Interrogative sentence: a complete study with easy examples

What is an interrogative Sentence?

An interrogative sentence is used to ask a question to know about something. An interrogative Sentence takes a question mark (?) at its end. There are different types of interrogative questions let’s learn them one by one.


Yes/no questions are asked/used when the questioner wants the answer in single words like, ‘Yes‘ or ‘No‘.

Examples of YES / NO questions

(A) Study the following sentences:

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
1It is raining.Declarative Sentence
2Is it raining?(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

How to make Yes/No questions?

Sentence (1) is a declarative sentence but sentence (2) is an interrogative sentence. We have two verbs; ‘is’ and ‘raining’ in the verb phrase. Here ‘is’ (be) is an auxiliary verb and ‘raining’ is the main verb. In sentence (2) We have shifted the auxiliary verb ‘is’ to the left of the subject to make the sentence interrogative.

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
4Mitu has completed the work.Declarative Sentence
5Has Mitu completed the work?(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence
6They have been working for two hours.Declarative Sentence
7They have been working for two hours.(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

(First auxiliary ‘have ‘ of the verb phrase ‘have been working’ is shifted to the position before the subject.

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
7He can win the race.Declarative Sentence
8Can he win the race?(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

(The modal auxiliary ‘can ‘ is put before the subject.)

Thus, If the first element of the verb phrase is an auxiliary, it is placed just before the subject to turn the declarative sentence into an interrogative sentence.

(B) Now look at the following sentences:

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
9Mr. Rath is a rich man.Declarative Sentence
10Is Mr Rath a rich man?(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

In sentence (9) ‘is’ is the main verb and the only verb in the verb phrase.

So, while turning sentence (9) into interrogative form (sentence 10), we have placed the verb ‘is’ before the subject Mr Rath.

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
11He has a headache.Declarative Sentence
12Has he a headache? (less usual)
Does he have a headache? (More usual)
(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

Interrogative forms

ExamplesType of Sentence
He has a new car.Declarative Sentence
Has he a new car?———–(I)
Has he got a new car? ——-(ii)
Does he have a new car? ———-(iii)
(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

Now the form (iii) is mostly used whether the verb ‘have’ means possession, illness, relationship, or any other meaning, interrogative sentence (i)  is less used now.

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
13They play football every day.Declarative Sentence
14Do they play football every day?(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

In sentence (13), there is no auxiliary verb. The verb is ‘play’. While turning sentence (13) into an interrogative sentence (14), We have used the auxiliary ‘do’ before the subject.

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
15He plays tennis every day.Declarative Sentence
16Does he play tennis every day?(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

(in a present simple question, we use ‘do’/does)

Now look at the following sentences:

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
17He sold his car.Declarative Sentence
18Did he sell his car?(yes/no) Interrogative Sentence

In sentence (17), the verb sold is in the past simple form, So, in the interrogative sentence (18) we have put the auxiliary did (past tense of ‘do’) before the subject and changed the past tense form of the main verb sold to the present tense form sell.

Exercise for Interrogative Sentence


Turn the following sentences into Interrogative:

  1. That seat is free.
  2. He was regular in class.
  3. She was angry with me.
  4. They were in the garden.
  5. The milkman has two cows.
  6. Your ailing brother was in the hospital.


Use the auxiliary verbs do/does/did to turn the following sentences into interrogative:

  1. His son broke the window.
  2. They work hard for the examination.
  3. Minakhi collected some old coins.
  4. You bought this pen at a shop.
  5. She hides her face in shame.
  6. His voice shook with emotion.


Turn the following sentences into interrogatives. The first one has been done for you.

  1. We can see from here. Ans: Can we see from here?
  2. You must write to her.
  3. You’ll meet him in the evening.
  4. I shall open the door for you.
  5. The workers will be working in the field.
  6. He could give me the help
  7. They might have broken the plates.
  8. The boy has been studying since 8 o’clock.
  9. The teacher has corrected my answer book.
  10. Everybody had returned before four o’clock.


A ‘wh-question’ begins with the ‘WH’ Question words such as ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘which’, ‘whose’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’, and ‘how’.

Examples of Wh-questions

(A) Look at the following sentences:

SL. No. ExamplesType of Sentence
1Ramesh broke the glass.Declarative Sentence
2Who broke the glass?(Wh) Interrogative Sentence
3Something happened.Declarative Sentence
4What happened?(Wh) Interrogative Sentence

In sentence (1), ‘Ramesh’ is the subject. While asking for information about the subject(person), we have put ‘who’ at the beginning of the sentence (2) to change it into an interrogative sentence.

Similarly ‘what’ is put in (4) for the subject something in (3).

Generally, we use ‘who’ for persons and ‘what’ for things. The word order is the same as in the statement.

(B) Let’s study the following sentences:

(i) ‘Who’ as subject:

  1. Who keeps the accounts? (My father)
  2. Who took my camera? (Ramesh)

Questions about a part of an NP.

 The following two examples show us how to ask questions about elements that are inside Noun phrases:

(ii) ‘Whose’ as subject:

  1. The Principal’s car broke down.
  2. Whose car broke down?

(ii) ‘Which’ as subject:

The Utkal Express arrived first. Which train arrived first?

Note: When we seek information about a part of a Noun Phrase, the whole Noun Phrase moves to the beginning. This is true when the Noun Phrase is not in the subject position. Which of them is the eldest? (Rashmita)

(iv)  ‘What’ as subject:

  1. What caused the fire? (Fault in the electric line)
  2. What made him frightened? (An explosion)

(C). Look at the following sentence:

(a) What can you see? >(a bus) (you can see something)

(b) Who did you meet? >(Ramesh) (you met somebody)

In the above sentences ‘a bus’ (something)  is the object of the verb ‘can see’ and ‘Ramesh’, (somebody) is the object of the verb ‘did’ meet.

How to make Wh-questions?

Let’s look at the examples to see how Wh-questions are formed.

S.l No.. ExamplesType of Sentence
1You can see [a bus].Statement
2[What] can you see? Wh-questions

Steps for making Wh-Question.


You [can] see a bus.

We get the Wh-question in (b) by following the steps below:

StepsProcess of Formation of QuestionExample
Step-IPlace the auxiliary can in front of the subject[Can] you see a bus?
Step-IIReplace the object ‘bus’ with Wh-word i.e WhatCan you see [a bus]?
Can you see [what]?
Step-IIIPlace the Wh-word ‘What’ in front of the auxiliary can.Can you see [What]?
[What] can you see?


They [met] her father yesterday.

StepsProcess of Formation of QuestionExample
Step-IWe have taken the support of do in the absence of an auxiliary. (did+meet=Did)Did they [meet] her father yesterday?
Step-IIReplace the object ‘bus’ with Wh-word i.e whose / Who(m)Did they meet whose father /who(m) yesterday?
Step-IIIBring the Wh-words whose/ who(m) to the frontWhose father /whom(m) did they meet yesterday?


They helped [Hari] yesterday.

Step-I: Did they Hari [yesterday]?

Step-II: Did they help Hari [When]?

Step-III: [When] did they help Hari?


There [are] fifty students in the class.

Step-I: [Are] there [fifty students] in the class?

Step-II: Are there [how many students] in the class?

Step-III: [How many students] are there in the class?

*Study the above examples again and see how the statements have been changed into Wh-interrogatives.

List of wh-words used in questions

What-a person’s occupation or status, identity of thins, time, day , date, other creatures, color, etc.
Where-adverbial of place.
When -time
At what time– time
In which time– time
Whose –Possessive
How often –frequency adverbs
How long -duration/period of time
Since when-a particular time/point of time
Why -reason.


Make a question to which the italic part will be the answer:

  1. My father lives in this village.
  2. Shyam woke up suddenly.
  3. Something fell on the ground.
  4. The teacher spoke to your parents.
  5. Iron expands when heated.
  6. Children like sweets.
  7. Fifty is the half of one hundred.


Make questions using the word/ words given in brackets:

  1. The sky is blue . (What colour?)
  2. He has been waiting here for two hours. (How long?)
  3. Mr Patnaik lives about three kilometers away. (How far?)
  4. This gentleman comes from Puri. (Where?)
  5. I went to the temple with my mother. (who..?)
  6. We have been learning English for years. (How long?)
  7. This watch cost me five hundred rupees. (How much?)
  8. Anil goes to school on foot. (How?)
  9. I took Rama’s book by mistake. (Whose?)
  10. I write t my father twice a week. (How often?)


Based on each of the sentences below, form a question to which the part in italics will be the Answer:

  1. We are now going to the Samrat Cinema.
  2. A good student studies attentively.
  3. he carried his luggage on his back.
  4. he was running after gold and glory.
  5. He arrived at the station at 5 p.m.
  6. All of us liked your lecture.

Negative Interrogative

Look at the following ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ interrogative sentences:

Positive InterrogativeNegative Interrogative Sentence
Have you completed your work?Haven’t you completed your work?
Do the children like sweets?Don’t the children like sweets?

In the above sentences, the sentences in group ‘A‘ are positive interrogative  and those in  ‘B’  are negative interrogatives. The auxiliary verb + n’t is put at the beginning of the sentences.

We can write the negative interrogative in ‘two ways’.

 (i) Hasn’t he arrived yet?

(ii) Has he not arrived yet?

In spoken English sentence (i) is more usual . In answer to ‘negative question’ yes’ and ‘no’ are used according to the facts, not according to the form of the question.

(i) Didn’t you write to your father yesterday?

Yes, I wrote to him yesterday.

No, I didn’t have time to write.

(ii) Couldn’t you get into the theatre?

Yes, I got into the theatre?

No, I couldn’t get into the theatre. I didn’t have the tickets.


Write answers to the following negative questions:

  1. Haven’t you bought the books yet?
  2. Don’t you like football?
  3. Shouldn’t he be more polite?
  4. Can’t you do this work?
  5. Doesn’t he work hard?

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