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Questions

A statement is a sentence that tells you something. A question is a sentence that asks you something. A statement does not require an answer. A question requires an answer.

statement: I like EnglishClub.  
question: Do you like EnglishClub? Yes
Why do you like EnglishClub? Because...

A written question in English always ends with a question mark: ?

Question Structure

The basic structure of a question is:

auxiliary verb + subject + main verb

Look at these example sentences. They all have the auxiliary verb before the subject:

  auxiliary verb subject main verb  
  Do you like Mary?
  Are they playing football?
  Will Anthony go to Tokyo?
  Did he leave early?
Why did he leave early?
When will he return?  

Exception! For the main verb be in Present Simple and Past Simple, there is no auxiliary verb. Look at these example sentences. They all have the main verb before the subject:

  main verb be subject  
  Am I wrong?
  Are they Thai?
  Was it hot outside?
Why were you late?
Questions are also known as "interrogatives".

Question Types

There are three basic question types:

We look at these in more detail below.

Yes/No questions

Sometimes the only answer that we need is yes or no. Look at these examples:

auxiliary verb subject not main verb   answer:
yes or no
Do you   want dinner? Yes, I do.
Can you   drive?   No, I can't.
Has she not finished her work? Yes, she has.
Did they   go home? No, they didn't.

Exception! Main verb be in Present Simple and Past Simple:

main verb be subject  
Is Anne French?
Was Ram at home?

Question-word questions

Sometimes we want more than yes or no for an answer. When asking for information, we usually place a question-word at the beginning of the sentence. The question-word indicates the information that we want, for example: where (place), when (time), why (reason), who (person). Look at these examples:

question word auxiliary verb not subject main verb   answer:
information
Where do   you live?   In Paris.
When will   we have lunch? At 1pm.
Why has n't Tara done it? Because she can't.
Who(m) did   she meet?   She met Ram.
Who* has     run out? Ati has run out.
Who**       ran out? Ati ran out.
*When the question-word is who, it acts as the subject.
**In Present Simple and Past Simple tenses, there is no auxilary verb with who.

Exception. Main verb be in Present Simple and Past Simple:

question word main verb be subject
Where is Bombay?
How was she?

Choice questions

Sometimes we give our listener a choice. We ask them to choose between two possible answers. So their answer is (usually) already in the question. Look at these examples:

auxiliary verb subject main verb   or   answer:
in question
Do you want tea or coffee? Coffee, please.
Will we meet John or James? John.

Exception. Main verb be in Present Simple and Past Simple:

main verb be subject   OR  
Is your car white or black?
Were they $15 or $50?
These pages show the three basic types of question. There are other types of question, for example tag questions.