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Subject Object Questions in English

1. Subject questions

When we want to know the person or thing who performed the verb we need to ask about the subject.

This type of question is called a subject question, and subject questions do NOT use the auxiliary verbs do, does, and did.

Question word Verb Rest Subject Verb Rest
Who lives in that house? Susan lives in that house.
What happened to you? I had an accident.

2. Object questions

Most questions in English are object questions – we want to know about the receiver of the action. 

For questions in the simple present, the auxiliary verbs are do and does: 

Question word Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Answer
Who do you love?   I love my wife.
Who did John phone last night? John phoned his wife.
What does he do?   He works in a bank.

Mind the difference in meaning in the following two questions:

Subject question Object question
Who phoned Susan? Who did Susan phone?