Download Lesson 19
Anna: Hi, can you tell me how to get to your movie theater?
(Movie theater worker on the phone gives directions.)
Anna: Oh, that’s easy. OK, thank you. Bye.
(Anna meets Pete outside of the theater.)
Anna: Hi, Pete! Thanks for the movie invitation.
Pete: Yeah, sure Anna.
Anna: I love movies. I love the plot! I love the set design! I love the costumes! I love -
Pete: Anna, I take movies very seriously. You're not one of those people who talks during a movie, are you?
Professor Bot: Anna loves movies. And..she loves talking about movies. And Pete doesn’t sound happy about that.
But he’s trying to be polite. He can do that with Indirect Questions.
We can ask a question directly: Where is your movie theater? or indirectly as Anna does:
Anna: Can you tell me how to get to your movie theater?
They have the same meaning. But indirect questions are more polite and a little more formal.
Many indirect questions begin with:
Can/Could you tell me…
Would/Do you mind…
Would it be possible…
Do you know…
Hmm, do you know if Anna will stop talking? I sure don’t.
Keep watching. And, this time look for indirect questions that begin with: Would you mind…
Anna: I love the smell of popcorn. I love seats that rock.
(Her chair makes noise as she rocks back and forth.)
Pete: I love when people are quiet.
(The lights go down and we see movie light on their faces.)
Anna: Ooh look, the previews are starting. I love to see what movies are coming out. Oh, this one looks good!
Pete: Anna, the previews are part of the movie experience. So, would you mind not talking?
Anna: Oh, sure, sure.
(Anna eats her popcorn loudly. Then, she begins drinking her milkshake loudly.)
Pete: Anna, I was wondering: are you almost finished with that?
Anna: No. There's still a lot of milkshake at the bottom.
(She drinks loudly again. And again.)
Pete: Anna, do you mind not drinking so loudly?
Anna: I'll try. But it's really thick.
(She moves the straw around and makes even more noise.)
Pete: Anna, what are you doing?!
(A person in the audience shushes Pete.)
Person in audience: Shh!
(Pete tells the person what was happening.)
Pete: I’m not the one making all the noise.
Person in audience: Shhh!
Anna: I’m done now.
(Anna now holds many noisy boxes of candy. Finally, she chooses a candy bar.)
Pete: Anna, would you mind opening that a little bit more quietly?
Anna: I'll try.
(She tries to open it quietly but cannot.)
Pete: Anna, just give it to me!
(He tears it open with his mouth. It makes a loud noise. Again, someone in the audience thinks he is making too much noise.)
Person in audience: Shhh!
Pete: (to the person) It's not mine. I'm opening it for her. Here.
Person in audience: Shhhhhh!!
(He gives the candy bar quickly back to her.)
Anna: Thanks, Pete.
Pete: Now, would you mind being more quiet?
(The light of someone’s phone shines in Pete’s face. He asks the person a question.)
Pete: Excuse me, would you mind turning down your phone light?
(Then, Anna’s phone rings.)
Anna: Oh, sorry! I forgot to turn my phone off.
(She tries to turn it off but drops it under the seat.)
Anna: Oh no! I dropped it. Where is it?
(She looks under the seat in front of her.)
Pete: Anna, can you please turn off your phone?
(She speaks to the person Pete just asked to turn their phone light down.)
Anna: Excuse me, would you mind lending me your phone light for a minute?
Pete: No! I’ll get it!
Person in audience: Shhhhh!
(People shush Pete again. He finally has had enough.)
Pete: Look, people, I’m not the noisy one here! So, you all need to shush the right person. And I should know about shushing! I shush people all the time!!
Security guard: Excuse me, sir. You can’t yell in a movie theater. Would you mind coming with me?
Pete: You're kicking me out? Me? But I’m always the quiet one in the movie!
(The security guard takes Pete out. Anna watches the movie and eats quietly from her bag of popcorn.)
Anna: Pete should know better. You have to be quiet in a movie theater. Shh, the movie’s starting!
Professor Bot: Well, that’s a surprise! I thought Anna would be the noisy one.
Well, she was … with her food. But Pete did all of the talking. At least he tried to be polite by using indirect questions.
See how well you understand this lesson by taking a listening quiz. Play each short video, then choose the best answer.
Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.