Explanations » A2 Grammar Explanations » Asking questions in English – Question forms

Word order in questions – Grammar chart

Word order in questions

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Questions in general

If we want to ask a question in English, the order is QWASM: Question word, Auxiliary verb, Subject, Main verb. In Yes-No questions (questions where the answer is yes or no), there is no Question Word.

Questions with be as the main verb

When be is the main verb, it is used as the Auxiliary in the question, and then we don’t have a Main verb after the Subject.

Auxiliary verbs

In the position of Auxiliary, we can use be, do, have or any modal verb: can, could, will, would, should, etc.

Have is only an auxiliary verb in the form have got and in the present perfect.

  • Have you got any brothers or sisters?
  • What have you cooked for lunch?

For other uses of have, we need an auxiliary verb (do, did) for questions.

  • What time did you have dinner yesterday? (NOT had you dinner)
  • Do you have to do it now? (NOT Have you to do it)

Have got only has a present form. It does not have a past form.

  • Did you have many toys when you were a child? (NOT Had you got many toys when you were a child?)


Question words

Question words - Wh- words

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how much

We can use how much to ask about the price of something.

  • How much is the jacket?

how + adjective

We can use how + adjective (any adjective) as a question word.

  • How tall are you?
  • How fast is your car?

which vs what

We can use which + noun, and we can also use what + noun. We use which when there are a small number of possible answers. Look at the difference:

  • Which car do you like, the red or the blue? (there is a small number of possible answers)
  • What car have you got?’ ‘A Mercedes.’ (many possible answers)