To form yes/no questions where there is an auxiliary verb or a modal verb, we invert the word order of a positive sentence.
Question forms & subject/object questions
Review of question forms
- Is he a teacher? Yes he is.
- Can you swim? No, I can’t.
- Have they got a car? Yes they have.
To form yes/no questions where there is an auxiliary verb or a modal verb, we invert the word order of a positive sentence. (He is a teacher > Is he a teacher?)
- Do you eat fish? No I don’t.
- Does she know you. Yes she does.
When there is no auxiliary verb we use ‘do’ to form the question.
With question words
The same rules apply when there is a question word (‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’, ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘how’, ‘how much’, ‘how many’)
- Where is the hotel?
- What can you smell?
- Who has just arrived?
Where there is an auxiliary or modal verb, that verb is used to form the question.
- How did you get here?
- When do your parents get back?
- How much does it cost?
Where there is no auxiliary verb, we use do.
Sometimes you might see questions like this.
- Who broke the window?
- What happened next?
- Who told you that?
There is no auxiliary verb and the word order is not inverted.
These are called subject questions – because the question word is the subject of the sentence.
Look at these two questions.
- Who does Romeo love? Romeo loves Juliet.
- Who loves Romeo? Juliet loves Romeo.
In the first question, Romeo is the subject of the verb.
In the second question ‘who’ is the subject and Romeo is the object.