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

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?

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.


Hello hrnmno,

Welcome! We're very glad you found us and that you find LearnEnglish useful.

As is explained in part 4, 'What frightened the children?' is the best way to ask this question in most cases. When 'what' is the subject of the verb, then 'did' is not used to form the question. In this case, 'what' is indeed the subject of the verb 'frightened' and that's why it's not used.

'What did frighten the children?' is a grammatically correct question, but would only be used when you want to place emphasis on whatever it was that frightened the children. This use of 'did' is fairly infrequent.

Neither of the sentences in 2) are correct. 'to' is not used with 'there' and 'not' must go after the auxiliary verb 'have': 'I have not been there'.

Best regards,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Kirk,

You are welcome.
Now, I understood.

Thank you,

Question: Where do question structures such as those below fit into all this:

Would you find it in the forest?
q s v o

Could you paint with it?
q s v p o

(I'm playing a guessing game to increase use of questions)

Are the modals being used as questions words?
Is 'you' the subject and 'it' the object?

Dear the LearnEnglish Team members,

Would you please help me with the following tag questions which I don't know if the tags I gave them are correct? I've tried hard to check them out in several books and some other websites, but no similar examples could be found.

Kirk and Peter, I understand you are very busy. Answering questions from English learners is not your team's main job and it's not feasible for your team to go through long lists of questions. You asked me to choose only a few sentences I'm unsure for you to comment, but after reading through the list again and again, I could only exclude a small number of them.

Please kindly do me a favour. There's really no one who can help around me. I've no alternatives but to try to seek help from your team. You don't have to comment on all of them at one time......But if it's really impossible to go through them all, would you please make comments on sentences Nos.1, 2, 3 and 5. I believe some other English learners would also be keen to know more about this topic. Please don't return them all to me without taking a look or making any comments. I'd be grateful if you would help.

1) One must never desert one's friends, must they?
(I think "One" is already a pronoun, so "must one" should be the tag. But "One" also refers to people in general, is "must they" possible to be the tag? Please advise.)

2a) I wish to buy a new piano, may I?
2b) She wishes she can have a new dress, may she?
(I think if "wish" and "wishes" means "want" and "wants" here. According to the relevant basic rules, the tag should be "don't I"and "doesn't she" instead of "may I" and "may she", which a colleague of mine taught me. Am I right?)

3a) I think she will help you, won't she?
3b) I don't think she will help you, will she?
(I don't think we should use "don't I" and "do I" to be the tags. Isn't it too strange if I ask myself to agree to what I myself have said?)

4) Neither Lena nor Derek will help us, will they?

5) None of us will fail the test, shall we?
("None" is a negative word, so a positive tag should be used here. Although the modal in the statement is "will", we don't use "will we" as the tag since the normal way to ask is "shall we". Is my concept correct?)

6) We needn't take part in the contest, need we?
("Need" is used as a modal here. According to the relevant basic rule, "need" should be used in the way other modals like can, should, etc are used. Is it correct?)

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

B. rgds,

Hi Teacher,
Can you please make me clear about "i wonder"?
as i understand we can use this in asking questins but in what situation we can use that, can you give some examples.

I am too one, From the people among whoever make their time best with LearnEnglish at British Coucil site.

Thanks in advance,
Ramachandran. G

Hi Ranachandran G,

'I wonder' means 'I am thinking about' and is used in questions, as you say. For example:

Is it raining? [direct question]

I wonder if it is raining.

Where does he live? [direct question]

I wonder where he lives.

Can you help me? [direct question]

I wonder if you can help me.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglsh Team

Hello, would you please tell me, which of these statement is correct?
1. The weather forecast is for the weekend.
2. The weather forecast for the weekend is.

Hello Bamiri,

The first sentence is correct - it tells us about the weather forecast.

The second sentence is incomplete - it needs more information. For example, 'The weather forecast for the weekend is on page 3'.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

thank you sir

hello Mr peter
I have another question, I wonder if you response me?
Which of these statement is correct?
1. Do you know what the weather forecast is for the weekend?
2. Do you know what the weather forecast for the weekend is?

I appreciate it in advance.