Easy Learning

The interrogative - Easy Learning Grammar

The interrogative is normal for many questions. It contains a verb phrase that is followed by a subject.There are two main types of question: those that can be answered yes or no, and those that have to be answered with a specific piece of information or a sentence such as I don’t know. Each type of question has its own special word order.

Yes/no questions

Questions that expect the answer yes or no are called yes/no questions or sometimes, polar questions.The interrogative is used to form yes/no questions.The normal sentence order for the interrogative is:   modal/auxiliary verb + subject + base form of the main verb.
  • Were the dogs barking?
  • Have you been dieting?
  • Can Mahmoud come too?
  • Must you go so soon?
  • Would you like a chocolate?
When a sentence does not contain a modal verb or an auxiliary verb, the question is formed by placing a form of the supporting auxiliary verb do before the subject and following it with the base form of the main verb.
  • Does he enjoy tennis?
  • Do they play a lot?
  • Did that surprise his mum?
Yes/no questions also have a negative form. Negative yes/no questions are almost always contracted. The negative in its contracted form n’t comes immediately before the subject.
  • Doesn’t he like talking about his childhood?
  • Can’t Peter have one too?
  • Don’t you speak French?
  • Wouldn’t you like to know a bit more about this?
If the full negative form not is used, it comes immediately after the subject. The full form is very formal.
  • Does he not like talking about his childhood?
  • Do you not want to know what it was about?
  • Can Peter not have one too?

WH- questions

When you want to get a detailed answer, not just yes or no, you must use a WH- question (or ‘non-polar’ question), which allows for many possible answers. The words who, whom, whose, what, which, when, where, why, and how are used to form this sort of question. These words are referred to as WH- words. See WH- words.
  • Yes/no:
  • Did you ring the school? – Yes, I did.
  • Was she all right in the end? – No/I don’t know.
  • Have you seen Ali yet? – Yes, I have.
  • WH-:
  • Who was that man? – He’s my geography teacher.
  • What did he say when you told him the news? – He was too surprised to say anything.
  • When did you see Ali? – Last Wednesday.
    Where is Peter going? – To work.
  • When did they arrive? – Yesterday.
  • Why have you stopped going running? – The doctor told me to.

See related content

NEW from Collins!
NEW from Collins!
English Word Lists
English Word Lists
Latest Word Submissions
Latest Word Submissions
Easy Learning English Grammar
Easy Learning English Grammar
COBUILD Grammar Patterns
COBUILD Grammar Patterns
Word Lover's Blog
Word Lover's Blog
Online Scrabble Checker
Online Scrabble Checker
The Paul Noble Method
The Paul Noble Method
Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content
Register now or login in to access