English Closed Questions Yes/No Questions
|Does he want a car?|
|Are you going to eat with us?|
Use the verb be to ask about identity, description,
location, and present or past activities and situations.
Identity / Description
You can use be plus a noun or adjective to ask about the identity or description of a person, place, or thing.
|Am I your best friend?||Yes (you are).|
|Is this interesting?||No (it is not).|
|Are these islands part of Greece?||Yes (they are).|
|Was his idea good?||No (it wasn't).|
|Were they happy?||Yes (they were).|
Be plus a prepositional phrase asks about present or past location.
|Am I near your house?||No (you aren't).|
|Is he in Panamá?||Yes (he is).|
|Are we at the border yet?||No (we're not).|
|Was his apartment above a bakery?||Yes (it was).|
|Were the demonstrations downtown?||No (they weren't).|
Current activity / situation
To ask about a current activity or situation, use the present progressive: present tense of be + present participle (verb+ing).
|Am I going with you and Tom?||Yes (you are).|
|Is England adopting the euro?||No (it isn't).|
|Are we seeing a play tonight?||Yes (we are).|
|Is she working today?||No (she isn't).|
Past activity / situation
To ask about a past activity or situation, use the past progressive: past tense of be + present participle.
|Was it raining?||Yes (it was).|
|Was Anna cooking?||No (she wasn't).|
|Were the prisoners rebelling?||Yes (they were).|
|Were they singing?||No (they weren't).|
To ask about something that happened to someone or something, use the passive voice: past tense of be + past participle (verb + ed or en):
|Was he given a reward?||Yes (he was).|
|Was I chosen?||No (you weren't).|
|Were you driven home in a taxi?||Yes (we were).|
|Were dinosaurs killed by meteors?||No (they weren't).|
Use the verb have to ask if some action has taken place or whether somebody has done something.
Notice that the auxiliary verb have is in the present tense* and the main verb is always a past participle.
|Has your brother left?||No (he hasn't).|
|Have you flown before?||Yes (I have).|
|Has the party started?||Yes (it has).|
|Have the guests eaten?||No (they haven't).|
*It is possible to ask a yes/no question with had, but this is done in very specific situations and will be explained in a future lesson.
Use the verb do to obtain facts about people, places, or things.
Do is always followed by the subject and then a verb in the infinitive without to.
|Do they smoke?||No (they don't).|
|Does Bogotá get cold?||Yes (it does).|
|Did it work?||No (it didn't).|
|Do flying fish really fly?||No (they don't).|
|Does running hurt your knees?||Yes (it does).|
|Did teaching challenge you?||Yes (it did).|
Use modal verbs to obtain more information about possibilities or uncertainties.
Modals are always followed by verbs in the infinitive without to.
|Can we stay?||Yes (we can stay).|
|Could this be true?||Yes (it could be true).|
|Should they stop?||No (they shouldn't).|
|May I help you?||Yes (you may).|
|Will it rain?||No (it won't rain).|
|Would you go with me?||Yes (I would).|
Remember: When asking a question with do or a modal verb, the main verb remains in the infinitive without to.
|Do you drink coffee?|
|Does she work here?|
|Can I go with you?|
|Should we email her?|
However, if there are two verbs in the infinitive after do, the second infinitive must use to.
|Do you want to drink coffee?|
|Does she like to work here?|
|Did you need to go home?|
Remember: It's impossible to ask a yes/no question without an auxiliary verb.
|Does he know your phone number?|
|Are they returning today?|
Note that there are several ways to answer yes/no questions, especially with contractions.
|Is he busy?||No.|
|No, he isn't.|
|No, he's not.|
|No, he is not.|
|No, he isn't busy.|
|No, he's not busy.|
|No, he is not busy.|
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