Making Questions in English

Thor May

Exams : Our job this semester is learning to ask questions. If you can make questions, you will pass the exam. If you cannot make questions, you will fail the exam. Learn the rules below !!

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1. Modal and Auxiliary Verbs

You must use a modal or auxiliary verb to make most questions in English.

You also need a modal or auxiliary verb to make negatives in English (i.e. a sentence with NOT).

 

AUXILIARY VERBS :

BE (is, am, are, was, were, be, [is being, has been]*) (note : []* the auxiliary in these sentences is 'is' and 'has' )

DO (do, does, did, [is doing, has done]*)

HAVE (have, has, had)

 

MODAL VERBS

 

CAN, COULD, WILL, WOULD, SHALL, SHOULD, OUGHT TO, MAY, MIGHT, MUST, HAVE TO, NEED TO

 

2. Yes/No Questions

a) add a modal or auxilliary verb to a sentence, if it does not have one.

He can play the piano. => He can play the piano. ( No change : it already has a modal verb).
He likes ice cream. => **He do/will/should/might... likes ice cream.

b) If the verb has an 's', move the 's' to the modal or auxiliary verb. [He/she/it/the man/Bill .. eats ]

**He do likes ice cream => He does like ice cream.

c) move the modal or auxiliary verb to the front of the Subject.

Can he play the piano? // Does he like ice cream ?

3. WH-Questions

 

a) Question words : WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW, WHY, WHO, WHOSE, WHICH

These words are always at the front of the sentence.

 

b) Subject Questions

Just replace the Subject information you are questioning with a WH-word :

The red car won the race. => Which/what car won the race?

Ticket number 1287 won the prize. => Which/what ticket won the prize ?

 

c) Object Questions

Step 1 : Make a Yes/No question. ( He likes ice cream. => Does he like ice cream?)

Step 2 : Add a WH-word to the front of the Yes/No question.

Does he like ice cream? => Why does he like ice cream?


"Making Questions in English  " copyrighted to Thor May; all rights reserved 2006

 

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