Indirect speech with dass, ob and w- words

Reminder: we generally use the subjunctive I for indirect speech.

Anna sagt: „Ich bin in Berlin.“ sein, Präsens Anna sagt, sie sei in Berlin.  sein, Konj. I Präsens

Anna says: “I am in Berlin.” → Anna says that she is in Berlin.

We can introduce a statement with or without dass (that).

Sigi sagt, dass er Zeit habe. / Sigi sagt, er habe Zeit. haben, Konj. I Präsens

Sigi says that he has time. / Sigi says he has time.

For a question with a yes or no answer, we use:

  • ob (if, whether)

Rüdiger fragt: „Ist das korrekt?“ Rüdiger fragt, ob das korrekt sei.  sein, Konj. I Präsens

Rüdiger asks: “Is that correct?” → Rüdiger asks if/whether that is correct.

  • the same question word as in the direct speech: warum (why), was (what), wer (who), wie (how), wo (where), etc.

Rüdiger fragt: „Wo ist meine Gitarre?“  → Rüdiger fragt, wo seine Gitarre sei.

Rüdiger asks: “Where is my guitar?” → Rüdiger asks where his guitar is.

Der Gast fragt: „Wie teuer ist das Bier?“  → Der Gast fragt, wie teuer das Bier sei.

The guest asks: “How much does a beer cost?” → The guest asks how much a beer costs.


  • For sentence elements that start with dass (that), ob (whether) and question words, the verb goes at the end of the sentence.

Dr. Meyer fragt, wie es Betty gehe.  gehen, Konj. I Präsens

Dr. Meyer asks how Betty is.

  • If indirect statements are expressed without dass (that), the verb comes after the subject.

Magda sagt, Betty gehe es ausgezeichnet.

Magda says Betty is doing excellently.

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