Word Order in English Questions

1. Questions without question words and be

Subject and verb change their position in statement and question.

  • Sentence: You are English.
  • Question: Are you English?

We always use the short answer, not only Yes or No. That’s why questions without question words are also called YES/NO-questions.

2. Questions with question words and be

Question wordVerbSubjectRestAnswer
Whereareyoufrom?I am from England.
I‘m from England.
Whatisyour name? My name is John.
Howareyou? I am fine.
I’m fine.

Questions with question words are also called WH-questions.

3. Questions without question words and have

AuxiliarySubjectVerbRestYes/NoSubjectAuxiliary (+ n’t)
Haveyougota sister?Yes,Ihave.
Haveyougota ball?No,wehaven’t.
Hasyour sistergota car?Yes,shehas.
Doyouhavea sister?Yes,Ido.
Doyouhavea ball?No,wedon’t.
Doesyour sisterhavea car?Yes,shedoes.

4. Questions with question words and have

Question wordAuxiliarySubjectVerbRestAnswer
Whathaveyougotin your hand?I‘ve got a sweet.
Whatdoyouhavein your hand?I‘ve got a sweet.

5. Questions without question words in the Simple Present

AuxiliarySubjectVerbRestYes/NoSubjectAuxiliary (+ n’t)
Doyoulikefootball?Yes,
No,
I
I
do.
don’t.
DoesSusanplaytennis?Yes,shedoes.

6. Questions with question words in the Simple Present

Question wordAuxiliarySubjectVerbRestAnswer
Wheredoyouwork? I work in a bank.
Whatdoesyour sisterdoat the weekend?She goes dancing.

7. Questions without question words in the Simple Past

AuxiliarySubjectVerbRestYes/NoSubjectAuxiliary (+ n’t)
DidPeterplaychess?Yes,
No,
he
he
did.
didn’t.

BUT:

to beSubjectRestYes/NoSubjectAuxiliary (+ n’t)
Wereyouin London last month?Yes,
No,
I
I
was.
wasn’t.

8. Questions with question words in the Simple Past

Question wordAuxiliarySubjectVerbRestAnswer
Whatdidyoudolast night?I watched television.

BUT:

Question wordto beSubjectRestAnswer
Wherewereyoulast night?I was at home.

9. Subject question

Question wordVerbRestSubjectVerbRest
Wholivesin that house?Susanlivesin that house.
Whathappenedto you?Ihadan accident.

10. Object question

Question wordAuxiliarySubjectVerbRestAnswer
Whodoyoulove? I love my wife.
WhodidJohnphonelast night?John phoned his wife.

Mind the difference in meaning in the following two questions:

Subject questionObject question
Who phoned John?Who did John phone?