And a little more about questions in English. Part 2 - Questions to the subject, Alternative questions and Tag questions

In the previous article, we have considered two basic types of questions - general and Wh-questions. In addition, there are other questions in English, let’s say, more specific and bringing a lot of trouble to those who study English. But, do not be intimidated in advance 😉 we hope that our explanations and examples will help you to sort things out.

Question to the subject

Let's start with the terms. What is a subject? It is a person or a thing that performs an action. Accordingly, the question to the subject in English implies that this very subject is unknown to us. In other words, we want to know who or what is doing, did or does an action. Usually such questions begin with the question word Who or What (sometimes Which).

A feature of this type of questions is that they do not need an auxiliary verb and the word order does not change, that is, it remains the same as in the affirmative sentence.

Let's analyze an example of a question to the subject and compare it with the usual question.

So, we have a sentence:

They saw you on the show yesterday.

Question to the subject:

Who saw you on the show yesterday?

In this case, we do not know the character and want to find him. In the question there is no subject, the word Who is at the same time both the question word and the subject.

I saw them too.

Who did I see?

In this sentence, we know who does an action. This is I. And we ask the question not to it, but to the complement, in English it is called an object.

And a few more examples:

He wrote that book.

Who wrote that book?

What did he write?


Alternative question

The name itself implies that the question provides a choice. The structure of such a question is the same as that of the general one, except that we give the interlocutor the right to choose using the OR conjunction.

For example:

Do you want to watch a movie or a cartoon?

Did she call you on the phone or send a message?


Tag question

This type of question has another name - "a question with the tail." Asking such a question, we sort of check the reliability of what we know.

The tag question consists of two parts. In the first part, we provide information, which looks like a normal affirmative or negative sentence. In the second part, we update this information and it looks like a short question. In Russian, the "tail" of the tag question has a translation of " не так ли? / не правда ли?".

For example:

You like apples, do not you?

How to understand what kind of tail it should have? Here everything is simple:

1. If the first part has an affirmative form, then the second part will be negative.

 She called me yesterday, did not she?

2. If the first part has a negative form, then in the second there will be affirmative.

We have not been here before, have we?


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