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.

Average: 4.2 (45 votes)
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Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Thu, 20/08/2020 - 00:09

Hello. Could you please tell me if the following sentence correct or there is something wrong? - I rarely do go to bed late. I mean using "do" and "rarely" Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The auxiliary do adds emphasis, so you would only use it with an adverb like rarely if someone had questioned whether rarely was really true. For example:

I rarely go to bed late.

Honestly? I thought you often went to bed late.

No, really, I do rarely go to bed late.

As is normal, adverbs come before the main verb and after the auxiliary.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sunyoung1005 on Fri, 14/08/2020 - 16:58

The buses can drive themselves without any human intervention under certain conditions. Would it be acceptable to say “without human intervention” or "with no human intervention"? Thank you in advance teachers.

Hi Sunyoung1005,

Yes, both the versions you suggested are grammatically correct. The meaning is the same, but the versions with any and no are more emphatic.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lakshmi94216 on Tue, 11/08/2020 - 13:58

Hello LearnEnglish Team "Overturning a legal precedent is no easy matter." Could I say "is not an easy matter"? "Most verbs behave in the same way, but there is not complete uniformity " Could I say "there is no complete uniformity"? Thanks.

Hi Lakshmi94216,

Yes! Both of your rephrasings are fine, and the meaning is the same. But, the versions with no are more emphatic than the versions with not.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by MarciaBT on Fri, 07/08/2020 - 15:47

"Even if you are my elder brother, you haven’t the right to tell me what to do." Could I say " have no right..." or "You don't have the right" instead? Is there any difference in meaning? Thanks a lot!

Hello MarciaBT,

Both alternatives are possible.

It's unusual to use haven't as the negative form of have. Normally we use don't have or haven't got; have is not normally used with a contraction when it is the main verb.

The meaning of the forms is the same in each, though 'no right' is perhaps more emphatic/stronger than the other.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kashvi.la27 on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 11:57

Hello sir, Hope you have a nice day! I would like to ask two questions: 1. They treated us without much consideration vs They treated us with little consideration - Is there any difference between these two sentences? 2. Kim regretted having married someone with no ambition. - Could I replace "with no ambition" with "without any ambition" or "without an ambition"?
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 13:33

In reply to by Kashvi.la27


Hello Kashvi.la27,

In general, the two first sentences mean the same thing. Sentence 1b is what I would say; it's not that 1a is wrong, though.

All of the variants you ask about in 2 are possible, though it would be strange to say 'an ambition' without specifying it more afterwards -- for example, something like 'an ambition to be doctor'. If I were choosing one of these sentences, I would use the first one.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher, Could I say that in general, all these options are grammatically correct, but it is ultimately a matter of collocation or which one sounds more natural in deciding which of them would be better? Thanks in advance.

Hello Kashvi.la27,

Yes, that sounds right to me.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Munir1405 on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 11:58

Gentleman. Good day I have 2 questiona First question is, can I use negative with wh questions.? For example What don't you eat? Where don't you go? How don't you answer the question? Second question Can I use theis phrase ( what to do or what I know) in a place of subject. For example I can say ( that is what I know) (he knows how to work) in place of object But in place of subject ( what I know is he can not go) How to play football depends on your desire to learn.
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 15:00

In reply to by Munir1405


Hello Munir1405,

The answer to your first question is 'yes'. All of the questions you wrote are correctly formed.

The answer to your second question is also 'yes'. 'I don't know what to do' or 'She doesn't know what I know' are both correctly formed and so are the three other examples in brackets. In the last sentence, I'd suggest 'How you play football' instead of what you wrote.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot for your quick reply, regarding the negative wh question. You said, they are formed correctly, but the main question Are they used commonly in the English communities?

Hello Munir1405,

That's a difficult question to answer, really. I can say that they are less common than affirmative wh-questions, but I'm afraid it's difficult to say much more than that.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Tue, 28/07/2020 - 23:07

Really helpful. Thanks.

Submitted by Syed Faisal Khalil on Mon, 06/07/2020 - 11:53

Hello Sir, use the correct form of the interrogative pronoun in the following and explain 1.-------------do men say that i am ? 2.-------------do you believe did this? Thanks in advance!
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 09:26

In reply to by Syed Faisal Khalil


Hello Syed Faisal Khalil,

In terms of standard use, both who and whom are possible in these sentences. Whom sounds rather more formal and possible old-fashioned, while who sounds more contemporary and a little less formal. Obviously, the context and intended style is key here.


There is some discussion amongst grammarians about whether a subject or object pronoun is required in these kinds of sentences. In my view, an object pronoun is the better option. For example, if we use the same structure in an affirmative sentence (rather than a question) thenwe use an object pronoun (me) rather a subject pronoun (I):

Some say that the author of the anonymous book is me, but it's not true.


Since we can use who as an object pronoun as well as a subject pronoun in most contexts, I would tend towards who rather than whom unless my aim was for an archaic style.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Riyaz Shiekh on Wed, 20/05/2020 - 07:14

Hello sir. Please read the sentence below. )Having finished the work,he has gone to the market.) I know the meaning of this sentence but sir,pls tell me how having works here,I mean to ask,is it auxiliary verb? o is it adjective?or what is this?,if it is auxiliary,auxiliary doesnt take the ing form. Please explain in detail. And also tell me the difference between..Iam done and I have done.
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 07:23

In reply to by Riyaz Shiekh


Hello Riyaz Shiekh,

This is an example of a participle clause. Present participles are verb forms created with -ing, so the present participle of the verb finish is finishing. When we add perfect aspect we have what is sometimes called a perfect participle: having finished.


Participle clauses have various uses. You can read about them on this page:


In your example, the participle clause gives us information about what the person did before he went to the market, and suggests that the two actions were connected in some way.


Please post your questions on one page only rather than on multiple pages. We answer questions as soon as we can, and if the same question is posted more than once we have to delete the duplicates first, which only means that it takes longer for us to answer the question.



The LearnEnglish Team

Sir..Iam not clear still,kindly tell me,whether having here is an adjective or present participle of have or what is this?. Having finished the work,he has gone out.

Submitted by muslimbadshah on Thu, 07/05/2020 - 18:33

Hello Sir! I am confused about the usage of "OR" in question sentences. When there are two clauses in a sentence joined by the conjunction "or", shall we use question order in both clauses or only in the first clause? Some example sentences are given below: 1: Do you still live in the same place or have you moved? Do you still live in the same place or you have moved? 2: Would you like to eat with us or have you already eaten? Would you like to eat with us or you have already eaten? 3: Do you want to join the club or are you already a member? Do you want to join the club or you are already a member? Which ones of the above sentences are correct and why? ...................... 1: Do you want to go with us or stay at home? 2: Did you accept their invitation or turned down? The above sentences seem ok to me, but I'm confused about the other ones because someone asked me not to use question order after the conjunction "or". I don't have any idea about this rule but what comes to my mind is when there are two different tenses or two different auxiliary verbs in both clauses, we should use the question order in both clauses. When there is the same tense or same auxiliary verbs in both clauses we should not use question order in the second clause. I'll be highly obliged if you could help me out with this problem. Thanks in advance!
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 08/05/2020 - 07:06

In reply to by muslimbadshah


Hello muslimbadshah,

Question word order is used in both clauses so the first sentence in each pair is correct. It is not correct to change the word order after or in that way, and the tenses/verb forms used do not change this.


Your second examples are a little different because you are omitting the question itself in the second clause to avoid repetition. If we put it in then the structure becomes clear:

Do you want to go with us or (did you want to) stay at home?

Did you accept their invitation or (did you) turn it down?

I've corrected the second example as it was not grammatical for other reasons.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much sir for your kind response. Now my concept is crystal clear.
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 08:18

In reply to by muslimbadshah


Hello muslimbadshah,

You need to use question word order in both clauses; the use of or does not change this. Thus, the first version of each pair of sentences is correct.


In your second set of examples you may be confused because there are words omitted in the second clause. The full sentences are as follows:

Do you want to go with us or do you want to stay at home?

Did you accept their invitation or did you turn it down?

Note the changes in the second example. Your version was not grammatical.

As you can see, question word order is required. The conjunction or does not change this.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sharmila_M on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 18:32

How come you not know the reason for your stress? Is this sentence correct? Please answer my question

Hello Sharmila_M,

No, the sentence is not correct. You need to use don't to make the negative:

How come you don't know the reason for your stress?

Note that How come is very informal. It means the same as How did it happen that... or Why... 



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir, Please tell me the diffrence between these two sentences. Iam done and I have done. Thanks in advance.
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 08:30

In reply to by rizzu8888


Hello rizzu8888,

This really depends on the context.


The sentence I am done means the same as I have finished.


I hve done does not look like a complete sentence. You could say I have done it, which has a similar meaning to I have finished, but it would depend on the context. It's hard to be sure with the sentence in isolation.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Vitub on Tue, 26/11/2019 - 20:00

Hello, I've seen the question "Who do you think should be president?" and I'm confused it may be contradicted English Grammar if someone decided to pass IELTS. Probably a task can be indicated "make a question" from a context about president, as I think once someone does the same way will it be wrong? I mean someone decided to pass IELTS and saw a task to read context about president with making a question, as a result it is done like that "Who do you think should be president?". As it is seen in front of "president" there is zero article according the rule "When a singular countable noun is used after be and become and denotes a unique job/profession" Please answer my questions, see below. 1 Is the question "Who do you think should be president?" grammatically correct? 2 Is that right that in front of "president" no article? Thank you
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Wed, 27/11/2019 - 07:41

In reply to by Vitub


Hello Vitub

Yes, that question is correct and in this context, no article is needed. When speaking about a unique job position (i.e. where there is only one), 'the' is not usually used before the complement if we are speaking about the person gaining the position. I know that must seem like a very odd rule, but it is indeed the way native speakers use the language!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by verob on Sat, 26/10/2019 - 13:55

Hi! I have a question concerning the negatives of "have/has/had" (used as lexical verbs). In what contexts would you use forms such as: "I haven't much time." Would a sentence like "He hasn't brothers" work as well? Thanks for your answer!
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 27/10/2019 - 08:30

In reply to by verob


Hello verob,

Negation of lexical verbs without the auxiliary do is an archaic feature. It has largely disappeared from modern English but still remains in certain phrases, and in humorous or self-consciously archaic usage. Your example is one of these, but there are others:

I haven't much time.

We haven't the money for this.

I think not.

I believe not.

Want not, waste not.


You can read about the use of some of these forms here:



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Parisa2 on Thu, 24/10/2019 - 14:45

Hi The sentence is " The students are talking to their teacher" or " The students usually talk to their teacher aftet class" If we want to make questions with who to ask about subject, which one is true? Who is talking..... or who are talking....? Who talks......? Or who talk....? Thanks a million in advance
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 25/10/2019 - 06:46

In reply to by Parisa2


Hello Parisa2,

Who is... would be the subject question:

Q: Who is talking to their teacher?

A: The students.


Who are... would be the object question:

Q: Who are the students talking to?

A: Their teacher.



The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Tue, 15/10/2019 - 09:36

Hello. Is the following sentence correct using the negative form? I doubt that he won't accept your kind offer. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

It is correct, grammatically speaking, but is a rather strange formulation. I doubt that he won't... can be more simply expressed as I expect that he will..., and English generally tries to avoid formulations that are harder to understand or require some deciphering.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ataur Rahman on Wed, 11/09/2019 - 15:38

Is it grammatical to transfer the imperative sentences into wh-questions? As in: Imperative: Eat some fruits. Wh-question: What should you eat?

Submitted by davidinh on Sat, 03/08/2019 - 13:58

I don't understand what this question means, although I tried to explain it. So, please explain it help me. Thank you! I quote this question from a passage: "For many of them, the question wasn't could he do it but why would it be worth doing?"

Hello davidinh

I'm not sure this is really a question in the sense you are thinking here. The word 'question' has different meanings and the one used here is more 'problem' or 'matter'. The idea is these people thought that he could do it, but didn't know whether it was worth it for him to do it.

Does that make sense?

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jcsj1172 on Wed, 16/05/2018 - 08:47

Ok, I had two faults, because in both I have exchange the ponouns by the verb. I wil try to do more excercises like this. Thank You.

Submitted by Marua on Mon, 14/05/2018 - 08:29

Hello. I need a little help. Considering the given questions "Do you like playing sports? Why (not)?", are the next answers appropriate in writing? 1. Yes, I do. I like playing sports because they are... 2. Yes, I like playing sports because... 3. Yes, I like playing sports. Outdoors activities are my favourite.... Many thanks.
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 14/05/2018 - 13:43

In reply to by Marua


Hi Marua,

Yes, all of your answers are correct and appropriate. Good work!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Hamdy Ali on Fri, 30/03/2018 - 01:26

Hello Is it right if we use :Yes ,it's in short answer or only(Yes, it is) ?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 30/03/2018 - 08:29

In reply to by Hamdy Ali


Hello Hamdy Ali,




The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Fri, 23/02/2018 - 05:10

" Do you have any questions you would like answered? " : Can I make the above as " Do you have any questions you would like been answered? " If yes , what would be the difference between the two ? Regards

Hello dipakrgandhi,

No, I'm afraid that is not correct. It might be helpful to think that the full form of the first version of the sentence is 'Do you have any questions (that) you would like (to be) answered?' Note that there is a passive infinitive there ('to be answered') -- an infinitive is needed in this case, which is why your suggestion is not grammatical.

I hope that helps you understand it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team