Lesson 9: MAKING QUESTIONS

Question formation is usually different from the formation of statements. We either change the word order or use do.

With be (Lesson 16)

Put the verb before the subject.

[S]:STATEMENT, [Q]:QUESTION

[S] They are French.
[Q] Are they French?

[S] His father's name is Patrick.
[Q] What is his father's name?

With one-word verb formations

Put the correct form of the verb do before the subject.

Present tense: 3rd person singular (Lesson 2)

[S] She works in a bank.
[Q] Does she work in a bank?

Present tense: all other persons

[S] They live near the airport.
[Q] Where do they live?

Past tense:
[S] They left last week.
[Q] When did they leave?

NOTICE: After do, use only the base form of the verb.
We say:
Does he work? NOT does he works
Did she go? NOT did she goes

NOTICE: Do can also be the lexical verb (Lesson 3) of a sentence. For example:
We say:
What do you do?
What does he do?
What did she do?

With other verb formations

Put the first word (only) of the verb before the subject.

[S] They are watching television.
[Q] Are they watching television?

[S] I can see the plane.
[Q] Can you see the plane?

[S] She has gone to England to study.
[Q] Why has she gone to England?

[S] The new airport will be built here.
[Q] Where will the new airport be built?

[S] It has been snowing for two hours.
[Q] How long has it been snowing?

NOTICE: It does not matter how many words there are in the subject. One word of the verb always goes before it.
We say:
Do the people who live on the corner have another house?
When will the new terminal for the Toronto Airport be finished?

BUT if the question word is also the subject, we do not put anything before it (Lesson 10).

Word agreement

We normally use 'negative words' (Lesson 5) with questions:

Have you got any money?
NOT some

Have you finished yet?
NOT already

But if we think or hope that the answer to the question will be yes, we can use 'affirmative words':

Have you got some money?
You are my friend, and I want to borrow some from you.

Have you finished already?
It seems to me that you are finished, but this surprises me.

It is better to ask Would you like some coffee? Because we hope the answer will be yes. It is friendly.

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