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What Means . . . ?
by Jennifer

    “Please, where Teacher Jennifer is?  Room 2?  Please, where Room 2 is?”  All three of these questions would be wrong on a test.  Why?  The words aren't in the right order.  In English, most of us learn the simple sentence pattern first:  Article + Subject + Verb + Complement/Object.  But this is not the right order for most questions.  Their pattern is reversed.  It's Verb first, Subject second.  So the questions above should be “Please, where is Teacher Jennifer?”  (verb follows question word)  “Please, where is Room 2?”  Questions need to have the verb first!

    Not only in the present but also in the present progressive tense do we write questions.  (note use of inverted/reversed verb in this example essay linking sentence)  We use the present progressive tense to describe something that is happening right now, e.g., I am writing right now.  Where did the extra verb come from?  In this tense, to be correct, main verbs need an extra verb, called a helping verb.  Helping verbs are, was, were, do, does, did, have, has, had for past perfect, can, could, should, would, might, can, and others. We often use these helping verbs to make questions.

    Examples of these helping verbs in questions are, “Is L teaching today?  Are Tazim  and Cheryl working in the Lab?  Do we need to bring our plates to our Recognition Night party?  Have we ordered enough graduation gowns for January 2012?    Each of these questions uses a helping verb first, while in the first paragraph questions, we used a question word first.  Both kinds of questions are right!  Now, let's practice making questions using the following word prompts.  Use your own question words, but I've supplied some helping verbs in parentheses.

lunch, George, eat (did)

summer, Jayne A., spending (is)

Voldemort, Hermione, frozen (has) (Harry Potter books)

Spiderman, girlfriend, love (does)

beach, sand, sit (can)

lecturer, hear, today (will)

cat, food, meows (is)

corn on the cob, summer dinners, munch (eat)

Verb first!

Other websites to look at for questions and practice are:

Question Words
On p. 1 go to tab “Grammar-E” and look at Question Words, Sentence Structure, and Verbs

Wh Questions

ELC Study Zone Simple Present WH- Questions


(August 21, 2011)

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