spell… with… (or…)?
  • Can I just check if you mean…?
  • Can I just check whether I need any punctuation in that?
  • Can I just double-check whether you said… (or…)?
  • Can you tell me if that is spelt with… (or…)?
  • Could you tell me whether I need…?
  • Did you say… (or…)?
  • Do I need any capital letters in that?
  • Do I need any punctuation in that?
  • Do I need…?
  • Do you know what … stands for?
  • Do you mean…?
  • Do you spell… with… (or…)?
  • How do you pronounce…?
  • How do you spell…?
  • I can’t remember if that is with double…
  • I didn’t catch if that was…
  • Is that spelt with… (or…)?
  • Is that with capital…?
  • Is that with double…?
  • Is that…?
  • I’d like to know if that is…
  • I’m not sure what you mean by…
  • I’m wondering if that is with capital…
  • I’m wondering what… means.
  • Was that…?
  • What do you mean by…?
  • What does… mean?
  • What does… stand for?
  • Which part is your family name?/ Which part is…?

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Suggested checking/ clarifying questions – matched questions version

  • Are you saying…?/ Can I check if you are saying…?
  • Did you say… (or…)?/ Can I just double-check whether you said… (or…)?
  • Do I need any capital letters in that?/ Can I check if I need any capital letters in that?
  • Do I need any punctuation in that?/ Can I just check whether I need any punctuation in that?
  • Do I need…?/ Could you tell me whether I need…?
  • Do you mean…?/ Can I just check if you mean…?
  • Do you spell… with… (or…)?/ Can I double-check if you spell… with… (or…)?
  • How do you pronounce…?/ Can I ask how you pronounce…?
  • How do you spell…?/ Can I check how you spell…?
  • Is that with double…?/ I can’t remember if that is with double…
  • Is that spelt with… (or…)?/ Can you tell me if that is spelt with… (or…)?
  • Is that with capital…?/ I’m wondering if that is with capital…
  • Is that…?/ I’d like to know if that is…
  • Was that…?/ I didn’t catch if that was…
  • What do you mean by…?/ I’m not sure what you mean by…
  • What does… mean?/ I’m wondering what… means.
  • What does… stand for?/ Do you know what … stands for?
  • Which part is your family name?/ Which part is…?/ Can I check which part is your family name?/ Can I check which part is…?
  • So, that’s… (Right?/ Is that right?)

Conversion from direct questions to indirect questions

Change the direct questions below into indirect questions, using the key words to help.

  • How do you spell…? CHECK
  • How do you pronounce…? ASK
  • What does… mean? WONDERING
  • What does… stand for? YOU KNOW
  • Is that spelt with… (or…)? TELL ME IF
  • Do you mean…? JUST CHECK WHETHER
  • What do you mean by…? SURE
  • Did you say… (or…)? JUST DOUBLE-CHECK
  • Do I need…? TELL
  • Is that with double…? REMEMBER
  • Is that…? LIKE TO
  • Was that…? CATCH

Check above.

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PDF for easy saving and printing: Meeting people and indirect checking clarifying questions

Related pages

Meeting and greeting page

Social English page

Indirect questions page

Checking/ clarifying page