Site Search:

Information Questions (#3) with Auxiliary Verbs, by Dennis Oliver

 

Information Questions #3:
Auxiliary Verbs + Main Verbs

 

 

There are six basic forms used in making information
("Wh-") questions in English: two if the verb is BE, two
if there is an
auxiliary verb and a main verb, and two
if there is only a
verb (not BE and not an auxiliary and
a verb).

Let's look at the form when there is an auxiliary verb
and a main verb.

___________________________________

FORM:
Information Questions with
Auxiliary Verbs and Main Verbs

 

 

English verbs often have two or more parts and include
combinations such as these:

am / are / is / was / were giving

can / could / may / might / must / shall / should /
will / would give

have / has / had given

has / have / had been giving

am / are / is / was / were given

am / are / is / was / were being given

have / has / had been given

have / has / had been being given

could / may / might / must / should / would have given

could / may / might / must / should / would have been given

could / may / might / must / should / would have been
being given


In all the combinations above, the first
item is an
auxiliary verb and the last item is a main verb.
If the complete verb has more than one part (for
example,
had been giving or would have been
given
), the complete verb has more than one auxiliary.

____________________________________

 

 


If a sentence has
an auxiliary verb, there are also two
forms for "Wh-" questions. If the question asks about
the subject (or part of the subject), the form is

Wh + complete verb + other words?

Examples:

??? is sitting beside Chiharu. ----->
Who is sitting beside Chiharu?

??? might be here tomorrow. ----->
Who might be here tomorrow?

??? was given to Bill. ----->
What was given to Bill?

??? has happened. ----->
What has happened?

??? could have done this. ----->
Who could have done this?

???'s brother is working in New York. ----->
Whose brother is working in New York?

???'s books were left in the classroom. ----->
Whose books were left in the classroom?

??? people will be coming to the party. ----->
How many people will be coming to the party?

The ??? house has been bought by Julia's family. ----->
Which house has been bought by Julia's family?
(What house has been bought by Julia's family?)

??? sugar was used to make these cookies. ----->
How much sugar was used to make these cookies?

____________________________________

 

 


If the sentence has an auxiliary verb and if the "Wh-"

question asks about words that are after the subject,
the form is

Wh + first auxiliary + subject + rest of the verb +
other words?

Examples:

Bill will ??? tomorrow. ----->
What will Bill do tomorrow?

The party was held ??? ----->
When was the party held?
Where was the party held?

The party is being held at ???'s house. ----->
Whose house is the party being held at? [informal] /
At whose house is the party being held? [formal / careful]

I've found ???. ----->
What have you found?

Nancy can speak ??? languages ----->
How many languages can Nancy speak?

Jae-Hoon has lived in ??? countries.----->
How many countries has Jae-Hoon lived in? [informal] /
In how many countries has Jae-Hoon lived? [formal / careful]

You have been eating ???. ----->
Who have you been eating?

Lucinda has gone ???. ----->
Where has Lucinda gone? /
Why has Lucinda gone?

He had worked ??? before he stopped. ----->
How long had he worked before he stopped?

Yasuhiro can run ??? fast. ----->
How fast can Yasuhiro run?

The twins will celebrate their ??? birthday. ----->
Which birthday will the twins celebrate?

They have been working ???. ----->
How long have they been working?
Where have they been working?
How much have they been working?

You would gone ??? if you had had enough time .----->
Where would you have gone if you had had enough time?

They might have been being punished ???. ----->
Why might they have been being punished? /
What might they have been being punished for? /
How come they might have been being punished? *


____________________________________


Special Notes:

1.  

For formal (careful) writing and speaking, many
people believe that questions or statements with
a
preposition at the end are not beautiful (not
good style). Questions and statements ending with
a preposition are common in speaking, but for
careful writing, combine the preposition with the
question word:

The party is being held at ???'s house.

casual / speaking:
Whose house is the party being held at?

careful / writing:
At whose house
is the party being held?

     
2.  

Questions with "How come" do not follow the
normal
rule for word order in questions: "How
come" is followed by
words with statement
word order, not by words with
question word order.

The party has been canceled ???.

Compare the word order with Why and How come:

Why has the party been canceled?

How come the party has been canceled?


___________________________________

Next: more on questions and answers
Dave's ESL Cafe is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Banner Advertising | Bookstore / Alta Books | FAQs | Articles | Interview with Dave
Copyright 1995-2007 Dave's ESL Cafe | All Rights Reserved | Contact Dave's ESL Cafe | Site Map