Questions: yes-no questions (Are you feeling cold?)
Questions that need either a yes or a no answer are called yes-no questions:
Do you like vanilla ice cream? (answer: yes or no)
Have you ever seen a ghost? (answer: yes or no)
Forming yes-no questions
With an auxiliary verb
We form yes-no questions with an auxiliary verb (be, do or have) + subject + main verb or with a modal verb + subject + main verb:
Where there is no auxiliary verb be, have or modal verb already present in the statement, we use the auxiliary do, does, did:
Statement form (no auxiliary)
You usually walk to work.
Do you usually walk to work?
You liked disco music in the 70s.
Did you like disco music in the 70s?
We don’t use an auxiliary verb when we use be as a main verb:
Is she your sister?
Does she be your sister?
When there is more than one auxiliary verb or a modal verb plus auxiliary verb(s), we only put the first auxiliary or the modal verb before the subject and the others after the subject:
Auxiliary + subject + auxiliary + verb
Is this phone call being recorded?
Is being this phone call recorded?or Is being recorded this phone call?
Auxiliary + subject + auxiliary + verb
Has the garden been looked after while you were away?
Has been the garden looked after while you were away?or Has been looked after the garden while you were away?
Modal + subject + auxiliary + auxiliary + verb
Should we have been writing this down?
Should have we been writing this down?
We only put auxiliary and modal verbs, not main verbs, before the subject:
Where did you find the keys?
Where did find you the keys?
Without an auxiliary verb
When we ask yes-no questions using the main verb be, we don’t use an auxiliary verb. The word order is: be + subject:
Is the weather nice in Turkey in the winter?
Was she angry when you told her about the accident?
When we ask yes-no questions with the main verb have, we can also use the word order verb + subject, but it sounds rather formal. We use have got and do as more neutral or informal alternatives:
Have you an identity card? (formal)
Do you have an identity card? (neutral)
Have you got an identity card? (informal)
When we ask questions with the main verb have in the past to refer to possession, we use did … have rather than had … got:
Did you have your glasses with you when you left the car?
Had you got your glasses with you when you left the car? (less common)
Responding to yes-no questions
Other ways of saying yes and no include yeah, yep, mm, okay, and nah, nope. These are informal:
Would you like to play tennis with me later?B:
Okay. (meaning yes)
Have you seen Greg?B:
Nope. (meaning no)
We can also give more than just a yes or no answer. We sometimes add more information:
Can I grow potatoes in a pot?B:
Yeah. They grow really well in pots.
Will you be going to Ryan’s party?B:
No. I’m actually going to be away on Friday night.
Sometimes we don’t use yes or no as a reply but the answer that we give means yes or no:
Do you know Tina Gomez?B:
We’ve known each other for years. We went to the same school. (meaning yes)
Do you have the Thrills latest album?B:
I’m afraid we’ve just sold the last one! (meaning no)
We sometimes respond using the auxiliary verb from the question instead of yes and no:
Hey Tim, did you go fishing today?B:
I did. I went with the boys.
Has Jason had breakfast?B:
He hasn’t. He’s still in bed.
Negative yes-no questions
We usually use negative yes-no questions to check or confirm something we believe or expect to be the case, or when we consider that something is the best thing to do:
Isn’t that Pauline’s car? (I’m pretty sure that this is correct. I’m asking for confirmation.)
Shouldn’t we be leaving? (I think that we should leave now.)
We form negative yes-no questions with not. We usually use the contraction n’t. If we use not in its full form, the question sounds very formal:
Isn’t that the oldest building on this street?
When using the full form not, the order auxiliary + subject (s) + not is more common than auxiliary + not + subject:
[AUX][s]Is that [not]not the oldest building in this street? (formal) (preferred to [the very formal] Is not that the oldest building on this street?)
We can use negative yes-no questions to make invitations, offers and complaints stronger:
Won’t you stay for dinner? (invitation; stronger than Will you stay for dinner?)
Wouldn’t you like another coffee? (offer; stronger than Would you like another coffee?)
Can’t the manager do something about the noise? (complaint; stronger than Can the manager do something about the noise?)
Intonation and yes-no questions
The intonation of yes-no questions is normally either rising [ri↗sing arrow] or fall-rising [dow↘n u↗p arrow] intonation depending on the meaning. If we do not know the answer, we use rising intonation. If we more or less know the answer and are looking for confirmation, we use fall-rising intonation:
Are you w↗arm enough?
Did you once li↘ve in Ir↗eland? (I think the answer is yes.)
We often use fall-rising intonation with yes-no questions when asking a number of questions together:
You’re living i↘n B↗ayswater? [Question 1]B:
Yeah. That’s right.A:
Are you rentin↘g you↗r house? [Question 2]B:
Yeah, we are.A:
Is it exp↘ensi↗ve? [Question 3]B:
It’s not very expensive for somewhere so near the city centre.
(“Questions: yes-no questions ( Are you feeling cold? )” aus English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
- Adjectives and adverbs
Easily confused words
- Above or over?
- Across, over or through?
- Advice or advise?
- Affect or effect?
- All or every?
- All or whole?
- Allow, permit or let?
- Almost or nearly?
- Alone, lonely, or lonesome?
- Along or alongside?
- Already, still or yet?
- Also, as well or too?
- Alternate(ly), alternative(ly)
- Although or though?
- Altogether or all together?
- Amount of, number of or quantity of?
- Any more or anymore?
- Anyone, anybody or anything?
- Apart from or except for?
- Arise or rise?
- Around or round?
- Arouse or rouse?
- As or like?
- As, because or since?
- As, when or while?
- Been or gone?
- Begin or start?
- Beside or besides?
- Between or among?
- Born or borne?
- Bring, take and fetch
- Can, could or may?
- Classic or classical?
- Come or go?
- Consider or regard?
- Consist, comprise or compose?
- Content or contents?
- Different from, different to or different than?
- Do or make?
- Down, downwards or downward?
- During or for?
- Each or every?
- East or eastern; north or northern?
- Economic or economical?
- Efficient or effective?
- Elder, eldest or older, oldest?
- End or finish?
- Especially or specially?
- Every one or everyone?
- Except or except for?
- Expect, hope or wait?
- Experience or experiment?
- Fall or fall down?
- Far or a long way?
- Farther, farthest or further, furthest?
- Fast, quick or quickly?
- Fell or felt?
- Female or feminine; male or masculine?
- Finally, at last, lastly or in the end?
- First, firstly or at first?
- Fit or suit?
- Following or the following?
- For or since?
- Forget or leave?
- Full or filled?
- Fun or funny?
- Get or go?
- Grateful or thankful?
- Hear or listen (to)?
- High or tall?
- Historic or historical?
- House or home?
- How is …? or What is … like?
- If or when?
- If or whether?
- Ill or sick?
- Imply or infer?
- In the way or on the way?
- It’s or its?
- Late or lately?
- Lay or lie?
- Lend or borrow?
- Less or fewer?
- Look at, see or watch?
- Low or short?
- Man, mankind or people?
- Maybe or may be?
- Maybe or perhaps?
- Nearest or next?
- Never or not … ever?
- Nice or sympathetic?
- No doubt or without doubt?
- No or not?
- Nowadays, these days or today?
- Open or opened?
- Opportunity or possibility?
- Opposite or in front of?
- Other, others, the other or another?
- Out or out of?
- Permit or permission?
- Person, persons or people?
- Pick or pick up?
- Play or game?
- Politics, political, politician or policy?
- Price or prize?
- Principal or principle?
- Quiet or quite?
- Raise or rise?
- Remember or remind?
- Right or rightly?
- Rob or steal?
- Say or tell?
- So that or in order that?
- Sometimes or sometime?
- Sound or noise?
- Speak or talk?
- Such or so?
- There, their or they’re?
- Towards or toward?
- Wait or wait for?
- Wake, wake up or awaken?
- Worth or worthwhile?
- Nouns, pronouns and determiners
Prepositions and particles
- Among and amongst
- At, in and to (movement)
- At, on and in (place)
- At, on and in (time)
- Beneath: meaning and use
- By + myself etc.
- For + -ing
- In front of
- In spite of and despite
- In, into
- Near and near to
- On, onto
- Prepositional phrases
Words, sentences and clauses
- about words, clauses and sentences
- as and as expressions
- comparing and contrasting
- conditionals and wishes
- linking words and expressions
questions and negative sentences
- Neither, neither … nor and not … either
- Questions: alternative questions (Is it black or grey?)
- Questions: statement questions (you’re over 18?)
- Questions: two-step questions
- Questions: typical errors
- Questions: wh-questions
- Questions: yes-no questions (Are you feeling cold?)
- relative clauses
- reported speech
- so and such
- word formation
- word order and focus
- Using English
Das Wort des Tages
able to deal successfully with dangerous or difficult situations in big towns or cities where there is a lot of crime