verbs - questions and negatives

 

1. Yes/No questions

Yes/No questions are questions to which the answer is 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 subject, they, after the first part of the verb:

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

2. Negatives

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
etc.

Reorder the words to make questions and negative statements.

3. Questions and negatives with present simple and past simple forms:

For all verbs except be and have we use do/does and did with the base form of the verb to make Yes/No questions for the present simple and past simple forms:

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 make negatives by putting not after do/does and did for the present simple and past simple forms:

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 the verb be in the present simple and past simple:

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)

 

The verb have:

We make questions and negatives with have in two ways:

  • normally we use do/does or did for questions :

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

  • and negatives:

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

  •  … but we can make questions by putting have, has or had in front of the subject:

Have you plenty of time?
Had they any useful advice?

  • … and we can make negatives by putting not or n’t after have, has or had:

We haven’t much time.
She hadn’t any money.
He hasn’t a sister called Liz, has he?

4.  Wh-questions

Wh-questions are questions which start with a question-asking word, either a Wh- word (what, when, where, which, who, whose, why) or questions with the word how.

Questions with: when, where, why:

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

Where are they working?
Why have they been working hard?
Where does he work?
Where will you go?
When did they arrive?
etc.

Questions with who, which and what (see Pronouns):

  • Sometimes who or what takes the place of the subject (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases) of the clause:

Who gave you the chocolates? >>> Barbara gave me the chocolates.
Who is looking after the children? >>> My mother is looking after the children
Who mended the window? >>> My brother mended the window
Who could have done this? >>> Anybody could have done this.

  • We use what in the same way:

What will happen?
What caused the accident?
What frightened the children?

When we ask who, which and what about the object of the verb (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases), we make questions in the way described in 1 and 3 above with who, which or what at the beginning of the clause:

He is seeing Joe tomorrow >>> Who is he seeing tomorrow?
I want a computer for my birthday >>> What do you want for your birthday?
She has brought some fruit for the picnic >>> What has she brought for the picnic?
They need a new car >>> What do they need?

We sometimes use which or what with a noun:

What subjects did you study at school?
What newspaper do you read?
Which newspaper do you read – the Times or the Guardian?
Which book do you want?

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?

Match the questions words with the questions.

5. 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 clause:

I 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 more than an hour >>> How long were they waiting for?

Reorder the words to make questions.

6. Other ways of asking questions:

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

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

  • We use these phrase with if for Yes/No questions:

This is the right house >>> Do you know if this is the right house?
Mr. Brown lives here >>> Do you know if Mr. Brown lives here?
Everyone will have read the book >>> I wonder if everyone will have read the book.


… or with wh-words:

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

  • We often use do you think…? after wh-words:

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

7. Negatives with the to-infinitive:

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

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

 

Reorder the words to make questions and statements.

Comments

Hello there,

Could anyone please tell me whether these questions are gramatically correct:
- What time are you arriving at?
-Which terminal shall we meet in?

I have some doubts about 'at' and 'in' at the end of the questions.

Many thanks,
Valeriya

Hello Valeriya,

Both of your sentences are correct - good work! I want to mention that often people just say 'What time are you arriving?' (without 'at'), which is also correct. But if you do use 'at' in the question, it should go where you placed it.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again!
I have a question related with the verb HAVE; are both of these clauses good?:
-If he didn't have to work he wouldn't be miserable
-If he hadn't to work he wouldn't be miserable

Thanks for your help

Nuras

Hello Nuras,

The negative of 'had to' is 'didn't have to', not '*hadn't to'. Only the first sentence is correct.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter,

Ok, but why is written in the section "3. Questions and negatives with present simple and past simple forms: The verb have: ...and we can make negatives by putting not or n’t after have, has or had:
We haven’t much time.
She hadn’t any money.
He hasn’t a sister called Liz, has he?"

Is the clause "she hadn't any money" ok?, or it has to be written like "she didn't have any money"

Thank you for the help

Best wishes,

Nuras

Hello Nuras,

As with your question on the conditionals page, you are confusing two different forms here. My earlier answer was about 'have to', a form used to express obligation which has the negative form 'don't have to' and not 'hadn't to'. Your examples here are examples of 'have' as a normal main verb in the present simple - a different form. With these examples it is possible to use 'have + not'. However, this is a much less common negative than 'do/does not + have' and can sound very formal or old-fashioned in everyday contexts.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

thank you very much! I get it ;)

best wishes

Nuras

Hi,

Can you help me to know also when we use which and that? (in which situations is one and no the other).
Thank you
Nuras

Hi Nuras,

'Which' can be used as a question word, meaning 'identify one from a group'; 'that' cannot be used in questions.

Both can be used as relative pronouns and you can find information on that structure here and here. If you have any questions about the information there please comment on that page so other users reading the same material can see your question (and its answer) as it may well be helpful for them.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

I was doing the exercice from the section 4- wh questions, and in the third clause, the option you have choosen is: WHO; so the clause is: WHO were talking to this morning?
I was wondering if the clause must better be: WHO WAS talking to this morning?
Which one is right? and why?
Thank you
Nuras

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