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Questions and negatives

Level: beginner

Yes/No questions

Yes/No questions are questions which we answer with Yes or No. Look at these statements:

They are working hard.
They will be working hard.
They had worked hard.
They have been working hard.
They might have been working hard.

We make Yes/No questions by putting the first part of the verb in front of the subject:

Are they working hard? 
Will they be working hard?
Had they worked hard?
Have they been working hard?
Might they have been working hard?

Yes/No questions 1
Yes/No questions 2


We make negatives by putting not after the first part of the verb:

They are not working hard.
They will not be working hard.
They had not worked hard.
They have not been working hard.
They might not have been working hard.

In spoken English, we often reduce not to n’t:

They aren't working hard.
They won't be working hard.
They hadn't been working hard.
They haven't been working hard.
They mightn't have been working hard.

Negatives 1


Negatives 2


Present simple and past simple questions and negatives

For all verbs except be and have, we use do/does or did to make Yes/No questions in the present simple and past simple:

They work hard. > Do they work hard?
He works hard. Does he work hard?
They worked hard. Did they work hard?

For all verbs except be and have, we use do/does + not or did + not to make negatives in the present simple and past simple:

They work hard. > They do not (don't) work hard
He works hard. > He does not (doesn't) work hard.
They worked hard. > They did not (didn't) work hard.

Here are the question forms and negative forms for be in the present simple and past simple:

Positives Questions Negatives
I am (I'm) Am I? I am not (I'm not)
He is (he's) Is he? He is not (He's not/He isn't)
She is (she's) Is she? She is not (She's not/She isn't)
It is (it's) Is it? It is not (It's not/It isn't)
You are (you're) Are you? You are not (You're not/You aren't)
They are (they're) Are they? They are not (They're not/They aren't)
Positives Questions Negatives
I was Was I? I was not (I wasn't)
He was Was he? He was not (He wasn't)
She was Was she? She was not (She wasn't)
It was Was it? It was not (It wasn't)
You were Were you? You were not (You weren't)
They were Were they? They were not (They weren't)

We make questions and negatives with have in two ways. Usually we use do/does or did:

Do you have plenty of time?
Does she have enough money?
Did they have any useful advice?

don't have much time.
She doesn't have any money.
They didn't have any advice to offer.

but we can also make questions by putting have/has or had in front of the subject:

Have you plenty of time?
Has she enough money?
Had they any useful advice?

and make negatives by putting not or n't after have/has or had:

haven't much time.
She hasn't any money.
He hadn't any advice to offer.

Present simple and past simple questions and negatives 1


Present simple and past simple questions and negatives 2



Wh-questions are questions which start with a word like what, when, where, which, who, whose, why and how.

Question words


Questions with when, where, why

We form wh-questions with these words by putting the question word in front of a Yes/No question:

They are working in a shop. > Where are they working?
They have been working hard for their exams. > Why have they been working hard?
They arrived at six. > When did they arrive?

Questions with who, what, which

When we ask whowhat and which about the object of the verb, we put the question word in front of a Yes/No question:

He is seeing Joe tomorrow. > Who is he seeing tomorrow?
I want a computer for my birthday. > What do you want for your birthday?
I'd prefer some tea. > Which would you prefer, tea or coffee?
Wh-questions 1


When we ask whowhat and which about the subject of the verb, the question word takes the place of the subject:

Barbara gave me the chocolates. > Who gave you the chocolates?
Something funny happened. > What happened?
The dog frightened the children. > Which dog frightened the children?

We sometimes use what or which with a noun:

What subjects did you study at school?
Which English newspaper started in 1986?
What subjects does everyone have to study?
Which newspaper do you prefer, The Times or the Guardian?

Wh-questions 2


Questions with how

We use how for many different questions:

How are you?
How do you make questions in English?
How long have you lived here?
How often do you go to the cinema?
How much is this dress?
How old are you?
How many people came to the meeting?

Questions with how 1


Questions with how 2


Questions with verbs and prepositions

When we have a question with a verb and a preposition, the preposition usually comes at the end of the question:

gave the money to my brother. > Who did you give the money to?
She comes from Madrid. > Where does she come from?​​​
They were waiting for an hour. > How long were they waiting for?
Questions with verbs and prepositions 1


Questions with verbs and prepositions 2


Level: intermediate

Other ways of asking questions

We sometimes use phrases like these in front of a statement to ask questions:

Do you know …?    
I wonder …    
Can you tell me …?

For Yes/No questions, we use the phrases with if:

This is the right house. > Do you know if this is the right house?
Everyone will agree. > I wonder if everyone will agree.
Mr Brown lives here. > Can you tell me if Mr Brown lives here?

For wh-questions, we use the phrases with a question word:

Do you know who lives here?
I wonder how much this dress is.
Can you tell me where she comes from?

We often use do you think …? after question words:

How much do you think this dress is?
Where do you think she comes from?
Who do you think lives here?

Indirect questions 1


Indirect questions 2


Negatives with the to-infinitive

 When we make a negative with the to-infinitive, we put not in front of the to-infinitive:

He told us not to make so much noise.
We were asked not to park in front of the house.


Hello Lunar0506,

In the first sentence there is no 'does' because the subject of the verb 'walks' is the question word 'who'. In the second one, in contrast, the subject is 'she'. Our Question forms & subject/object questions page explains this in more detail if you'd like to learn more about it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Lunar0506,

'Why does it make him feel angry?' is the only correct one of those two sentences. The auxiliary verb can only be omitted with the question words 'what' and 'who', and then only when they are the subject of the verb. In all other cases, you must use the auxiliary verb.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, i need your help please! i am a little bit confused about something.

I was there. this is the past simple, if i want to ask a question, because there is not auxiliary in past simple, i should add do or does it's will then be do was i there?

Hi Tim,

Questions with the verb 'be' are formed with inversion and no additional auxiliary verb is needed. The question therefore is 'Was I there?'


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I don't know whether I can say:
When he goes to school?

If it's correct, what question form is it?

Hello davidinh,

That is not a properly formed question, though people would certainly understand it. The correct form needs the auxiliary verb 'do': 'Where does he go to school?'

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello davidinh,

The difference is that 'who' is the subject of the verb 'went' (in 'Who went to the cinema?') whereas 'when' is not the subject of 'goes' (in 'When does he go?'). This is explained on our Question forms page -- see the Subject/Object questions section towards the bottom of the page. I think that should clear it up for you, but if not, please don't hesitate to ask again.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Learn English Team

In the sentence, "The windows have been cleaned" Can anyone please help me to figure out verb tense. If it is in Present present continuous form then have been cleaning can be used.

Please help me to learn grammar.


Hi Krishna,

The verb form 'have been cleaned' is a present perfect passive form. Here is the sentence in active and passive form:

Someone has cleaned the windows. [active]

The windows have been cleaned (by someone). [passive]


You can make a continuous form here:

Someone has been cleaning the windows. [active]

This would suggest that the cleaning is not finished yet. The passive equivalent is possible but is unusual because it becomes a very long verb phrase which we tend to avoid:

The windows have been being cleaned (by someone). [passive]


You can read more about passive forms here. This page deals with the present perfect and this page looks at the difference between the present perfect simple and continuous.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello LearnEnglish Team!

Here is a question about something I've been researching for a while but I haven't found a satisactory answer.

Should we say: Where did you move or where did you move TO?
Where did you get or where did you get TO?
I'm aware of the rule that says that you should turn it into an affirmative sentence but I'm afraid that doesn't really help me.
You moved WHERE? or You moved TO WHERE?
You got WHERE? or You got TO WHERE?
I couldn't really pick one over the other.

Thank you in advance
François Fiset