Subject and Object Questions

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Usually, when we ask a question, we want to know about the object of the answer: 'My purse' is the object of the answer and 'what' is the object of the question. (The subject of the question is 'you'.)

Here's another example: 'Lucy' is the object of the answer and 'who' is the object of the question.

When we usually learn about how to make a question, we learn about object questions, because they are the most common type of question. The normal rules that you learn about making questions, such as inverting the question word and the auxiliary verb, or adding 'do', 'does' or 'did', are all used in object questions.

However, sometimes we want to ask a question where the thing we want to know is actually the subject of the answer.

Here's an answer: We can ask about John, in a normal object question: But we can also ask about Lucy: 'Who kissed John?' is a subject question. We don't need to use inversion, or add 'did'. Instead, we just take out 'Lucy' from the answer (which is a normal sentence) and add 'who'. We generally make subject questions using 'who' or 'what'.

Let's have a look at some more examples: Try an exercise about subject and object questions here.