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Question forms

Do you know how to make questions?

Look at these examples to see how questions are made.

Is he a teacher?
Does she eat meat?
When did you get here?
How much does a train ticket cost?

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Question forms: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

To make questions, we often put the verb before the subject. This is called inversion.

Affirmative Question
I am late. Am I late?
I can help. Can I help?
She is sleeping. Is she sleeping?
We have met before. Have we met before?

If there is a question word (why, what, where, how, etc.), it goes before the verb.

Question Question with question word
Are you late? Why are you late?
Was she there? When was she there?
Can I help? How can I help?
Have we met before? Where have we met before?

This is true for sentences with be, sentences that have auxiliary verbs (e.g. They are waiting. She has finished.) and sentences with modal verbs (can, will, should, might, etc.).

Questions in the present simple and past simple

For other verbs in the present simple, we use the auxiliary verb do/does in the question.

Affirmative Question Question with question word
You work at home.   Do you work at home? Where do you work?
It costs £10.  Does it cost £10? How much does it cost?

We use the auxiliary verb did in the past simple.

Affirmative Question Question with question word
She went home.  Did she go home? Where did she go?
They went to the cinema.  Did they go to the cinema? Where did they go?

Subject questions

In some questions, who or what is the subject of the verb. There is no inversion of subject and verb in these questions.

Who broke the window?
Who is knocking on the door?

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Question forms: Grammar test 2

Language level

Beginner: A1
Pre-intermediate: A2

Comments

Hi LearnEnglish Team,

My question has to do with the proper ending punctuation in the following context: If a compound sentence contains two clauses, one of which is a statement and the other a question, how should one punctuate it?

For example, which of the following is correctly punctuated?
Can you give us your order number and we will check on it.
Can you give us your order number and we will check on it?

We could, of course, avoid the issue by simply rewriting the sentence, as in this example:
If you can give us your order number, we will check on it.

But rather than rewrite the sentence to avoid the issue, I’m curious how you would advise punctuating the sentence in its original construction.

Thanks for your help.

Tim O'Brien

Hello Tim O'Brien,

First of all, I would be tempted to rewrite the sentence! It reads to me more like a spoken sentence than typical written language. I would most likely use a conditional form (If you can... then we will...).

 

That said, I think I would probably use a question mark as the primary function of the sentence is requesting. It is a debatable point, however, so the safest course would be to consult the style guide for your organisation, or else a standard style guide if your organisation does not have one. The Chicago Manual of Style is the most popular in the US, I believe.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

that was a good grammar lesson, so In the future, I wish to have the opportunity to dominate almost every step

cool.
I shall live in the UK in the next year or I shall live in the UK next year. Which statement is right? or both are wrong?

this is cool ;D

Dear Teacher,

Which one is the correct written short answer to each of the following ‘Where’ questions? Thanks!

Q1: Where do you want to go?
a. To the park.
b. The park.
c. Park.
Q2: Where do you go on Sunday?
a. To the church.
b. The church.
c. Church.

Hello Whitney Choi,

For the first question, a. and b. are both correct.

For the second one, it depends on the habits of the person who's responding. If they go to church regularly on Sundays, c. is the only correct answer, but it'd be better to say 'to church'.

I'd suggest you have a look at our Articles 2 page, which discusses the use of 'the' before 'church' and similar words.

By the way, please don't post your questions more than once. It can take us some time to respond to comments, and it only slows things down if you post your comments more than once.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher is there any different between questions in America and u k something like American said( may I have something?) And you didn't mention that.

Hi Moutasim Mohammed,

There's no difference in the way questions are formed in the UK and the US. There may be differences in terms of which questions are more or less common, of course, but this is true with any dialects, not just UK/US.

 

The question 'May I have something?' is perfectly fine in both the UK and the US. In terms of the grammar, it's a question with a modal verb using inversion to create a yes/no question. The question 'Can I help?' has the same grammatical structure in this regard.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there, I am from Mexico city and now I have the opportunity to teach to three children English.
But one of my students made me a question that I am not very sure of the answer: When is neccesary to use auxiliary verbs in questions...?
Hope someone can help me! :)

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