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Who, What, When (question word)


<pre>Simple questions "Do" Inversion Modal verbs ("will", "would", etc.) Interrogative adverbs ("how?", "when", "why?", etc.) Interrogative pronouns ("who", "whom", "what", etc.) "Which", "which one" </pre>

Simple questions

Simple questions (that is, questions to which one can respond by a simple "yes" or "no") may be formed in three different ways:

  1. "Do": one precedes an assertion with "do" or "does" (or "don't" or "doesn't" for a negative expression, or "did", "didn't" for the past):

    Do you want to go to the movies? Does she work at IBM? Don't you travel quite a bit? Do they answer questions quickly? Didn't they want to eat?

But: One never places "do" or "does" before the verb "to be" or before modal verbs in questions; in this case it is preferable to invert the subject and verb:

<pre>Are you coming to the reception? Was the meeting boring? Weren't you hungry? </pre>
  1. Inversion: with certain verbs (especially the verbs "to be", "to do", "to have" and modal verbs) questions are formed by inverting the subject and object. (In the case of the verb "to have," which is usually combined with "do" in interrogatives, inversion signals a literary style.)

    Is Jack home? Have you nothing to declare? Would you like to go to the movies? Will they ever come to visit? Can the employees talk to the boss? Won't you sit down?

  2. Modal phrases: If a modal verb is used in a sentence, or if it is strongly implied, a modal phrase can be used to make an interrogative form. The modal phrase is typically an inversion of the subject and verb, in the negative, repeated at the end of the sentence:

    It's time to go, isn't it? He'd like to come with us, wouldn't he? You would like to go with us, wouldn't you? You can understand that, can't you?

    In the case of a negative question, the modal phrase would be in the affirmative:

    You wouldn't want to try it, would you? She won't be back, will she?

(See also: negations)

Interrogative adverbs

Simple questions solicit a "yes" or "no" answer. More precise questions may be formed by using the interrogative adverbs: when, why, how, how much, where. Generally, the interrogative adverb precedes the rest of the question; then the order of the sentence follows the rules indicated for inversion or for questions formed with "do / does".

<pre>Where are you going? Why do you want to take this class? How much do you earn a month? How do these machines work? When do you expect to get home? </pre>

See also: Questions, Interrogatives pronouns.

Interrogative pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask who has done what, to whom, why, with what, etc. Normally these pronouns are placed at the beginning of the sentence; hen the order of the sentence follows the rules indicated for inversion or for questions formed with "do / does".

One chooses the pronoun based on its function, according to the following table:

gramm. gramm. obj. of a subject object preposition

person who whom whom

thing what what what

pronoun which(one) which(one) which(one) of selection

subject (person): who + question

<pre>Who did this painting? Who wants to get an ice cream? </pre>

subject (thing): what + question

<pre>What interests you? What is good in this restaurant? </pre>

direct object (person): whom + question

<pre>Whom did you see in France? Whom are you going to meet at this reception? </pre>

direct object (thing): what + question

<pre>What do you want to do this evening? What are you preparing? </pre>

object of a preposition (person): preposition + whom + question

<pre>About whom are you thinking? With whom did you go out? Note: In spoken English, one often places the preposition at the end of the sentence, in which case one uses "who" instead of "whom" Who are you thinking about? Who did you go out with? </pre>

object of a preposition (thing): preposition + what + question

<pre>With what did you open it? In what way does that concern you? Note: In spoken English, the preposition is often put at the end of the sentence: What did you open it with? What did did they base their opinion on? </pre>

Which, which one, which ones

The adjective "which" and its pronominal forms ("which", "which one", "which ones") ask that a person make a choice. Usually these pronouns will be placed at the beginning of the sentence; then the order of the sentence follows the rules indicated for inversion o para question formed with "do / does".

<pre>Which film do you want to see? Which date did you choose? Here are two pizzas. Which one do you prefer? There are many different Burgundy wines. Which ones do you like? </pre>
Hace 4 años

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Dado que es la sección de español donde se resuelven respuestas y la mayoría del material que se aporta está en este idioma, ¿tus aportaciones no deberían contener las explicaciones en español con la respectiva traducción de cada oración para lo básico?

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Note: Questions like "You can understand that, can't you?" are usually called Tag Questions.

Hace 4 años