Questions can be a little difficult in English. The first thing to remember is that there are two main kinds, 'yes / no' and 'wh':
The 'yes / no' kind need the answer 'yes' or 'no'.
- Do you like chocolate?
- Is he from India?
- Have you been to Japan?
A 'wh' one needs more information in the answer. It uses a question word like 'where', 'why', 'how' etc.
- Where do you live?
- What did she do yesterday?
- Where is the station?
They are made in three different ways in English grammar depending on the verb tense:
We change the position (or 'invert') the verb and the subject. |
This is used for the present simple and the past simple of 'be' and for modal verbs
We add an extra word, like 'do / does' or 'did'.|
This is used for the past simple and the present simple of all other English verbs (not 'be').
We change the position of the first auxiliary verb and the subject. |
This is for all other tenses, for example the present perfect, the present continuous or the future perfect continuous.
To make the 'wh' kind, just put the question word in front of any 'yes / no' question: Is he coming ('yes / no') becomes When is he coming? ('wh')
Here is a summary of the tenses and their interrogative forms (click on each tense for more information):
Yes / No:
|Present simple 'be'||Are you hungry?|
|Present simple other verbs||Do you like ice cream?|
|Present continuous||Are you coming to the party?|
|Past simple 'be'||Were you at home yesterday?|
|Past simple other verbs||Did you go out last night?|
|Past continuous||Were you watching TV at 8 last night?|
|Present perfect||Have you eaten?|
|Present perfect continuous||Have you been working hard?|
|Past perfect||Had you slept?|
|Past perfect continuous||Had you been running?|
|Future simple||Will you come?|
|Future continuous||Will you be coming?|
|Future perfect||Will you have finished at 6?|
|Future perfect continuous||Will you have been working?|
|Modals||Can you swim?|
|Modals||Must you leave?|
|Present simple 'be'||Who are you?|
|Present simple other verbs||Where do you play tennis?|
|Present continuous||When are you coming to the party?|
|Past simple 'be'||Where were you last night?|
|Past simple other verbs||How did you do it?|
|Past continuous||What were you doing when I called you?|
|Present perfect||What have you eaten?|
|Present perfect continuous||Where have you been working hard?|
|Past perfect||What had you eaten?|
|Past perfect continuous||Why had you been working hard?|
|Future simple||Who will you meet?|
|Future continuous||Why will you be sleeping?|
|Future perfect||When will you have finished?|
|Future perfect continuous||What will you have been doing?|
|Modals||Where can we swim?|
|Modals||Why must you leave?|
Try some exercises about questions here:
- Present Simple with 'be' (yes / no)
- Present Simple with 'be' ('wh')
- Present Simple other verbs (yes / no)
- Present Simple other verbs ('wh')
- Present Continuous Exercise 1 (yes / no and 'wh')
- Present Continuous Exercise 2 (yes / no and 'wh')
- Present Perfect (yes / no and 'wh')
- Present Perfect Continuous (yes / no and 'wh')
- Past Simple with 'be' (yes / no and 'wh')
- Past Simple other verbs (yes / no)
- Past Simple other verbs ('wh')
- Past Continuous (yes / no and 'wh')
- Past Perfect (yes / no and 'wh')
Click here for information about tag questions.
Click here for information about subject questions.
Click here for information about indirect questions.