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 word Verb Subject Rest Answer
Where are you from? I am from England.
I‘m from England.
What is your name?   My name is John.
How are you?   I am fine.
I’m fine.

Questions with question words are also called WH-questions.

3. Questions without question words and have

Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Yes/No Subject Auxiliary (+ n’t)
Have you got a sister? Yes, I have.
Have you got a ball? No, we haven’t.
Has your sister got a car? Yes, she has.
Do you have a sister? Yes, I do.
Do you have a ball? No, we don’t.
Does your sister have a car? Yes, she does.

4. Questions with question words and have

Question word Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Answer
What have you got in your hand? I‘ve got a sweet.
What do you have in your hand? I‘ve got a sweet.

5. Questions without question words in the Simple Present

Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Yes/No Subject Auxiliary (+ n’t)
Do you like football? Yes,
No,
I
I
do.
don’t.
Does Susan play tennis? Yes, she does.

6. Questions with question words in the Simple Present

Question word Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Answer
Where do you work?   I work in a bank.
What does your sister do at the weekend? She goes dancing.

7. Questions without question words in the Simple Past

Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Yes/No Subject Auxiliary (+ n’t)
Did Peter play chess? Yes,
No,
he
he
did.
didn’t.

BUT:

to be Subject Rest Yes/No Subject Auxiliary (+ n’t)
Were you in London last month? Yes,
No,
I
I
was.
wasn’t.

8. Questions with question words in the Simple Past

Question word Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Answer
What did you do last night? I watched television.

BUT:

Question word to be Subject Rest Answer
Where were you last night? I was at home.

9. Subject question

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.

10. Object question

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.

Mind the difference in meaning in the following two questions:

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