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?
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.
Present simple and past simple questions and negatives
- 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:
|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)|
|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?
I 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:
I haven’t much time.
She hasn’t any money.
He hadn’t any advice to offer.
Wh-questions are questions which start with a word like what, when, where, which, who, whose, why and 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:
- 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 who, what 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?
When we ask who, what 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?
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?
When we have a question with a verb and a preposition, the preposition usually comes at the end of the question:
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 an hour. > How long were they waiting for?