I am well aware what does the indirect speech mean.


Person a. How old are you?
Person b. I didn't notice what he asked!
Person C. He asked how old you are. [Indirect speech]

But could anyone please explain to me if the I should use the reverse method (indirect speech) in the following sentence as well:

  • If you don't mind me asking, how old.........?

a. are you
b. you are


"If you don't mind me asking, " is followed by whatever the original question was, so the correct form should be (a).

If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?

Note that there's a comma. That makes the 2 clauses separate. If you change the sentence up a bit, you can also say:

If you don't mind me asking how old you are, how old are you?


If you don't mind me asking how old you are, what's your age?

Of course, that's redundant, but shows where to use "you are" and "are you". The "you are" before the comma is similar to:

Can you tell me how old you are?

... where the verb "is/are" comes after the subject "you".

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  • Thank you @John Zhau. But what did you mean was "redundant"? Were you about the comma? If so, then according to the points you raised, "you are" is the correct answer. Right? – A-friend Jun 24 at 8:26
  • When I said "redundant", I meant saying "how old you are" and "how old are you", which repeats the phrase. – John Zhau Jun 24 at 8:37
  • I'm not following you @John Zhau. Could you possibly clarify your intention? – A-friend Jun 24 at 8:51
  • 2
    The comma isn't redundant. I meant it like "I want to ask you your age. What's your age?" It's expressing the same things twice, making it redundant. – John Zhau Jun 24 at 9:04

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