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 grammatical form of the verb that is used to ask questions. In the interrogative mood, the verb is used to ask for information or clarification from the listener.

Interrogatives: Types

Any sentence that asks a question is in the interrogative mood, and questions can be referred to as interrogatives. Interrogative clauses are typically used to ask questions and can be either affirmative or negative in nature.
Questions can also be categorized based on their word order or inversion:

  • Inverted questions
  • Non-inverted questions

Inverted Questions

Inversion is a grammatical technique used to form questions by inverting the normal word order of a sentence. In English, the normal sentence order is subject-verb-object (SVO), where the subject typically comes before the verb. However, in interrogative sentences, we often invert the position of the subject and the auxiliary verb, with the auxiliary verb coming before the subject. The following types of question are formed by inverting word order of the sentence:

  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-inverted Questions

In some cases, a question can be formed simply by placing a question mark at the end of a statement. This is rather informal and the interrogative mood of the sentence is indicated by intonation. The following question types can be non-inverted:

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

How to Make Yes-no Questions?

To form a 'yes-no question', you typically need to place the 'auxiliary verb' at the beginning of the sentence. This involves changing the position of the 'subject and auxiliary verb, so that the auxiliary verb comes first. Pay attention to the examples:

Are you staying 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, such as who, what, which, or why. These words can be:

The differences between determiners, pronouns, and adverbs

Wh-pronouns are typically used alone before verbs and cannot be followed by a noun.
Wh-determiners, on the other hand, are used before a noun to indicate which thing or things are being referred to.
Wh-adverbs can appear at the beginning of a clause and modify the verb, adjective, or other adverb that follows.

To form 'wh-questions', we typically begin the sentence with a wh-word which is used to ask for specific information or clarification. After the wh-word, we use a yes-no question.
It is important to note that we should always end a question with a question mark to indicate that it is an interrogative sentence.
Pay attention to the examples:

What are you doing tonight?

Where do you spend your holiday ?

Reduced Wh-questions

In informal contexts, it is common to reduce the length of wh-questions. This is because the speaker assumes that the listener already knows the context and the information being referred to. Pay attention to the example:

A : I need to go to the shop.

B : What for?

D : I'm going out tonight.

C : Who with?

Tags

'Tags' are a type of interrogative sentence that is used to confirm or clarify information. They are often used when the speaker is uncertain about the truth of a statement or wants to check whether the listener agrees with what has been said. There are three types of tags:

  • Question tags
  • Imperative tags
  • Universal tags

Question tags

Tag questions typically follow a specific word order, with an auxiliary verb at the beginning of the tag followed by a pronoun.
It is important to note that tag questions often follow a specific pattern. If the statement is
affirmative, the tag is typically negative, and if the statement is negative*, the tag is typically affirmative.
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

Tip!

Always use the contracted form in negative tags.

Imperative Tags

Imperative tags are a type of sentence structure that combines an imperative statement with a mini-question, in order to give orders or instructions in a polite or persuasive way. The auxiliary used in imperative tags can be will, would, can, or could. Look at the examples:

Close the window, will you?

Calm down, can you?

Universal Tags

In English, there are certain words that can be used to seek approval or agreement in an informal way. These words, such as 'yeah', 'no', 'right', and 'yes', are typically used at the end of a statement to create a one-word question.

You will be there for me, right?

It has been a bad day, yeah?

Alternative Questions

An alternative question is a type of interrogative sentence that is used to present a choice between two or more options. These questions are often used to clarify preferences or to make decisions.
To form an alternative question, we typically use a conjunctions such as 'or' to link the options together. 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 with 'or not' at the end of the interrogative clause. 'Alternative questions' are also known as nexus questions, closed questions, choice questions, either-or questions, and multiple-choice interrogatives. Alternative interrogatives mostly end in falling intonation.

Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are interrogative sentences that are not meant to be answered, as the speaker typically knows the answer or the answer is obvious. These questions are often used to make a point, express a strong emotion, or provoke thought.

Do you think I was born yesterday?

Who doesn't love a good pizza?

Statement Questions

A statement question is a type of sentence structure that combines the declarative and interrogative forms and is used to express surprise, disbelief, or shock about a situation or information that has been presented.
Statement questions can be either affirmative or negative statements, and typically do not require an inversion to create the interrogative form. Take a look at the examples:

You aren't at school?

Dad played basketball back then?

Warning!

It is important to be mindful of intonation when using declarative statements and statement questions, as the intonation patterns can convey different meanings.
Declarative statements are typically spoken with a falling intonation pattern, while statement questions are typically spoken with a rising intonation pattern.

Echo Questions

An echo question is a type of interrogative sentence that is used to repeat part or all of something someone has just said. This may be because the speaker did not hear it all, is surprised by the information, or cannot believe what was said. Echo questions are typically formed as declarative statements with an added interrogative word at the end.
In some cases, the interrogative word may be used at the beginning of the sentence, to prompt the speaker to remember a particular piece of information. Take a look at the examples:

He started a new what?

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

When using an echo question, it is important to use a rising intonation pattern, with emphasis on the interrogative word. This intonation pattern helps to convey a sense of surprise, disbelief, or uncertainty, and signals to the listener that the speaker is seeking clarification or confirmation of the information that was presented.

Follow-up Questions

In some cases, people may shorten wh-questions when there has been a previous conversation between the parties, and both parties understand the context and topic being discussed, so it will not cause any confusion.
Follow-up questions are used immediately after a statement made by the person who is speaking to the questioner. These questions are used to seek clarification or to ask for more information about the topic being discussed. Pay attention to the examples:

-'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 wh-words, and are used to show that you are interested in something the speaker is talking about.

Two-Step Questions

A two-step question is a type of question that allows the speaker to ask for clarification and provide options at the same time. This structure can be useful when seeking more information about a topic or when trying to obtain a specific piece of information.
The first step of a two-step question is typically used to clarify or specify what information is being sought. The second step of a two-step question is typically used to provide options or additional details to help the speaker provide a more specific response. Take a look at the following examples:

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 in quick succession. In this case, the first question is typically used to confirm or establish a general understanding of the topic, and the second question is used to obtain more specific information or clarification. For example:

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

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

Two-step Questions Suggest the Answer

Sometimes the second part of 'two-step' questions gives the listener some options to limit the answers and make a suggestion.

What is your birthday zodiac? Gemini or Leo?

What did you have for lunch? Chicken or fish?

Pre-questions

Pre-questions are used to seek permission or to establish a polite tone before asking the main question. This structure can be useful when asking for a favor or when seeking information from someone who may be busy or preoccupied.

Can you do me a favor? Will you return this book to the library on your way home?

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

Ellipsis in Questions

In spoken English, it is common to use shortened questions instead of complete clauses. Shortened questions can take various forms, including clauses, phrases, or even single words. For example:

'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 but rather implied through a statement or a reporting clause. This structure can convey a sense of politeness when asking for information or making a request.
Indirect questions can take various forms, including implying a yes/no question or reporting a wh-question. They are typically made up of a reporting clause and a reported question, which is not inverted.

He asked if I was going to New York.

They wondered who cleaned the store.

Review

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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