Questions for intermediate learners

In English, there are different types of questions. In this lesson, you will get to know them briefly and see some examples for each type. Are you ready?

"Questions" in the English Grammar

What Are Questions?

Questions are sentences or phrases that are used to ask for information or clarification about something. Questions allow us to gather information, express curiosity, and engage in conversation.

Questions: Types

Questions can be classified into different types based on their structure and purpose. Some common types of questions include:

Now, we are going to learn about some of them below.

Yes/No questions

As their name suggests, when we want a short 'yes', or 'no' answer, we use 'yes/no questions'. If we have an auxiliary verb such as 'be', 'do', or 'have', we use them to form the questions. Notice how the place of the verb and the subject changes. Look:

She is washing the dishes. → Is she washing the dishes?

I have two cats. → Do you have two cats?

Rita has gotten in the car. → Has Rita gotten in the car?


Please note that when 'have' is the main verb, we use 'do' to form a 'yes/no question'. We only use 'have' to form 'yes/no questions' when it is part of the perfect tenses. Look:

The customers have complained about the quality of food. → Have the customers complained about the quality of food?

I have a lot of work to do. → Do you have a lot of work to do?

Here, 'have' is the main verb of the sentence. So, 'do' is used as an auxiliary to form the question.

If we have a modal verb in the sentence, the 'yes/no question' should be formed using the modal verb, not the main verb. For example:

I should practice the guitar everyday. → Should I practice the guitar everyday?

Martha can study and listen to music at the same time. → Can Martha study and listen to the music at the same time?


'Wh-questions' are formed using words like 'what', 'which', 'who', 'how', 'where', 'when', 'whom', 'whose', and 'why'. They are used to ask for information and cannot be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Look at the following examples for more clarification:

What are you doing Anna?

Where is mom going, Brad?

Why is that boy crying?

Alternative Questions

Alternative questions, also called 'choice' questions, are used when we want the listener to choose between two options. In this type of question, we commonly use the coordinating conjunction 'or'. Look at the following examples:

Are you going to leave or stay a bit more?

Has the teacher cancelled her class or have the students not come?

Negative Questions

When we want to ask a negative question, we can use the full or contracted negative forms. If we are using the contracted form, the negative verb comes at the beginning. However, if we are using the uncontracted form, 'not' is placed after the subject. Look at the following examples:

Do you feel like getting some fresh air? → Do you not feel like getting some fresh air?

Here, both forms are correct.

Do you feel like getting some fresh air? → Don't you feel like getting some fresh air?

Is Richie coming to the party? → Is Richie not coming to the party?

Is Richie coming to the party? → Isn't Richie coming to the party?


Keep in mind that a question mark must always be used at the end of a question.


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