Unit 48. Questions (1)
We usually make questions by changing the word order: we put the first auxiliary verb (AV) before the subject (S):
|S + AV AV + S|
- Will Tom be here tomorrow?
- Have you been working hard?
- What can I do? (not ‘What I can do?’)
- When was the house built? (not ‘When was built the house?’)
In Present Simple questions, we use do/does:
- Do you live near here?
- What time does the film begin? (not ‘What time begins?’)
In Past Simple questions, we use did:
- Did you sell your car?
- How did the accident happen?
But do not use do/does/did in questions if who/what/which is the subject of the sentence.
In these examples, who/what/which is the subject:
- Who wants something to eat? (not ‘Who does want’)
- What happened to you last night? (not ‘What did happen’)
- Which bus goes to the city centre? (not ‘Which bus does go’)
Note the position of prepositions in questions beginning Who/What/Which/Where…?:
- Who do you want to speak to?
- Which job has Jane applied for?
- What was the weather like yesterday?
- Where do you come from?
Negative questions (isn't it…? / didn't you…?)
We use negative questions especially to show surprise:
- Didn't you hear the bell? I rang it four times.
or when we expect the listener to agree with us:
- ‘Haven't we met somewhere before?’ ‘Yes, I think we have.’
- Isn't it a beautiful day! (= It's a beautiful day, isn't it?)
Note the meaning of yes and no in answers to negative questions:
- Don't you want to go to the party?
- Yes. (= Yes, I want to go)
- No. (= No, I don't want to go)
Note the word order in negative questions beginning Why…?:
- Why don't we go out for a meal tonight? (not ‘Why we don't…’)
- Why wasn't Mary at work yesterday? (not ‘Why Mary wasn't…’)
See Unit 49 Questions (2) (Do you know where …? / She asked me where …)