For two days I spent a disproportionate time on reading up on indirect quotations. Yes, I know, but for some reason I have had some sort of menal block about it.
Just to make my life difficult, one of my grammar books stated that in written language, action verbs take 느 before 냐고 하다 and descriptive verbs take 으 before 냐고 하다 for quoted questions. However, it was inconsistent with my TOPIK grammar book, which did not include the part about 으 for descriptive verbs and it didn’t show in the examples. Let’s just say I was not impressed by the difference…
The mystery has been solved: 형영사 do not take 으 in written language but only 냐고 하다 as in spoke language. The first grammar book was wrong.
Well that explains a lot.