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Asking Questions in English

Asking questions in English isn’t too difficult once you get the hang of it. As with any language, there are several ways to ask questions. If you learn those, you’ll have much more complex conversations in no time.

The easiest way to ask a question is with intonation (the pitch or sound of your voice). That simply means making your voice a bit higher at the end of a sentence. Listen for an example.


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While using intonation is the easiest way, it can become repetitive and doesn’t sound as good as the other ways.

 


The next way to ask a question in English is to invert a sentence (switch the subject and the verb). This is a great way to ask questions, but you must use a "to be" verb (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been) or a helping verb (could, would, should, have, must, etc.).

 

This is really hard. --- Is this really hard?

You are sad. --- Are you sad?

Monday was terrible. --- Was Monday terrible?

You can help me. --- Can you help me?

The final method is more complex, but it is also the most flexible and allows for the most details. I’ll help you remember by giving you the acronym QUASM.

 

QU estion word

A uxiliary verb

S ubject

M ain verb

 

Present Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB  
Where do you exercise?  
Why does Jennifer fight with you?
How  are you feeling  
Who do you love?  

 

 

Past Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB  
Where did you exercise?  
Why did Jennifer fight with you?
How  were you feeling?  
Who did you love?  

 

 

Future Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB  
Where will you travel?  
Why won't  they be able to come?
How  will Santa fit in the chimney?
Who will you ask on a date?

 

 

Present Continuous Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB  
Where are you going?  
Why is Alex smiling?  
How  are you feeling?  
When is the party happening this month?

 

 

Past Continuous Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB  
Where were  they going?  
Why was he lying to me?
How  were people swimming in that cold water?
Who was she cooking with?

 

 

Modal (conditional) Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB  
Where would you fly if you had a free ticket?
When could I visit visit you?
How  should I contact you?
Why wouldn't  you help?  

 

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