English Question Word Order

    Beginner English - Level A1


    This module examines word order in questions, whether they include question words (e.g. who, what, where, why, etc.) or verbs only (e.g. Are you going home?).


    Question words

    Greenville, South Carolina at Falls Park in downtown at night.

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    English A1

    Word Order in Questions

    Word order in questions can vary depending on a couple of things. First, is there a "wh" question word (i.e. who, what, when, where, why, how, which, whose, whom)? If not, is there just a main verb or also an auxiliary verb in the question? Each of these can influence the placement of words like verbs in a question.

    Where are my keys?
    What did you do?
    Does she play piano?
    Will you stop by after work?

    In the above examples, the verbs (main, auxiliary, phrasal) are italicized. In questions that have more than one verb but no question or "wh" word, the auxiliary verb will be placed at the beginning, followed by the subject and then the main verb. If a question word occurs, it will be in the first position, followed by an auxiliary (second example) or main verb (first example). The last example contains a modal verb, which follows the same pattern as questions with an auxiliary verb. 
    Sometimes, there is a noun phrase, adjective or adverb inserted directly after a question word but before any verb. Look at the following questions:

    How soon can you get here? 
    Which car is yours? 
    What type of cat do you have?
    How cold is it outside?

    These elements precede the verb and then follow the rules mentioned above. 

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