There are many types of questions in English. The easiest are questions that can be answered “yes” or “no.”
A: Are you from around here?
B: Yes, I am. A: Do you come here often?
B: Yes, I do. A: Can I buy you a drink?
B: No, thanks. A: Are you married?
B: Yes, I am.
To form a question from a statement, first count the number of verbs.
|John is a doctor.||One verb: is (be)|
|Jane drives a sports car.||One verb: drives|
|Joan played basketball last night.||One verb: played|
|Jan is eating her dinner.||Two verbs: is eating|
|June has rented an apartment.||Two verbs: has rented|
|Jen has been living there since 1969.||Three verbs: has been living|
If there is one verb in the statement and the verb is a form of be, simply switch the positions of the subject and verb.
|John is a doctor.||Is John a doctor?|
|The Jensens are here.||Are the Jensens here?|
If there are two verbs, simply switch the positions of the subject and first verb.
|Jan is eating dinner.||Is Jan eating dinner?|
|June has rented an apartment.||Has June rented an apartment?|
|Jen has been living here since 1969.||Has Jen been living here since 1969?|
If there is one verb, and the verb is not a form of be, the process is more complex.
1. Add Do to the beginning of the sentence.
|The Johnsons live in that house.||Do the Johnsons live in that house?|
2. If the main verb “carries” a third person singular s, move the s to Do, making it Does.
|Jane drives a car.||Do Jane drives a car? (Not finished yet!)|
|Does Jane drive a car? (Good question!)|
3. If the main verb “carries” past tense, move the past tense to Do, making it Did.
|Joan played basketball last night.||Do Joan played basketball? (Not finished yet!)|
|Did Joan play basketball? (Good question!)|
In conversation, most questions are asked of the second person (you) and answered in the first (I).
A: Are you from California?
B: No, I’m from Oregon. Are you?
A: Yes, I’m from Hollywood.
B: Do you know any movie stars?
A: No, I don’t go out at night.
In British English, the main verb have sometimes functions like be in questions. This is not common in American English.
|You have a pet ferret.||Have you a pet ferret? (British)|
|Do you have a pet ferret? (American)|