Direct and Indirect Questions in English
Direct questions - yes / no questions in English.
1. He likes swimming.
2. He can swim long distances.
3. He is a good swimmer.
To make sentence 1 into a question, you need to add
is only used if the subject
- in all other cases, use
The verb goes after the
subject, but it doesn't have an 's' on the end.
Remember: after auxiliary verbs (like ,
, etc.) the verb is in the
infinitive, without 'to'.
"Does he like swimming?"
If the sentence is in the past tense (he liked swimming), we use the
past form of 'do' or 'does', which is . The verb 'like' is still in the infinitive without 'to'.
For example, "Did he like swimming?"
"Did he liked swimming?"
To make sentence 2 into a question, you don't need to use 'does' because
you already have an auxiliary verb - .
So you put the before
"Can he swim long distances?"
"Can swim he long distances?" or "Does he can swim long distances?"
To make sentence 3 into a question, use as the auxiliary.
"Is he a good swimmer?" "Does
he is a good swimmer?" or "Does he be a good swimmer?"
"Does he likes swimming?" or
"Do he like swimming?"
Direct questions -
What is your name?
Why do you want this job?
How much do you earn?
How soon can you start?
When did you see the advertisement?
Where do you live?
Which newspaper did you see the advertisement in?
Who gave you my name?
After the "wh word" ( , etc) comes the auxiliary ( or ), then
the subject (you) , then the rest of the question.
Note: if 'who', 'which' or 'what' are the subject of the question, you
don’t need an auxiliary.
For example, "What happened?"
"What did happen?" The thing that happened is
- the subject of the
"Who saw you?" Someone saw you - who was it?
Compare with "Who did you see?" You saw someone - who was it?)
"Which company made a profit?" A company made a profit - which company
Compare with "Which company did you work for?" You worked for a company
- which one was it?
If you want to ask a question that is quite sensitive, try using one of
the indirect phrases below:
Can you tell me…
Could you tell me…
I'd be interested to hear…
I'd like to know…
Would you mind telling me…
These questions are followed by either , a " " or
Then you add the subject,
then the sentence.
You don't need an 'auxiliary', such as 'do', 'does', 'did', or 'can'.
"Can you tell me what you like most about your present job?"
"Can you tell me what do you
"I'd be interested to hear about your experiences."
"Would you mind telling me if you have applied for a similar position