Word order in questions – Grammar chart
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.
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?)
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)