Friday, 4 December 2009

Making questions

The basic rule for asking questions in English is straightforward: Invert the order of the subject and the first auxiliary verb.

•It is snowing. = Is it snowing?
•He can speak German. = Can he speak German?
•They have lived here a long time. = Have they lived here a long time?
•She will arrive at ten o'clock. = Will she arrive at ten o'clock?
•He was driving fast. = Was he driving fast?
•You have been smoking. = Have you been smoking?

If there is no auxiliary, use part of the verb 'to do'.

•You speak fluent French. = Do you speak fluent French?
•She lives in Brussels. = Does she live in Brussels?
•They lived in Manchester. = Did they live in Manchester?
•He had an accident. = Did he have an accident?

Most questions with question words are made in the same way:

•How often does she use it?
•Why don't you come?
•Where do you work?
•How many did you buy?
•What time did you go?
•Which one do you like?
•Whose car were you driving?

Note who, what and which can be the subject. Compare:

•Who is coming to lunch? (who is the subject of the verb)
•Who do you want to invite to lunch? (you is the subject of the verb)
•What happened? (what is the subject of the verb)
•What did you do? (you is the subject of the verb)

Note the position of the prepositions in these questions:

•Who did you speak to?
•What are you looking at?
•Where does he come from?

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