Interrogative Mood

Interrogative mood is a form of verb that is used to ask questions. Now if you want to learn how to make questions correctly, read this article.

"Interrogative Mood" in the English Grammar

What Is Interrogative Mood?

The interrogative mood is a form of a verb that is used to ask questions.

Different Types of Interrogatives

Any question refers to the 'interrogative mood.' So, another word for questions is interrogatives. Interrogative clauses mostly function as questions, and they can be 'affirmative' or 'negative.' First, let's categorize questions based inversion:

  • Inversive questions
  • Non-inversive questions

Inversive Questions

Inversion is when we invert the normal word order of a sentence. For example, a statement has the subject before the verb, but to make question word order, we invert the subject and the verb, with an auxiliary or modal verb before the subject.

  1. Yes-No questions
  2. Wh-questions
  3. Tag questions (also called disjunctive questions)
  4. Alternative (also called 'choice') questions
  5. two-step questions (Pre-questions)
  6. follow-up questions
  7. Reduced wh-questions

Non-inversive Questions

Some questions are made only by a question mark at the end of the statement. This is rather informal and the question is said by intonation.

  • Wh-questions
  • statement questions
  • echo and checking questions

How to Make Yes-no Questions?

To make a 'yes-no question', first you have to put the 'auxiliary verb' at the beginning of the sentence. In other words, you have to change the place of the 'subject and the auxiliary verb.'

Do you stay for the night?

Remember to use a 'question mark,' at the end of the 'interrogative sentence.'

Does she still work there?

Can you open the door, please?

How to Make Wh-questions?

To make a wh-question you will need a wh-word. Who, whose, whom, what, which, how are called wh-words. These words can be:


You may wonder about the differences between determiners and pronouns and adverbs. Actually, wh-pronouns are used alone before verbs; it means you cannot use a noun after them. But wh-determiners are particularly used before nouns. Wh- adverbs can appear at the beginning of a clause.

To make 'wh-questions' we use a wh-word at the beginning of a sentence followed by a yes-no question. Do not forget to put a question mark at the end of the interrogative sentence.

What are you doing tonight?

Where do you spend your holiday ?

Reduced Wh-questions

Sometimes in informal situations, we reduce wh-questions. We do it, because we know that the listener know what we are talking about.

A : I need to go to the shop.

B : What for?

C : I'm going out tonight.

D : Who with?


'Tags' are another type of 'interrogative mood.' Tags are used when you are not sure whether the thing you are talking about is true or not. We have three types of tags:

  1. Question tags
  2. Imperative tags
  3. Universal tags

Question tags

You can use a special word order to make a mini-question at the end of a statement. In this case, you are trying to make sure whether you are right or not. 'Tag questions' are made of an auxiliary at the beginning and a pronoun afterward. Remember in tag questions, an affirmative sentence is followed by a negative tag, and a negative statement is followed by an affirmative tag. Here are some examples:

He is not mad at me, is he?

They have been married for five years, haven't they?

a sentence in the interrogative mood


You should always use the contracted form in negative tags.

Imperative Tags

'Imperative tags' are imperative statements that are followed by mini questions. In this case, you give orders in a more polite way. The auxiliary in this tag can be will, would, can, or could. Look at the examples:

Close the window, will you?

Calm down, can you?

Universal Tags

Sometimes we can use some words in English that can help us ask for approval in a very informal way. In this case, you use words such as yeah, no, right, yes. Remember, you use these words at the end of a statement to make a one-word question.

You will be there for me, right?

It has been a bad day, yeah?

Alternative Questions

'Alternative questions' are interrogatives that are concerned with the matter of choosing between two or more options. As you might know, you use some conjunctions to link the items to each other. Here, in this case, you use the conjunction 'or.' Check out the examples:

Do you like summer or winter?

Is he at home or not?

As you can see, we can make alternative questions by using 'or not' at the end of the interrogative clause. 'Alternative questions' are also known as, Nexus questions, closed questions, choice questions, either-or questions, or multiple-choice interrogatives. It is good to know that alternative interrogatives mostly end in falling intonation.

Rhetorical Questions

'Rhetorical questions' are interrogatives that require no answers. This is because the answers are obvious, the questioner knows the answers, the answer is not demanded, or they are used as an impressive persuasive element on a comment which was stated earlier. Remember that 'rhetorical questions' are used immediately after a comment that has just been stated.

Maybe he cheated on her, who knows?

Turn off the lights before you leave the house, ok?

Statement Questions

'Statement questions' are declarative sentences that act like questions. Usually, you are shocked about what you have heard earlier or you are shocked about the situation. 'Statement questions' can be either affirmative or negative statements. Remember, that you do not need an 'inversion' to create 'statement questions.'

You aren't at school?

Dad played basketball back then?

Remember, while making a declarative statement and a statement question you must be careful about the 'intonation.' Because the intonation is totally different.

Echo Questions

'Echo questions' as their name suggests are used to 'repeat' parts or all of something someone has just said; because we could not hear it all, we are surprised about what we have heard, or we cannot believe it. 'Echo questions' are usually 'declarative statements' with an interrogative word at the end. Sometimes we use the interrogative word at the beginning of the question to ask ourselves to remember a particular piece of information.

He started a new what?

Yes, a man called, what was his name, uh... Jack Damon.

Remember, while using an echo question you should use a rising intonation with an emphasis on the interrogative word.

Follow-up Questions

Sometimes people can shorten wh-questions when there has been a conversation made by the two earlier. That is because they both know what they are talking about. So making the question short, cannot cause any confusion. 'Follow-up' are used immediately after a statement that was declared by the person who is talking to the questioner.

'I have made my mind this time.' 'Have you?'

'I am going to use all my money.' 'What for?'

As you can see, sometimes 'follow-up' questions are not formed by interrogative words, and they are used to show that you are interested in something the speaker is talking about.

Two-Step Questions

You can ask two questions at the same time. In this case, we use 'two-step' questions. Usually, the first question makes us clear about what we are asking for and the second question gives options to the speaker to help them give more detail.

Are you going to Chicago? Is he there?

Did they cook? lasagna or pizza?

Yes/No Two-step Questions

Sometimes you ask two yes/no questions one after the other immediately. In this case, you usually know the answer to the first question and the answer to the second question is more specific.

Are you leaving tomorrow? Do you want me to be there for you?

Is he tired? Didn't he finished the project?

Two-step Questions Suggest the Answer

This is what we have just mentioned earlier in this article. Sometimes the second part of the 'two-step' questions gives the listener some options to limit the answers and give them a suggestion.

What is your birthday zodiac? Gemini or Leo?

What did you have for lunch? Chicken or fish?


'Pre-questions' are used before the main questions for permission to ask something. In this case, you sound more polite. By using the terms 'just' and 'please' you will be even more polite. Check the examples.

Can I just ask a question, please? Who is that man?

Do you mind if I ask something? Where is your daughter, now?

Ellipsis in Questions

In spoken English, we can shorten questions rather than use complete clauses. Short questions can be clauses, phrases, or even single words:

You tired? or tired? (instead of saying 'Are you tired?')

This your purse? (instead of 'Is this your purse?')

Indirect Questions

'Indirect questions' are not asked directly from the listener. They can imply a yes/no question and convey a sense of politeness to ask something. And sometimes they are used to ask a reported wh-question. 'Indirect questions' are made of a reporting clause and a reported question which is not made of any inversion.

He asked if I was going to New York.

They wondered who cleaned the store.


Interrogative sentences are used to ask questions. There are disparate interrogative sentences in English. Learning them would help you ask polite questions. Here are the different types of interrogative statements.

  1. Yes-No questions
  2. Wh-questions
  3. Tag(also called disjunctive) questions
  4. Alternative (also called 'choice') questions
  5. Rhetorical questions
  6. Statement questions
  7. Echo (also called checking) questions
  8. Negative questions
  9. Follow-up questions
  10. Two-step questions
  11. Indirect (also called 'embedded') questions


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