Grammar: Questions

 

a) Questions

 

Question words:

What
 
Qué
Where
 
Dónde
When
 
Cuándo
Why
 
Por qué
Who
 
Quién
How
 
Cómo

 

 

Formation of questions using question words:

Question word + auxiliary verb + subject + bare infinitive (without to)

Examples:

  • What do you eat for breakfast?
  • Where do they live?
  • Why do we need to go to school?
  • Why does he play football?

 

The auxiliary "do / does" changes to "did" when asking a question in the past.

  • Where did you live?

 

We do not use the auxiliary "do / does / did" in questions if "who / what / which" is the subject of the sentence.

 

Who - object
Who - subject
 
 
Amanda spoke to somebody
Somebody spoke to Amanda
 
  • Who did Amanda speak to?
  • Who spoke to Amanda?
 

We use "who" when we are referring to people. We use "what" or which when we are referring to things or places.

 

More examples with "who / what / which" as the subject:

  • Who wants to play tennis? (Not - who does want)
  • Which computer is the best? (Not - which computer does be)

 

Questions without question words:

We usually make a question by changing the word order in a sentence. We put the first auxiliary verb before the subject:

Sentence: We will go swimming tomorrow

Question: Will we go swimming tomorrow?

Sentence: I have been working hard

Question: Have you been working hard?

 

b) Answering questions

When answering a question you usually use the bare infinitive:

  • Where do you live? I live in London
  • Do you have any brothers or sisters? Yes, I have one brother

However, when the question does not require any specific information and a simple yes or no answer, we use the auxiliary verb as the answer.

  • Does he enjoy his job? Yes, he does
  • Do you play the trumpet? Yes, I do
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