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Yes / No Questions #3: Verbs with No Auxiliaries, by Dennis Oliver

Simple (Yes / No) Questions #3

Simple (Yes / No) questions in English are made in

three similar but different ways. The form of simple
questions depends on whether the statement from which
the question is made has

1. BE (but no other verb), or

2. an auxiliary verb (including BE) and

a main verb, or

3. only a main verb (not BE and not with

an auxiliary.)
Making Simple Questions:
Sentences without BE and
without Auxiliary Verbs

If the sentence to which a simple question is related does

not have BE or an auxiliary verb (BE, has / have / had,
modal auxiliary), use do, does, or did. The form is

Do / Does / Did + subject + verb + other words?


Use do for yes/no questions in simple present tense

if the subject is (or means) I, you, we, or they:
I need this. ---> Do I need this?

You understand me. ---> Do you understand me?

We have a test tomorrow. --->

Do we have a test tomorrow?

They like sashimi. ---> Do they like sashimi?


Use does for yes/no questions in simple present tense

if the subject is (or means) he, she, or it:

He loves her. ---> Does he love her?

She misses him. ---> Does she miss him?

His computer works. ---> Does his computer work?


Use did for yes/no questions in simple past tense for

all subjects--I, you, he, she, it, we, they:

I forgot something. ---> Did I forget something?

You lost something. ---> Did you lose something?

He left. ---> Did he leave?

She quit her job. ---> Did she quit her job?

Her computer crashed. ---> Did her computer crash?

We needed that. ---> Did we need that?

They had a good time. ---> Did they have a good time?

Answering Simple Questions:
Sentences without BE and
without Auxiliary Verbs

For simple questions with an auxiliary verb before the

main verb, there are three possible answers: with Yes,
with No, and with I don't know. The answers with Yes
and No can be complete sentences or "abbreviated
forms." In the "abbreviated forms," the auxiliary verb
is do, does, or did.


Did Fred talk to you? --->

Yes, Fred talked to me. /

Yes, he did. /

No, Fred didn't talk to me. /

No, he didn't. /

I don't know.

Did Sophie pass the test? --->

Yes, Sophie passed the test.

Yes, she did.


No, Sophie didn't pass the test.

No, she didn't.


I don't know.

Did Bill go to the party? --->

Yes, Bill went to the party.

Yes, he did.


No, Bill didn't go to the party.

No, he didn't.


I don't know.



Special Notes:
1. The common verbs do and have can be both
main verbs and auxiliary verbs:

Toby did a good job. (main verb)

Did Toby do a good job? (auxiliary verb,

main verb)

Toby didn't do a good job. (auxiliary verb,

main verb)

Alice has two brothers. (main verb)

Alice doesn't have any brothers. (auxiliary

verb: does(n't); main verb: have.

Does Alice have two brothers? (auxiliary

verb: does; main verb: have.

We have had enough. (auxiliary verb: have;

main verb: have (past participle)

They had had breakfast before we

saw them. (auxiliary verb: had; main verb:
have (past participle)
2. Contractions are also common in
"abbreviated" answers, but only
with No:

Does Joe have red hair?

Yes, he does.
No, he doesn't.

Do you want something to eat?

Yes, I do.
No, I don't.

Did Marcia call you?

Yes, she did.

No, she didn't.

3. When does is the auxiliary verb, there is

no -s ( -es, -ies ) on the main verb:

*Does she wants something?

*Does she want something?

*Does he has a new car?

*Does he have a new car?
4. When did is the auxiliary verb, the main
verb is in simple form, not past:

*Did she wanted something?

*Did she want something?

*Did they had a good time?

*Did they have a good time?

5. Remember: Do, does, and did are used

when the sentence on which the question is
based does not have BE or an auxiliary +
a main verb.

*Does she is here today?

*Did she was here yesterday?

*Did she already been here?


Yes/No questions with to be

When do you use a yes/no question?

You use it when you want to know if something is true or false. For example: Your friend doesn't
look happy when you see him. You ask him: Are you okay? because you want him to confirm
your feelings.
How do you pose a yes/no question?
Change the word order: put the verb in front of the pronoun/noun: Noun/pronoun + to be + …
To be + noun/pronoun + …? You are tired. Are you tired? The boy is sick. Is the boy
You can answer: Yes. / No.. But this sometimes sounds impolite. It is better to answer: Are you a
teacher? – Yes, I am. / No, I'm not.
Rewrite the sentences into yes/no questions. Do not change the pronouns.

Questions with other main verbs

You must use the correct form of to do:
Put "do/does" in front of the pronoun and the main verb into the infinitive.

 He walks a lot. Does he walk a lot?

 You walk a lot. Do you walk a lot?
 I walk a lot. Do I walk a lot?
 They walk a lot. Do they walk a lot?
You can answer by only saying Yes. / No. but this is very impolite. Better say: Does he walk a
lot? – Yes, he does. / No, he doesn't.
Rewrite the sentences into yes-no-questions. Remember to use the form of to do.
Übungsvorschlag: wieder cloze, Sätze wie oben in den Beispielen, in beiden Übungen sollten
Vokabeln aus Unit 1-2 wiederverwendet werden

Keeping the word order

Another way of asking a "yes-no- question" is to say a statement, but raise your voice at the end:
"You are tired?"

When to Use Yes No Questions

Yes No questions are questions that do not take a question word such as 'what', 'when', 'where',
etc. Yes No questions are used to check information, ask for a confirmation and check facts.
Here are some examples:

Do you live in Seattle?

Was he late for work yesterday?
Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow?

Yes No questions are generally answered with Yes No answers that include an auxiliary verb.
Here are some examples:

Do you live in Seattle? - Yes, I do.

Did he go to work yesterday? - Yes, he did.
Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow? - No, I'm not.

Notice that Yes answers include the subject and the full auxiliary verb:

Are they working on that report? - Yes, they are.

Have you ever visited Paris? - Yes, I have.
Will you help me? - Yes, I will.

No answers include the auxiliary verb plus not and often employs the short form (contraction):

Do they live in Chicago? - No, they don't.

Is she watching TV? - No, she isn't.
Did we get the contract? - No, we didn't.

Here is an overview of Yes No questions in a wide variety of tenses:

Present Simple

Do / Does + S + Verb? - (Do you like ice cream?)

Yes, I do.
No, I don't.
Yes, he / she / it does.
No, he / she / it doesn't.
Yes, we / you / they do.
No, we / you / they don't.

Present Continuous

Am / Is / Are + S + Verb + ing? - (Are they studying English?)

Yes, I am.
No, I'm not.
Yes, he / she / it is.
No, he / she / it isn't.
Yes, we / you / they are.
No, we / you / they aren't.


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Questions & Answers


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Present Perfect

Have / Has + S + Past Participle? - (Has she lived here long?)

Yes, I have.
No, I haven't.
Yes, he / she / it has.
No, he / she / it hasn't.
Yes, we / you / they have.
No, we / you / they haven't.
Past Simple

Did + S + Verb? - (Did she stay in New York?)

Yes, I / you / he / she / it / we / you /they did.

No, I I / you / he / she / it / we / you /they didn't.

Past Continuous

Was / Were + S + Verb + ing? - (Were they working at three in the afternoon?)

Yes, I was.
No, I wasn't.
Yes, he / she / it was.
No, he / she / it wasn't.
Yes, we / you / they were.
No, we / you / they weren't.

Future Simple

Will + S + Verb? - (Will you come to the party?)

Yes, I / you / he / she / it / we / you /they will.

No, I I / you / he / she / it / we / you /they won't.

Future with Going to

Am / Is / Are + S + going to + Verb? - (Is he going to attend the meeting?)

Yes, I am.
No, I'm not.
Yes, he / she / it is.
No, he / she / it isn't.
Yes, we / you / they are.
No, we / you / they aren't.

Yes/No questions and short answers - be

Summary - Questions
be (am, are, is) - Questions without questions words and answers

be (am, are, is) - Questions with questions words and answers

Questions with can

Questions with have

Questions with do, does - Simple Present

Questions with did, was, were - Simple Past

Questions with who and what

Short answers

Exercises - Questions

Yes/No questions - be (am, are, is)

Subject and verb change their position in statement and question.

statement You are from Germany.

question Are you from Germany?

We always use the short answer, not only "Yes" or "No".

If the answer is "Yes", we always use the long form.
Example: Yes, I am.

If the answer is "No", we either use the long or the contracted form (short form).
Example: No, I am not - No, I'm not.

Yes, I am.
Are you from Germany?
am not.
No, I
'm not.

Is he your friend? Yes, he is.

Are Peter and John from England? Yes, they are.

Do you play Yes I do. No I do not.

Does she live in Yes she does. No she does

Japan? not.

Do they want a Yes they do. No they do not.


Are you Yes I am. No I am not.


Is she tall? Yes she is.

Questions: yes-no questions (Are you feeling cold?)

from English Grammar Today

Questions that need either a yes or a no answer are called yes-no questions:

Do you like vanilla ice cream? (answer: yes or no)

Have you ever seen a ghost? (answer: yes or no)

Forming yes-no questions

With an auxiliary verb

We form yes-no questions with an auxiliary verb (be, do or have) + subject + main verb or with a
modal verb + subject + main verb:

Be: Is she working very hard? Were they travelling together?

Do: Does that taste okay? Did you go to the concert?
Have: Have they eaten yet? Had they visited Rome before?
Modal: Could you help me lift this? Should I open the window?

Where there is no auxiliary verb be, have or modal verb already present in the statement, we use
the auxiliary do, does, did:

Statement form (no auxiliary) Question form

Do you usually walk to work?
You usually walk to work.
Not: Walk you…?
Did you like disco music in the 70s?
You liked disco music in the 70s.
Not: Liked you…?

We don’t use an auxiliary verb when we use be as a main verb:

Is she your sister?

Not: Does she be your sister?


When there is more than one auxiliary verb or a modal verb plus auxiliary verb(s), we only put
the first auxiliary or the modal verb before the subject and the others after the subject:

Auxiliary + subject + auxiliary + verb

Is this phone call being recorded?

Not: Is being this phone call recorded? or Is being recorded this phone call?

Auxiliary + subject + auxiliary + verb

Has the garden been looked after while you were away?

Not: Has been the garden looked after while you were away? or Has been looked after the garden
while you were away?
Modal + subject + auxiliary + auxiliary + verb

Should we have been writing this down?

Not: Should have we been writing this down?

We only put auxiliary and modal verbs, not main verbs, before the subject:

Where did you find the keys?

Not: Where did find you the keys?

See also:

 Be
 Have

Without an auxiliary verb

When we ask yes-no questions using the main verb be, we don’t use an auxiliary verb. The word
order is: be + subject:

Is the weather nice in Turkey in the winter?

Was she angry when you told her about the accident?

When we ask yes-no questions with the main verb have, we can also use the word order verb +
subject, but it sounds rather formal. We use have got and do as more neutral or informal

Have you an identity card? (formal)

Do you have an identity card? (neutral)

Have you got an identity card? (informal)


When we ask questions with the main verb have in the past to refer to possession, we use did …
have rather than had … got:

Did you have your glasses with you when you left the car?

Had you got your glasses with you when you left the car? (less common)
Responding to yes-no questions
Other ways of saying yes and no include yeah, yep, mm, okay, and nah, nope. These are


Would you like to play tennis with me later?


Okay. (meaning yes)


Have you seen Greg?


Nope. (meaning no)

We can also give more than just a yes or no answer. We sometimes add more information:


Can I grow potatoes in a pot?


Yeah. They grow really well in pots.


Will you be going to Ryan’s party?


No. I’m actually going to be away on Friday night.

Sometimes we don’t use yes or no as a reply but the answer that we give means yes or no:


Do you know Tina Gomez?


We’ve known each other for years. We went to the same school. (meaning yes)


Do you have the Thrills latest album?


I’m afraid we’ve just sold the last one! (meaning no)

We sometimes respond using the auxiliary verb from the question instead of yes and no:


Hey Tim, did you go fishing today?


I did. I went with the boys.


Has Jason had breakfast?


He hasn’t. He’s still in bed.

Negative yes-no questions

We usually use negative yes-no questions to check or confirm something we believe or expect to
be the case, or when we consider that something is the best thing to do:

Isn’t that Pauline’s car? (I’m pretty sure that this is correct. I’m asking for confirmation.)

Shouldn’t we be leaving? (I think that we should leave now.)

We form negative yes-no questions with not. We usually use the contraction n’t. If we use not in
its full form, the question sounds very formal:

Isn’t that the oldest building on this street?

When using the full form not, the order auxiliary + subject (s) + not is more common than
auxiliary + not + subject:

[AUX][s]Is that [not]not the oldest building in this street? (formal) (preferred to [the very
formal] Is not that the oldest building on this street?)

We can use negative yes-no questions to make invitations, offers and complaints stronger:

Won’t you stay for dinner? (invitation; stronger than Will you stay for dinner?)

Wouldn’t you like another coffee? (offer; stronger than Would you like another coffee?)

Can’t the manager do something about the noise? (complaint; stronger than Can the manager do
something about the noise?)

Intonation and yes-no questions

The intonation of yes-no questions is normally either rising [ri↗sing arrow] or fall-rising [dow↘n
u↗p arrow] intonation depending on the meaning. If we do not know the answer, we use rising
intonation. If we more or less know the answer and are looking for confirmation, we use fall-
rising intonation:

Are you w↗arm enough?

Did you once li↘ve in Ir↗eland? (I think the answer is yes.)

We often use fall-rising intonation with yes-no questions when asking a number of questions


You’re living i↘n B↗ayswater? [Question 1]


Yeah. That’s right.


Are you rentin↘g you↗r house? [Question 2]

Yeah, we are.


Is it exp↘ensi↗ve? [Question 3]


It’s not very expensive for somewhere so near the city centre.

See also:

 Intonation

(“Questions: yes-no questions ( Are you feeling cold? )” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge
University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)

Yes or No Questions

Types of questions

There are two types of questions:

 Yes or no questions
 Wh questions

Yes-no questions

Yes or no questions are questions whose expected answer is either "yes" or "no".

How to form yes-no questions

In English, a special word order (Verb Subject Object) is used to form yes-no questions.

Affirmative Yes or No Question

They are American Are they American?

She is nice Is she nice?

The rules

1. If the main verb of the sentence is "to be", simply invert the subject and the verb to be:


 They are American. — Are they American?

 They are nice. — Are they nice?

2. If the sentence includes a main verb and another or other helping (auxiliary) verb(s), invert the
subject and the (first) helping (auxiliary) verb.


 They are visiting Paris. — Are they visiting Paris?

 She has done the housework. — Has she done the housework
 Nancy has been working all night long. — Has Nancy been working all night long?
 He will be reading the book. — Will he be reading the book?

3. If the sentence includes a verb which is not the verb "to be" and doesn't include a helping
(auxiliary) verb, the transformation is more complex.

a. If the verb is in the present tense, add either do or does and put the main verb in its base form:

 do if the subject is the first person singular, second person singular, first person plural, second
person plural and third person plural (I, you, we, they)
I like apples. — Do you like apples?
They go to a high school. — Do they go to a high school?
 does if the subject is the third person singular (he, she, it).
Nancy reads a lot. — Does Nancy read a lot?
He hates basketball. — Does he hate basketball?

b.If the verb is in the past tense, add did and put the main verb in its base form:

 He discovered the truth. — Did he discover the truth?

 She wrote a nice essay. — Did she write a nice essay?
 They did the homework. — Did they do the homework?

Exercise on yes or no questions.


Yes / No questions (closed questions)

In English, there are two basic types of questions: Yes / No questions and Wh- questions. Yes / No
questions are also called closed questions because there are only two possible responses: Yes or
No. When forming a Yes / No question, it must include one of these verbs: BE, DO, HAVE, or a
modal verb. It is impossible to ask a Yes / No question without one of these verbs.

correct incorrect Read lesson

Are elections next year? Elections next year? * en español
* en français
Does he want to stay? He want to stay?

Have the boys eaten? The boys eaten?

Can the dog swim? The dog swim?

Use the verb BE to ask Yes / No questions about the identity or description of a person, place, or

question response

Am I your friend? Yes. / Yes, you are. / Yes, you are my friend.

Is this a good restaurant? No. / No, it is not. / No, it is not a good restaurant.
Are these islands Greek? Yes. / Yes, they are. / Yes, these islands are Greek.

Was his idea interesting? No. / No, it wasn’t. / No, his idea was not interesting.

Were they happy? Yes. / Yes, they were. / Yes, they were happy.

Note that the response can be short (Yes. / No.), or long: Yes or No followed by the subject and

Use the verb BE with a preposition to ask Yes / No questions about a present or past location.

question response
Am I at the correct location? No. / No, you aren’t.
Are the keys under the books? No. / No, they are not.
Was his house on an island? Yes. / Yes, it was.
Were the demonstrations in the center of town? No. / No, they weren’t.

Use the verb BE to ask a Yes / No question about a current activity or situation. This requires the
present progressive: BE + (verb+ing).

question response
Am I going with you and Tom? Yes. / Yes, you are.
Is she working today? No. / No, she isn’t.
Are we seeing a play tomorrow? Yes. / Yes, we are.

Use the verb BE to ask a Yes / No question about a past activity or situation. This requires the past
progressive: WAS / WERE + (verb+ing).

question response
Was it raining? Yes. / Yes, it was.
Were they playing? No. / No, they weren’t.

Use the verb BE to ask a Yes / No question with the passive voice.

question response
Is gold mined in Canada? Yes. / Yes it is.
Are flowers grown here? No. / No, they are not.
Was the book read? Yes. / Yes, it was.

Use the verb HAVE to ask if somebody has done something or if some action has taken place. Note
that these Yes / No questions use the present perfect (HAVE + past participle).

question response
Has your brother left? No. / No, he hasn’t.
Have you driven before? Yes. / Yes, I have.
Has the party started? Yes. / Yes, it has.

Use the verb DO to ask Yes / No questions in order to obtain facts about people, places, or things.

question response
Do they smoke? No. / No, they don’t.
Does it rain here? Yes. / Yes, it does.
Did the key work? No. / No, it didn’t.

Use modal verbs to ask Yes / No questions about possibilities or uncertainties.

question response
Can we stay? Yes. / Yes, we can. / Yes, we can stay.
Could this be true? Yes. / Yes, it could (be true).
Should they stop? No. / No, they shouldn’t (stop).
May I help you? Yes. / Yes you may (help me).

Remember: When asking Yes / No questions with DO or a modal verb, the main verb remains in the
base form (without to).

correct incorrect
Do you drink coffee? Do you to drink coffee?
Does she work here? Does she to work here?
Can I go with you? Can I to go with you?
Should we email her? Should we to email her?
However, if there are two verbs that follow DO, the second verb remains in the infinitive (with to).

correct incorrect
Do you want to drink coffee? Do you want drink coffee?
Does she like to work here? Does she like work here?
Did you need to go home? Did you need go home?

Note that there are several ways to answer Yes / No questions, especially when using contractions.

question response
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.