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Information Questions (#4) with other verbs, by Dennis Oliver


Making Questions and Answers #4:
Information Questions
Verbs Only

(Not with BE, Not with Auxiliaries + Verbs)

  There are six basic forms used in making information
("Wh-") questions: 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 a verb plus an auxiliary).


Verbs Only


To make "Wh-" questions for sentences with a verb (but not
BE) and no auxiliary verb, something strange happens: an
"artificial" auxiliary (
do, does, or did) is used. Do and does
are used for simple present tense and
did is used for past tense.
These "artificial" auxiliary verbs have a
grammatical function,
but they do not have a real
meaning, so they cannot really
be translated.

There are two forms for "Wh-" questions for sentences with
verbs (but not BE) and no auxiliaries. One of them doesn't use
the "artificial" auxiliaries
do, does, or did. The other one does.


Verbs Only--Questions about the Subject


If an information question is about the
subject (or part of
the subject), the form is

Wh + verb + other words?

Examples (note that do, does, and did are not used):

??? has a new car. ----->
Who has a new car?

??? does the dishes at Bill's house. ----->
Who does the dishes at Bill's house?

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

???'s brother has a new car. ----->
Whose brother has a new car?

???'s students do the most homework. ----->
Whose students do the most homework?

??? people came to the party. ----->
How many people came to the party?

The ??? house belongs to Julia's family. ----->
Which house belongs to Julia's family?
(What house belongs to Julia's family?)

??? money remained after you paid the bills. ----->
How much money remained after you paid the bills?


Verbs Only--Questions about the Verb
Words After the Verb


If an information question is about the verb or words that
the verb, the form is different: it uses
do, does, or did:

Wh + do / does / did + subject + main verb +
other words?


He has ???. --->
does he have?

They ??? last night. --->
did they do last night?

They had ??? food last night. --->
What kind of food
did they have last night?

Bill went ???. ----->
did Bill go? / Why did Bill go?

The meeting begins ??? ----->
does the meeting begin? /
What time
does the meeting begin?

He saw ??? at the party. ----->
did he see at the party? [formal / careful]
did he see at the party? [informal]

She likes ??? books. ----->
What kind of books
does she like?/
What books
does she like?

Ya-Wen studied ??? in Taiwan. ----->
did Ya-Wen study in Taiwan? /
How long
did Ya-Wen study in Taiwan?
did Ya-Wen study in Taiwan?

Jae-Hoon traveled to ??? countries. ----->
To how many countries
did Jae-Hoon travel? [formal / careful]
How many countries
did Jae-Hoon travel to? [informal]

They eat ??? for breakfast. ----->
do they eat for breakfast?

Lucinda works ???. ----->
How often
does Lucinda work? /
does Lucinda work?/
How much
does Lucinda work?

He likes his job ??? well. ----->
How well
does he like his job?

Pablo brought ??? food to the picnic. ----->
How much food
did Pablo bring to the picnic? /
What kind of food
did Pablo bring to the picnic?

The twins celebrated their ??? birthday. ----->
Which birthday
did the twins celebrate?

She becomes upset ???. ----->
does she become upset? /
does she become upset? /
does she become upset for? /
How come she becomes upset? / *

She wrote a letter to ???. ----->
To whom
did she write a letter? [formal / careful]
did she write a letter to? [informal]

Sílvia made that cake for ???. ----->
For whom
did Sílvia make that cake? [formal / careful]
did Sílvia make that cake for? [informal]

* Questions with "How come" do not use normal word order.



Special Notes:


Notice that do may be both a main verb and
auxiliary verb:

Does Bob always do his homework?
Bob doesn't always do his homework.
What do you do on weekends?
Why did you do that?


In formal, careful writing and speaking, the
"Wh-" word
who is used to ask about subjects.
For questions about subjects, the "artificial"
do, does, and did not used:

??? likes Bill. ----->
Who likes Bill?
(not *Who does like Bill?)

??? talked to Bill. ----->
Who talked to Bill?
(not *Who did talk to Bill?)

??? married Rosanna. ----->
Who married Rosanna?
(not *Who did marry Rosanna?)

??? has nine brothers. ----->
Who has nine brothers?
(not *Who does have nine brothers?)


In formal, careful writing and speaking, the
"Wh-" word
whom is used to ask about objects.
For questions about objects, the "artificial"
do is used:

Bill likes ???. ----->
Whom does Bill like?

Bill talked to ???. ----->
Whom did Bill talk to?

Rosana married ???. ----->
Whom did Rosanna marry?


In informal, friendly speaking (and sometimes
writing), the "Wh-" word
who is used to ask about
both subjects and objects. It may seem strange
who can be used in such different ways,
but the two uses are always clear because of
differences in grammar.

Who lives with Bill? (subject)
does Bill live with? (object)

Who loves Junichi? (subject)
does Junichi love? (object)

Who did a favor for Ahmed? (subject)
did Ahmed do a favor for? (object)


In formal, careful writing, ending a question (or
a statement) with a preposition is considered
awkward (though ending with a preposition is,
in fact, very common in speaking. In careful
written work, ending with a preposition should,
therefore, be avoided.


better in writing:
To whom were you speaking?

common in speaking:
Who(m) were you speaking to?

better in writing:
To which page were you referring?

common in speaking:
Which page were you referring to?

better in writing:
In whose class are you studying?

common in speaking:
Whose class are you studying in?


When prepositions are combined with "Wh-"
whom must be used:

not this:
*To who did Mariam write a letter?

but this:
To whom did Mariam write a letter?

not this:
*Beside who does Hyun-sook sit?

but this:
Beside whom does Hyun-sook sit?

not this:
*With who does Shu-Wen study?

but this:
With whom does Shu-Wen study?

not this:
*For who did the injured man ask?

but this:
For whom did the injured man ask?

not this:
*From who do they take piano lessons?

but this:
From whom do they take piano lessons?


Note: Questions such as these are very formal
and careful.


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