Types of Questions

Types of questions

A question is a sentence that asks for information. A statement can be changed into a question by placing the verb before the subject.

A question are also known as an interrogative sentence.

A question can be transformed into a negative question by using the word “not” or the contracted form of “not” before the subject. Such a question is called a negative interrogative.

Examples :

– Where are you going?
– Has she a teacher?
– Didn’t you meet Phoebe?

There are six types of questions : yes/no questions, question word questions, alternative questions, rhetorical questions, emphatic questions and question tags.

Yes/no questions are questions which have “yes” or “no” for the answers. These questions are usually formed by placing the auxiliary or helping verb before the subject.

If the statement contains an auxiliary or helping verb, then the question must begin with the auxiliary or helping verb.

If the statement contains a verb in the simple present or simple past tense, then the yes/no question will begin with the verbs “do“, “did” or “does“.

Examples :

– Are you going to the theater? – Yes, I am.
– Did you eat dinner? – No, I didn’t.
– Is she at home? – Yes, she is at home.
– Did you go out? – Yes, we went out.

Question word questions are formed using question words such as what, where, when, why, who, whom, whose, which and how. The answers to these questions are very subjective. Question word questions require full answers.

Examples :

– Where are you going ? – We’re gong to the hospital.
– How is Dora? – She is fine.
– Who’s there? – It’s just me.
– How old are you? – I am ten years old.
– How many books are on the table? – There are five books on the table.

Alternative questions contain more than one question in the same question. These questions are joined by “or“.

In such questions, usually one of the answers is negative and the other is positive.

Examples :

– Are you from Mumbai or Goa? – I’m from Goa.
– Will you drink coffee or tea? – Tea, please.
– Is she at the club or the park? – She’s at the club.

Rhetorical questions are actually statements in the form of a question. They are used for emphasis or dramatic effect and the answer is obvious.

Examples :

– Do pigs fly?
– Do I look like a machine to you?
– Am I the king of England?

Emphatic questions are used to emphasize feelings of anger, irritation or surprise. They are formed in the following :

– Interrogative pronoun / Interrogative adverb + ever

– Interrogative pronoun / Interrogative adverb + on earth, in the world, …

Examples :

– Why ever did you say that?
– Where on earth has he gone?

Sometimes a speaker makes a statement and adds a little question to the end of the statement. This little question is called a question tag. It is used to ask for confirmation or agreement.

Although question tags ask the opinion of the person they are addressed to, they take the person’s agreement as granted.

There are two types of question tags : positive and negative question tags.

When we use a positive statement, we end it with a negative question tag; and when we use a negative statement, we end it with a positive question tag.

Examples :

– You are coming, aren’t you?
– They are not there, are they?
– This is lovely, isn’t it?
– Aaron doesn’t know, does he?
– They were not here, were they?


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