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

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

  • We use these phrases 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 the to-infinitive:

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

Hi,
Are both of the sentences correct:
Why is my card not working?
Why is not my card working?
Thank you in advance!

Hi Borislav Vurbanov,

Both sentences are correct, though we would use a contraction in the second sentence (Why isn't...); without the contraction it sounds very unnatural.

There is no difference in meaning.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi

Which one is correct?

1.why your mother wasn't there?
2.why wasn't your mother there?

I think the first question is right but my main question is :
is it correct to make questions like the following process

1.your mother wasn't there

we change the position of subject and helper verb
2. wasn't your mother there?

and for making WH questions we add WH at first of the sentence

3.why wasn't your mother there?

Thanks in advance

Hello ihsan_qwerty,

The correct form is the second option:

Why wasn't your mother there?

 

The yes/no question is made with inversion (using an auxiliary verb if necessary):

Wasn't your mother there?

or

Was your mother there? (Yes she was, no she wasn't)

The negative question (Wasn't...) makes it sound like the person asking the question expected the mother to be present.

 

To make the wh-question we add the question word to the front of the yes/no question.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Plenty

Hello Sir
Please tell me both these sentences are correct or only the first.
Where have they come from?
Where do they come from?
I think the second one is also correct and I would like to know any difference between the two. and the situation we use them.
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

Both sentences are grammatically correct. Whether they are appropriate in a given context is another question. In general, the first one asks where those people were before now (e.g. they were in Lucknow and now they are in Raipur, where you see them exit the train station and ask them this question) and the second one asks about their origins or where they live (e.g. do they live in Lucknow -- another way to say this 'Where are they from?').

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
I'd really like to know which of these sentences are gramaically correct because all of them seem fine for me

All I did was watch the film
All I did was watching the film
All I did was to watch the film
And would it be different if I said " all I wanted was " instead of saying " all I did " ?
Or if I said my goal is watching/ to watch?

Hello uchiha itache,

The first sentence is correct, but the others aren't. The phrase 'All I did' is the subject, 'is' is the verb and then a bare infinitive form (like 'watch') is the form that comes after the verb 'is'.  

'All I wanted' is different -- you should say something like 'All I wanted was to watch TV'. Think that 'want' is often followed by an infinitive form. Here the structure is a bit different -- the verb 'was' changes the structure -- but you still need a to + infinitive after it.

With 'my goal' you also need an infinitive after it: 'My goal is to watch two hours of TV in English every day'. This is the structure we use after 'goal'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot, I got it

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