Word order in present simple questions

The order of words in an English question in present simple is: QWASI: (Question Word) + Auxiliary + Subject + Infinitive.

  • What do you do?
  • Where do they live?

In Yes-No questions (questions that we answer saying yes or no) there is NO Question Word.

  • Do you speak English?
  • Does she live here?

The auxiliary verb in present simple is be or do/does. Below you can see a grammar chart on the order of words in present simple questions with be or do/does.
Present simple questions _ question order

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Questions with am/is/are

When the verb in the sentence is be, we use am/is/are as the auxiliary verb before the subject. Then the word order is QWAS: (Question Word) + Auxiliary (am/is/are) + Subject

Questions with do/does

When we have a verb that is not be, we use do/does as the auxiliary verb.
We use does with he/she/it and do with I/you/we/they. Remember that the main verb after the subject is in the infinitive form (NO -s or -es).

  • What does she do(NOT What does she does?)
  • Where does he work ? (NOT Where does she works?)


Question words – grammar chart

Question words

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What + noun

We often use the question word what + noun as a question word: what time, what colour, what size, etc.

  • What colour is your jacket?
  • What size do you want?
  • What car does he have?


How + adjective/adverb

We can also use how + adjective/adverb  as a question word in phrases like how often, how old, how tall, etc.

  • How fast is your car?
  • How big is her house?
  • How often do you play sports?