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Grammar Challenge


- Practice quiz 1


- Practice quiz 2


- Use the grammar
Use the grammar

Now is your chance to use this week's grammar!

Imagine that Callum and Nuala are actually the King and Queen of Scotland! They're very posh, very rich and very important! Now you can ask them any questions you like but you have to ask them in a very formal, indirect way.

Thank you for all your comments. This topic has now closed.

Ann, Germany
Your majesty, would you mind asking you how big your family is? I am excited to know how many children you have. Could you tell me what kind of names you have choosen for them and when your offspring have been born?

Callum says:
Hello Ann and thank you for your questions. They are very interesting. Here are a few suggestions.

In the first one the form of an indirect question is correct, well done, but there is a word missing before 'asking'. You need to say who is asking so it should read: "... would you mind my asking how big your family is?" Also note that you don't need the 'you' after 'asking'. You can have it there, but it's not needed.

Your last two questions were very well formed apart from a couple of small points. It was probably just a typo but it is 'chosen' and not 'choosen' in the first one. In the second one you use a good formal word for children - 'offspring'. You ask about a definite time in the past, so you need to use the simple past 'were born' rather than the present perfect 'have been born'.

Excellent questions and as for answers, well we have no children, so at the moment no direct heirs. Who will take over the throne when we die .....

King Aztec, México
Your majesty, would your mind telling me why you didn't visit the space? It's very nice. Your majesty, your wife is gorgeous, could you tell me where you found such a pretty woman? Dear majesties, would your mind telling me what you expect for a son in law? Dear majesties, would your mind telling me how many daughters you have?

Callum says:
Hello your majesty, always good to talk to a fellow king! I was impressed by your questions but hope you won't find me rude if I make one or two small suggestions.

You have clearly got the right idea with forming indirect questions, well done. The correct phrase to use though is "would you mind" and not "would your mind" but you did correctly use the gerund after this expression so that was very good.

Because I am not yet dead and still young (ha ha) there is still a possibilty for me to visit space so it would be better to use the present perfect here: " ... why haven't you visited space yet?" You say it's very nice. Have you been? Maybe we could borrow your rocket.

The Queeen was very pleased with your description of her as 'gorgeous', but I didn't find her, she found me. We have no daughters I'm afraid so therefore cannot say yet what qualities we would expect in a son-in-law. Were you perhaps interested in the role?

All the best and thank you for your questions.

Adam, Poland
Could you tell me, what your responsibilities are? Could you tell me, what the king's family traditions are and which one your favourite is? Would you mind to show me your crown? Do you know, what names of your ancessors are? Could you tell me, how many guards you have?

Callum replies:

Hello Adam and thank you for your questions. They are very good. Here are a few suggestions for making them even better.

When writing indirect questions we don't use a comma between the different parts of the sentence, so for example your first question would just be: Could you tell me what your responsibilities are? However, apart from the comma the question was perfect!

The same for your second question.

The third question is a little different. After the phrase 'Would you mind' we use the gerund ( verb + ing) not the infinitive with 'to'. So it should be "Would you mind showing me your crown". The other thing to say about this question is that it is not an indirect question. There wasn't a question word like 'what', 'why', 'when', 'who' or 'how'.

One more thing to add is that in your fourth question you missed the definite article before 'names': Do you know, what the names of your ancessors are? Other than that it was fine, as was the last indirect question.

I expect you'd like some answers to your questions, well, I have many responsibilities, including giving advice on the English language to people around the world. My favourite family tradition is having aprty every year where we can all get together. No, I can't show you my crown, I'm afraid. It's kept in a secret place, so secret even I don't know where it is. It's only brought out for special events!

Thank you for writing to us.

King Kashif, Pakistan
1. My Majesty! Would you mind telling me what your favourite food is?
2. My Majesty King Callum! Would you mind stepping down as king of Scotland and let me be the King of Scotland as well as the Queen?
3. Queen Nuala! Would you like to see me taking the charge as King of Scotland?
4. King Callum! Could you tell us your last wish before leaving Kingdom of Scotland to me?
5. King Callum! Would you mind if i fullfil your last wish after you become an ordinary man?

Callum replies

Hello King Kashif and thank you for your comments and questions. The first thing to say is that you are very ambitious, aren't you!

When addressing a monarch (a king or queen) the correct address is Your majesty, rather than My majesty.

Your first question was a perfect example of an indirect question, well done. And the answer: my favourite food depends on the season but I love the fish salmon, particularly the salmon I catch in the rivers near our castle.

The other questions were all perfectly formed but they weren't indirect questions. There wasn't a question word like 'what', 'why', 'when', 'who' or 'how'. Your questions weren't wrong, they just weren't indirect questions.

You could make number 4 indirect like this:

Could you tell us what your last wish before leaving the Kingdom of Scotland is?

All the best King Kashif and by the way, I don't think I'll be stepping down soon, but thanks for the offer.

Juliana Lucia, Brazil
1- Would you mind telling me what you like to do on the weekends? 2. Have you any idea how many people want to know about yours lives? 3- Could you tell me what your favourite restaurant is? 4- Would you mind telling me where the wonderful place you have been to? 5- Could you tell me where you will have a Happy New Year Party for 2008? Thanks, Juliana

Callum says:
Hello Juliana Lucia and thank you for your questions.

Well done you have been very accurate. Your first question is perfect! On the weekends I like to relax and sleep late before starting my chores such as shopping and cleaning.

Your next question has an extra 's' on 'your', but apert from that is fine.

Your third question is also perfect, well done. Your fourth question though needs a little bit of rewriting. Would you mind telling me what wonderful places you have been to?

Your final question is also formed well though we probably wouldn't call it a Happy New Year party, just a New Year party.

Well done and thanks again!

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