Making questions in English

How do I make Yes and No questions?

Yes’ and ‘no’ questions simply require either an affirmative answer (‘yes’) or a negative answer (‘no’). For example:

  • Do you own a cat?
  • Are you going to class?
  • Is it warm outside?
  • Would you like to dance?

Questions are anything said or written that requires a response. A simple way to form a question is to invert the subject and the verb of a statement and add a question mark at the end:

Statement:

Subject

+ verb
  It is.
Question: Verb + subject + ?
  Is it?

 

Statement Question
It is raining. Is it raining?
She can speak English. Can she speak English?
You were sleeping. Were you sleeping?
They are landing soon. Are they landing soon?

 

How do I make ‘wh’-questions?

One form of question is a WH-question. It requires a verb that begins with the letters wh:

Where do you live?’

Form

You can form a WH-question by beginning with a wh verb, and adding another verb, the subject, and a main verb:

‘Wh’ verb + verb + subject + main verb

Where

do you live?

The –wh verb is known as a modal verb. The main -wh modal verbs and their uses are:

  • What – asks for information: (‘What is that?’), repetition (‘What did you say? I didn’t hear you.’), or confirmation (‘You did what?’).
  • When – asks about time: ‘When does the tram leave?’
  • Where – asks about place: ‘Where is the station?’
  • Which – asks about choice: ‘Which one would you prefer?’
  • Why – asks for clarification or for a reason: ‘Why did you do that?’
  • Who – asks about one person or a group of people: ‘Who is there?’

There are also two other forms of who: ‘whom’ and ‘whose’. You can learn about ‘whom’ and ‘whose’ by following this link.

While the word how does not start with a wh, it is usually included with the wh-question words, and also asks for clarification or information:

  • How do I get from London to Calais?

 

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