Question Forms


Question Forms
Question Forms

Questions can be a little difficult in English. The first thing to remember is that there are two main kinds, ‘yes / no’ and ‘wh’:

The ‘yes / no’ kind need the answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
For example:

  • Do you like chocolate?
  • Is he from India?
  • Have you been to Japan?

A ‘wh’ one needs more information in the answer. It uses a question word like ‘where’, ‘why’, ‘how’ etc.

  • Where do you live?
  • What did she do yesterday?
  • Where is the station?

They are made in three different ways in English grammar depending on the verb tense:

1: We change the position (or ‘invert’) the verb and the subject.
This is used for the present simple and the past simple of ‘be’ and for modal verbs
2: We add an extra word, like ‘do / does’ or ‘did’.
This is used for the past simple and the present simple of all other
English verbs (not ‘be’).
3: We change the position of the first auxiliary verb and the
subject.
This is for all other tenses, for example the present perfect, the
present continuous or the future perfect continuous.

To make the ‘wh’ kind, just put the question word in front of any ‘yes / no’ question: Is he coming (‘yes / no’) becomes When is he coming? (‘wh’)

Here is a summary of the tenses and their interrogative forms (click on each tense for more information):

Yes / No:

Present simple ‘be’Are you hungry?
Present simple other verbsDo you like ice cream?
Present continuousAre you coming to the party?
Past simple ‘be’Were you at home yesterday?
Past simple other verbsDid you go out last night?
Past continuousWere you watching TV at 8 last night?
Present perfectHave you eaten?
Present perfect continuousHave you been working hard?
Past perfectHad you slept?
Past perfect continuousHad you been running?
Future simpleWill you come?
Future continuousWill you be coming?
Future perfectWill you have finished at 6?
Future perfect continuousWill you have been working?
ModalsCan you swim?
ModalsMust you leave?

Wh:

Present simple ‘be’Who are you?
Present simple other verbsWhere do you play tennis?
Present continuousWhen are you coming to the party?
Past simple ‘be’Where were you last night?
Past simple other verbsHow did you do it?
Past continuousWhat were you doing when I called you?
Present perfectWhat have you eaten?
Present perfect continuousWhere have you been working hard?
Past perfectWhat had you eaten?
Past perfect continuousWhy had you been working hard?
Future simpleWho will you meet?
Future continuousWhy will you be sleeping?
Future perfectWhen will you have finished?
Future perfect continuousWhat will you have been doing?
ModalsWhere can we swim?
ModalsWhy must you leave?

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