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
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Yes/No questions 2
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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.
They haven't been working hard.
They mightn't have been working hard.

Negatives 1

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Negatives 2

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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
.
They work 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

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Present simple and past simple questions and negatives 2

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Wh-questions

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

Question words

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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

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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

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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

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Questions with how 2

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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

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Questions with verbs and prepositions 2

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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

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Indirect questions 2

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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.

Basic level

Comments

Hello Sash,

In this context both can be used with the same meaning - there is no difference between 'like the best' and 'like the most'.

The second speaker chooses 'best' in order to avoid repetition; if the first speaker had said 'best' then the second speaker could have said 'the most' for the same reason.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

"The price for a pack of brown sugar is high." How do I analyze this sentence? Is there a lesson or material you can refer me to, please? Why is everything a subject

Hello Sash,

Can you please be more specific? What is it about the sentence that you don't understand? I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean when you say 'Why is everything a subject', as I don't see the word 'everything' in the sentence, and the subject of that sentence seems to be the price of a pack of sugar.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
Thank you for your quick response.
It confuses me when the subject is the noun phrase like in this example. What kind of words are
"price", "pack", "sugar".

Hello Sash,

A noun phrase can be as short as one word or as long as anyone wishes to make it, though past a certain point it becomes hard to follow the sense of the sentence!

A noun phrase is a word or a group of words which together act as the subject, the object or a complement in a sentence. Noun phrases can contain other noun phrases, as in your example. Provided the whole thing acts as the subject, the object or the complement of a verb, it is a noun phrase.

You can read more about noun phrases here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

What is que tag for this

Everybody has a pen. Don't they? Or haven't they?

Considering simple present takes do or does but doubt in has/have cases.

Hello Sunny21parikh,

Both can be used. 'don't they' is the most logical one, as it is the question tag for 'has' in this case, but 'haven't they' is also fine, as it is the question tag for 'has got', which is also possible here.

By the way, we have a page on question tags that might be helpful to you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!

I want to know if "You are Thai, aren't you?" is more appropriate than "Are you Thai?" in the context of one stranger wanting to start a conversation with another. Let's say it is not obvious that the person spoken to is Thai. It is two people waiting for a bus (informal).

I think "You are Thai, aren't you?" sounds more polite, and it seems to invite further conversation. Do you agree?

I see something wrong with my question: if two people are waiting for a bus and they do not know each other, then the situation is formal, right?

So, two people, they do not know each other, which of those two sentences is better?

Hello Sibtid Pocachang,

That's not a particularly formal situation in my opinion. It really depends on how you perceive the person waiting with you. If you think the person has a higher social rank than you, then using a formal form would be appropriate. If you're not sure, it's also appropriate to be formal, but that doesn't mean that being informal is impolite.

Neither question is particularly formal or informal. In a situation like this, your tone of voice and how you ask the question would be ways of making the situation formal or informal. For example, you could say 'Pardon me, sir (or 'ma'am')' to make your the situation more formal.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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