Indirect questions: ob

Revision: yes-no questions

These are so-called because they can be answered with "yes" or "no". The conjugated verb here is the first idea. The subject then follows.

Hilfst du mir?
Kannst du mir eine Webseite?

Indirect questions introduced with ob

An ob-clause is a subordinate clause introduced by the conjunction ob. Indirect yes-no questions can be formed with ob-clauses. ob-clauses are object clauses that form the object of the main clause. In this case, the main clause usually cannot stand alone. As you already know from other subordinate clauses, the conjugated verb of the question "migrates" to the end of the subordinate clause.

Ich möchte wissen, ob du mir hilfst.
Ich habe dich gefragt, ob du mir eine Webseite erstellen kannst.

Indirect interrogative clauses are often used to formulate questions especially politely. The main clause can be a declarative clause or an interrogative clause. It expresses that one does not know something or would like to know something. Note the punctuation at the end of the sentence: if the main clause is a declarative clause, there will be a full stop at the end. If the main clause is an interrogative clause, there is a question mark at the end.

Können Sie mir sagen, ob Sie ein Smartphone haben?
Darf ich Sie fragen, ob Sie soziale Netzwerke nutzen?
Ich möchte gerne wissen, ob es hier eine schnelle Internetverbindung gibt.

Grammatical terms in German:

die Satzfrage: a yes-no question is a question that is answered with "yes" or "no".

der Hauptsatz: a main clause generally consists of at least a subject and a conjugated verb. The verb is the second idea in a main clause.

der Nebensatz: a subordinate clause cannot usually stand alone. It depends on a superordinate main clause or another subordinate clause. The conjugated verb in a subordinate clause is nearly always right at the end. Many subordinate clauses are linked to the superordinate clause by certain introductory words.