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
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Yes/No questions 2
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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.
They haven't been working hard.
They mightn't have been working hard.

Negatives 1

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Negatives 2

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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

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Present simple and past simple questions and negatives 2

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Wh-questions

Wh-questions are questions which start with a word like what, when, where, which, who, whose, why and how.

Question words

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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

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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

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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

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Questions with how 2

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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

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Questions with verbs and prepositions 2

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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

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Indirect questions 2

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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.

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Hello Monica,

Yes, that's correct - when the question word refers to the subject, the auxiliary verb 'do/does/did' is not used. Good work!

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by glovicx on Tue, 04/11/2014 - 22:08

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Hello I found someone to talk for practices by skype if you are intresting add me ------------. I can show you spanish 50/50 best regards

Hi glovicx,

It's great that you want to do a language exchange online to practice your English, but I'm afraid our House Rules prohibit the sharing of personal information such as Skype account names.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by davide32 on Mon, 22/09/2014 - 22:17

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hi, i'm a new student and now i'm studyng the verbs...i have difficult to understand past perfect simple and past peferct continuos :-) my english not good :-)

Hello davide32,

These two forms are some of the trickiest in English, so it's no surprise that you find them challenging. We have a page devoted to this topic, however, so hopefully that will help to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by rajeshbasvoju on Thu, 18/09/2014 - 07:49

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The windows are cleaned isn't a right one, why do you prefer The windows have been cleaned?

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Thu, 21/08/2014 - 05:01

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twe cannot disappoint Grandma and Grandpa Smith, and that is what family is all about! Do you understand?! According to me it should have been did u understand instead of do you understand? Plz clear my doubt sir.. Even in movies people use do you understand instead of did u understand?why is it so.

Hello tagrapankaj,

'Did you understand?' asks about the past, not the present. 'Do you understand?' asks about the present - i.e. if the person understands now (at the moment of speaking). Both are correct, but have different meanings.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I'm afraid that without context it's not possible for us to comment on sentences that you've seen. Peter's explanation describes the difference in meaning between these forms. Best wishes, Adam The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Wed, 20/08/2014 - 17:21

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Do you understand what is been taught in class? Or Do u understand what is taught in the class? is there any difference in between them?

Hello tagrapankaj,

The first sentence is incorrect; the form 'is been' is not a possible form. Perhaps you meant 'has been', which would be a normal present perfect form talking about the teaching in the past up to the present moment. You can find more information about the present perfect here.

The second sentence is a correct sentence. It is a present simple passive form and refers to the present in general; in other words, it asks about the teaching which usually or typically takes place. It is a more general question about class, whereas the present perfect would be about concrete material taught up to the present time. You can find more information about passive forms here.

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Tue, 12/08/2014 - 14:44

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Are u done with ur work? Have u completed your work? Sir,Wats the difference between them?
Hello, Those two sentences mean pretty much the same thing. However, they are different in style and emphasis. For example, the second sentence is a little more formal. Best wishes, Adam The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Wed, 06/08/2014 - 10:47

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suppose i made a project 10 days back and someone asks me, tell me something about your project.. how would i explain that i mean in present tense or past tense?

Hello tagrapankaj,

That depends on what you want to explain. If you wanted to explain the process you used to make it, the past would be appropriate, but if you were using the project to explain some general process, e.g. water condensation, then the present would be more appropriate.

By the way, please try to find a page that has something to do with your question. For example, this question would be more appropriate on a page related with the present or past tense in our Grammar Reference. It's easy to find appropriate pages by using our search box (on the right).

Thanks.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Fri, 01/08/2014 - 12:41

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Do u get the call? Have u got the call? Did u get the call? Can i use either of the question to ask?i mean all have the same meaning?

Hello tagrapankaj,

If we were asking about whether or not a person received a phone call then we would say 'Did you get the call?' We would not use the present simple 'Do you...' here as it would suggest something that happens regularly rather than once for a specific call. We would also not use the 'Have... got...' form as it would suggest that the call is taking place at the moment of speaking and we are asking if the connection is successful right now.

i hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by bravo2062 on Sun, 18/05/2014 - 15:30

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Dear Peter It may sound random but I have no one to speak in english with me. My friends and teachers are f useless, and I really need to improve my spoken skills. I was wondering if you could give me some tips

Hello bravo2062,

It's hard for me to give you any really concrete suggestions as I don't know enough about you - your level, how you learn best and so on.  However, I can give you some general tips.

The first thing I would say is to not worry too much about making mistakes in English when you speak.  It's normal for our spoken language to be less accurate than our written language, even when we are speaking our native language. When we are speaking we often change our minds in mid-sentence, or choose to phrase something differently, or do not finish a particular sentence.  It is perfectly normal for our speech to be chaotic and less accurate, so don't worry too much about mistakes, practise speaking as often as you can and you will improve.

If you do not have a practice partner it does not mean that you cannot practise because it is possible to practise alone.  Just speaking English to yourself while you are at home, going about your normal daily activities, can help a great deal with your fluency and can help you to feel more confident, which will help you to cut down your hesitating.

You can also use the audio and video materials here on LearnEnglish to improve your fluency. After doing the exercises, try listening with the transcript (listening and reading). Then try saying the text yourself, and finally try saying it with (and at the same speed as) the recording. This will help you to develop speed in your speech, which is a key component of fluency.  You'll also pick up a lot of language as chunks - words which are often used together in set phrases - which you can use to communicate with less hesitation.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes and good luck,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter, Thank you for your time and effort in helping us understand English better. In reference to your sentence, "... which will help you cut down your hesitating", shouldn't it have been written as "... which will help you cut down your hesitation"?. Is my understanding correct that 'your' is followed by a noun. In your sentence you are using the adjective(hesitating), right?. I have also heard people say like this. "We appreciate your contacting the office". Why isn't that a noun following 'your', if that sentence is correct. Appreciate your response. Shahal.

Hello Shahal,

The term '-ing form' covers a range of grammatical devices, including present participles, adjectival forms and gerunds. A gerund is a verbal noun - a noun made from a verb - and in the sentence you quote 'hesitating' is an example of this. We can also use gerunds as subjects: 'Hesitating is a big problem'.

You can find more information on the use of -ing forms here.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by thendral sivamani on Sat, 17/05/2014 - 09:48

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hello teacher, can you say the definition of auxiliary verbs?

Hello thendral sivamani,

Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called 'helper verbs', and this gives a good idea of their role.  They are grammatical in nature; they add grammatical meaning such as time, voice (passive), aspect (perfect or continuous) etc.

You can find a full definition and examples here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by maria soomro on Sat, 19/04/2014 - 06:53

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Hi, i do not understand the sentence below "English is spoken all over the world" Past participles are use with perfect tenses? how we use "is" with past participle. Thanks

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 19/04/2014 - 10:04

In reply to by maria soomro

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Hi Maria,

This is an example of a present passive construction, formed with [am/is/are + past participle].  You can find more information on this structure here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by PULCI81 on Thu, 17/04/2014 - 15:59

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Hello. This is a very useful website! I would like to know what is the difference between: - Have you got a ... ? and - Do you have got A ...? When I have to use DO with the verb HAVE? Thank you.

Hello PUBCI81,

There are two different verb constructions here:

have go and have

To form the questions we use the following:

Have you got...? and Do you have...?

To form the negative we use the following:

I haven't got... and I don't have...

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by gmolinac25 on Tue, 04/02/2014 - 05:05

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Is very easy¡¡

Submitted by tina2254 on Sat, 12/10/2013 - 07:22

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thank for helping me, such a wonderful website

Submitted by amy1999 on Sun, 29/09/2013 - 22:43

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Hi I'm new to this site. Can I just ask, what is the proper form of the verb in a question where there is an article 'a' in the subject, for eg., 'What do/does an apple and an orange have in common?'  I find it strange to say 'what do AN apple' so please clarify. Thanks.

Hi amy1999,

First of all, welcome to LearnEnglish! The correct form of this question is:

What do an apple and an orange have in common?

The subject of the verb have is an apple and an orange. Since it is a plural subject (it involves two pieces of fruit), the plural form of do is the correct auxiliary verb.

I can understand that it may sound strange to you, but it sounds perfectly normal to me!

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mohammedeng on Fri, 23/08/2013 - 10:30

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Dear all,

I have a question . what is the different between He has finished and he had finished please i need your help.

Regard,

Submitted by Abdorawa on Sat, 10/08/2013 - 19:58

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What the deference between He has finished and He have finished.

Hello Abdorawa,

The second example is incorrect because 'he' is a third-person form and so needs 'has' and not 'have' as the auxiliary verb.

I've just answered your other question on present and present perfect forms on another page, and you'll find some useful links in that answer to help you.  It's good that you're asking questions to clarify grammar points you are not sure of, and I'm sure your questions and the answers they get are useful to other members of LearnEnglish.  However, please post your question on a related page (this page is about questions rather than present perfect or third-person forms) so they make sense to other users and are more useful.

Many thanks,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by hiwad on Thu, 18/07/2013 - 23:19

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hey every! one i have never seen a site like this i just started open this site and it made me to improve my English for Ielts this site is really good for me thanks alot form every one who worked on making of this site .

Submitted by naresh kalte on Thu, 04/07/2013 - 07:20

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I like this site. it's great

Submitted by Shahla Aminaei on Sun, 05/05/2013 - 10:14

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hello

I would like to know when to use "has" and "have" . when we are talking about a country. eg: 1. India have won the match. 2. India has won the match. Which statement is correct? Please illustrate with some more examples.

Hello Shahla Aminaie!

 

Countries are singular, so we usually use has. This is true when we are talking about general facts, as in Britian has a population of 60 million. 

 

In your example, though, in sentence 1, India means the Indian players or the Indian team. In this situation, we often use the plural form, because we often use the plural with team names:

India are through to the final.

You can read a little more about it on our page about problems with nouns, but both 1 and 2 are OK.

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Roka2010 on Thu, 25/04/2013 - 04:26

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I love this site really it's very useful

 

Hello Roka2010!

 

Great to hear you find the site useful! It's always good to know students find our work helpful.

 

Enjoy the rest of the site!

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Submitted by orgetasinollari on Fri, 08/03/2013 - 09:52

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