Interrogative Sentence

Interrogative Sentence - Definition/Explanation with Examples

An interrogative sentence asks a question; it helps us to seek clarifications, clear confusions and ask an explanation etc. Think about your everyday conversation with family and friends and the questions you put to them; or even the questions they ask you-

1) Where have you been?

2) Why are you not going to office today?

3) What is this?

4) Who has left the stove burning?

5) Whose bag is this?

6) When will the class get over?

7) Which dress are you wearing for the party?

8) How will you go there alone?

9) To whom does this belong?

10) Which is the best shop in town?

The above statements ask a question; expecting a satisfactory answer in reply. The statements start with a question word- Where, Why, What, Who, Whose, When, Which, How and Whom; followed by verb and the subject and ending with a question mark (?).

Now we will pick those statements from the above examples in which the question word itself serves as the subject-

  • Who has left the stove burning?
  • Whose bag is this?
  • To whom does this belong?
  • Which is the best shop in town?

In the above sentences, the question words – Who, Whose, Whom, Which; themselves serve as the subject.

Use of Helping Verbs/Auxiliary Verbs in Interrogative Sentences

Before we go through the use of Helping Verbs in forming Interrogative Sentences we will quickly go through few Auxiliary and Modal verbs, those are commonly used as Helping Verbs-

Auxiliary Verbs- is, were, be, are, been, was, has, had, have, does, did, do;

Modal Verbs- can, could, may, would, shall, should.

Now, go through the below example sentences and their explanation-

  • Why is the train late?

In the above sentence ‘is’ is the helping verb, which comes before the subject and the verb.

  • Where were you going? (Helping Verb- were)
  • Who will be preparing the lunch? (Helping Verb- be)
  • Where are my socks? (Helping Verb- are)
  • Have you been to college today? (Helping Verb- been, have)
  • Who was playing the guitar? (Helping Verb- was)
  • Has it delivered the message on time? (Helping Verb- has)
  • Who has not done the home work? (Helping Verb- has)
  • Have they informed their teacher? (Helping Verb- have)
  • Did you go to office today? (Helping Verb- did)

 

Going through some of the above examples we came across the statements which start with the ‘Helping Verb’ and are interrogative-

  • Have you been to college today?
  • Has it delivered the message on time?
  • Have they informed their teacher?
  • Did you go to office today?

The above sentences are interrogative i.e. they pose a clear question; though, they don’t have any question word. An interrogative sentence therefore not necessarily should have a question word, and can also be started with helping verbs.

Now we will form some interrogative sentences using Modal Verbs. Modal Verbs can be used to make requests, asking for a favor and expecting usually a simple answer- either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Please go through the below sentences using Modal verbs-

  • Can you go to the grocery store?
  • Could I leave now?
  • Could I leave now please? (Polite Question/Request)
  • May I go a little early today?
  • Would you like to have some coffee?
  • Shall I go to the party or not?

Therefore, interrogative sentences can very well be formed using the modal verbs; though they usually make a request or demand a Yes/No in reply, rather than an explanation.

Alternative Interrogative Sentences

Alternative Interrogative sentences give the listener an opportunity to choose from the options provided. Read the below sentence-

  • Do you live in your own house or a rented accommodation?

The above statement pose a question to the listener, asking where does he live; also providing him two options to choose from- 1) In his own house? or 2) in a rented accommodation?. The listener is free to choose from the given options, whichever is true.

 

Now consider some more examples of Alternative Interrogative Sentences-

  • Would you like to have tea or coffee?
  • Are you going to college or staying back home?
  • Is he angry or just irritated?
  • Are you feeling well or should I call the doctor?
  • Will you drop me home, or should I take a taxi?

Alternative Interrogative Sentences usually start with a Helping Verb (Auxiliary Verb or Modal Verb).

Tag Questions or Tagged Interrogative Sentences

A tag question is a question which when placed at the end of a sentence; makes it interrogative. For Example-

  • You are the monitor of the class, aren’t you?

‘you are the monitor of the class’ is a statement which is finally turned into a question by adding Tag Question- ‘Aren’t you?’

Some more examples of Tag Questions-

  • You were there when it happened, weren’t you?
  • He is very anxious about you, isn’t he?
  • They are leaving for New York tomorrow, aren’t they?
  • She cooked the meal for the guests, didn’t she?
  • Clean up the mess, won’t you?
  • There is no money in your bag, is there?
  • You don’t believe him, do you?
  • He is waiting for you, isn’t he?

In some of the above sentences the Tag question is formed by adding ‘not’ to the corresponding ‘helping verb’ in the statement-

Helping Verb ‘were’; Tag Question ‘were not’ or ‘weren’t’

Helping Verb ‘is’; Tag Question ‘is not’ or ‘isn’t’

Helping Verb ‘are’; Tag Question ‘are not’ or ‘aren’t

Though, some Tag Questions might be related to the helping Verbs, but it is not always true and you are advised to use your discretion and knowledge while forming ‘Tag Questions’.

Indirect Questions/Indirect Interrogative Questions

A Direct Interrogative Sentence tends to ask a direct question-

  • Are you coming to the movie?
  • Do you want to eat the dinner?
  • Will you be fine if I go alone?
  • Will you buy me a chocolate?

The above sentences are undoubtedly interrogative, and ask direct questions to the listener. But, there may be indirect Interrogative sentences which do not present direct questions; rather, they present an indirect question which is technically non interrogative. Please go through few indirect questions given below-

  • I was wondering if you are coming to the movie.
  • He asked me if I still wanted to eat the dinner.
  • I was wondering if you could buy me a chocolate.

Indirect Questions do not need to end with a question mark (?), as they do not formally represent a question; though they demand a response, still they are declarations rather than Questions.

Worksheet/Exercises/Activities on Interrogative Sentence with Answers

Fill in the Blanks/MCQs Exercises/Worksheet/Activities on Interrogative Sentences with Answers:

Complete the following Interrogative Sentences by filling in the blank space with an appropriate option provided. Check your answers with those provided at the end of the exercise.

1) _________ were you waiting for?

  1. a) will
  2. b) who
  3. c) why

2) _________ is your name?

  1. a) why
  2. b) who
  3. c) what

3) When _________ you pay the dues?

  1. a) will
  2. b) what
  3. c) who

4) Are you __________ today?

  1. a) gone
  2. b) going
  3. c) went

5) _________ your teacher come today?

  1. a) do
  2. b) does
  3. c) did

6) Can you _________ the National Anthem?

  1. a) sing
  2. b) sung
  3. c) singing

7) Will they be __________ to the party tomorrow?

  1. a) go
  2. b) going
  3. c) gone

8) _________ you call me?

  1. a) will
  2. b) if
  3. c) what

9) ________ the school open today?

  1. a) will
  2. b) would
  3. c) is

10) ________ you like to have some coffee?

  1. a) will
  2. b) could
  3. c) would

11) Would you like to have some tea _______ coffee?

  1. a) or
  2. b) nor
  3. c) for

12) _________ he just irritated or angry?

  1. a) why
  2. b) for
  3. c) is

13) Why are you _______ paying attention?

  1. a) if
  2. b) not
  3. c) will

14) _________ the kids happy?

  1. a) why
  2. b) where
  3. c) were

15) _________ has left the door open?

  1. a) why
  2. b) what
  3. c) who

Answers- 1)b, 2)c,3)a, 4)b, 5)c, 6)a, 7)b, 8)a, 9)c, 10)c, 11)a, 12)c, 13)b, 14)c, 15)c

Interrogative Sentences in Various Tenses

1) Interrogative Sentences in Present Simple Tense Form

Before we form Interrogative Sentences in Present Simple Tense form; we will go through few Positive sentences in Simple Present Tense form-

  • He studies in the college.
  • Children love toys.
  • He likes basket ball.
  • They calculate carefully.
  • She cooks nicely.

Now go through the Interrogative Sentences framed from the above sentences-

  • Did he study in the college?
  • Do the children love toys?
  • Does he like basket ball?
  • Do they calculate carefully?
  • Does she cook nicely?
  • Did it hurt?

Although the above sentences represent direct questions; but, a question word can also be added, as shown below-

  • Why did he study in the college?
  • Why do the children love toys?
  • How does she cook nicely?

The Structure/Formula for the Interrogative Sentences in Present Simple Tense form can thus be given as-

----  Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Object

----- Do/Does + Subject + Base form of the verb + Object

‘Do’ is used for subjects- we, I, you, they or a plural noun and

‘Does’ is used for subjects- he, she, it or a singular noun.

Note- While converting Positive Sentences into Interrogative ‘-s’ or ‘-es’ is removed from the verb.

For Example-

‘He likes coffee’, becomes ‘Does he like coffee?’

The –s is removed from the verb ‘likes’.

2) Interrogative Sentences in Present Continuous Form

Below given are some Positive Sentences in Present Continuous form-

  • I am going to college.
  • She is cooking the dinner.
  • They are going to the party.
  • He is writing a letter.
  • It is making noise.

It is interesting to note that the above sentences can be converted into interrogatives by simply interchanging the positions of auxiliary verbs and subjects, as shown below-

  • Am I going to the college?
  • Is she cooking the dinner?
  • Are they going to the party?
  • Is he writing a letter?
  • Is it making noise?

Also, if needed suitable question words can be added to the above interrogatives-

  • How am I going to college?
  • How is she cooking the dinner?
  • Why are they going to party?
  • Why is he writing a letter?
  • Why is it making noise?

Structural Formula for Interrogative Sentences in Present Continuous form-

----- Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb

----- (is/am/are) + Subject + Present Participle (Main Verb + ing)

3) Interrogative Sentences in Present Perfect Form

Go through the below given Positive Sentences in Present Continuous form-

  • I have paid the bills.
  • She has called me.
  • They have received the courier.
  • You have done a nice job.
  • He has made a wonderful house.

The above sentences can be easily converted into interrogative sentences by simply interchanging the auxiliary verb and the subject as shown below-

  • Have I paid the bills?
  • Has she called me?
  • Have they received the courier?
  • Have you done a nice job?
  • Has he made a wonderful house?

Structural Formula for Interrogative Sentences in Present Perfect form is-

---  Auxiliary Verb + subject + Main Verb + Object

---  Have/Has + subject + Past Participle + Object

If the subject is he, she, it or a singular noun then auxiliary Verb ‘has’ is used and if the subject is we, they, you, I or a plural noun- ‘have’ is used an auxiliary verb.

Also, question words may also be added to the Interrogative sentences-

  • Why has she called me?
  • How has he made a wonderful house?

4) Interrogative Sentences in Present Perfect Continuous Form

First go through the following Positive Sentences in Present Perfect Continuous form-

  • He has been working in the company for ten years.
  • She has been living in the same house since 2011.
  • They have been waiting for you since morning.
  • He has been calling her for five days.
  • I have been sitting here since afternoon.

The above sentences can be converted into interrogative, interchanging auxiliary verb with the subject as shown below-

  • Has he been working in the company for ten years?
  • Has she been living in the same house since 2011?
  • Have they been waiting for you since morning?
  • Has he been calling her for five days?
  • Have I been sitting here since afternoon?

The structural formula for the above sentences is-

---  Has/Have + Subject + ‘been’ + Present Participle (verb + ing) + Time reference

‘Has’ is used for the subjects- he, she, it or a singular noun;

‘Have’ is used for the subjects- we, they, I, you or a plural noun.

Also, appropriate question words can be added if required-

  • Why has she been living in the same house since 2011?
  • Why has he been calling her for five days?
  • How have I been sitting here since afternoon?

5) Interrogative Sentences in Simple Past Form

Go through the following Affirmative Sentences in Simple Past form-

  • I wrote a letter.
  • He caught a bus to his native.
  • She went to the grocery store.
  • They hurried to the station.
  • We cleaned our house.

Please note that in the above sentences, past form of the verb is used- wrote, caught, went etc; but for converting to Interrogative Sentences we will change the verb into its simple form and start the statement with the auxiliary verb- ‘did’-

---  Did + Subject + First form of the verb + Object

  • Did I write a letter?
  • Did he catch a bus to his native?
  • Did she go to the grocery store?
  • Did they hurry to the station?
  • Did we clean our house?

If needed question words can also be added-

  • How did I write a letter?
  • How did he catch a bus to his native?
  • Why did she go to the grocery store?
  • Why did they hurry to the station?
  • Why did we clean our house?

6) Interrogative Sentences in Past Continuous Form

Go through the following Affirmative Sentences in Past Continuous form-

  • He was driving to the office.
  • She was cooking the dinner.
  • They were laughing loudly.
  • We were leaving for the party.
  • She was smiling on the joke.

The structural formula for converting the above sentences into Interrogative is-

--- Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Present Participle (Main verb + ing) + Object

  • Was he driving to office?
  • Was she cooking the dinner?
  • Were they laughing loudly?
  • Were we leaving for the party?
  • Was she smiling on the joke?

If needed question words can also be added-

  • Why was he driving to office?
  • Why was she cooking the dinner?
  • Why were they laughing loudly?
  • Why was she smiling on the joke?

7) Interrogative Sentences in Past Perfect Form

Go through the below Affirmative Sentences in Past Perfect form-

  • She had cooked the dinner for the guests.
  • He had eaten a lot at the party.
  • They had changed their car.
  • I had completed my work on time.
  • You had left before I reached.

The Structure/Formula for converting the above Affirmative Sentences into Interrogative Past Perfect form is-

-- Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Object

-- Had + Subject + Past Participle + Object

 

  • Had she cooked the dinner for the guests?
  • Had he eaten a lot at the party?
  • Had they changed their car?
  • Had I completed my work on time?
  • Had you left before I reached?

Wherever needed suitable question words can also be added to the Interrogatives -

  • Why had she cooked the dinner for the guests?
  • Why had he eaten a lot at the party?
  • Why had they changed their car?

8) Interrogative Sentences in Past Perfect Continuous Form

First go through the following Affirmative Sentences in Past Perfect Continuous form-

  • He had been looking for you.
  • She had been studying since morning.
  • They had been reporting the issue for two years.
  • I had been driving since morning.
  • We had been laughing on the joke.

The Structure/Formula for converting the above sentences into Interrogative is-

---  Auxiliary Verb + Subject + ‘been’ + Present Participle (Base form + ing) + Object

We get the following Interrogative sentences by applying the above formula-

  • Had he been looking for you?
  • Had she been studying since morning?
  • Had they been reporting the issue for two years?
  • Had I been driving since morning?
  • Had we been laughing on the joke?

9) Interrogative Sentences in Future Simple From

Consider the following Affirmative Sentences in Future Simple Tense form-

  • She will go there tomorrow.
  • He will read the book in evening.
  • They will pay the dues today.
  • We will leave for New York soon.
  • I will complete the work on time.

While forming Interrogative sentences from the above examples; the sentence is started with the auxiliary verb ‘will’, but the verb form- base form, remains the same.

  • Will she go there tomorrow?
  • Will he read the book in the evening?
  • Will they pay the dues today?
  • Will we leave for New York soon?
  • Will I complete the work on time?

Structure Formula for Interrogative Sentences in Future Simple form is-

---  Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Object

---  Will + Subject + Base form of the verb + Object

Question words as usual may be added as given below-

  • Why will she go there tomorrow?
  • How will he read the book in the evening?
  • How will they pay the dues today?

10) Interrogative Sentences in Future Continuous Form

First go through some of the sentences in Future Continuous form-

  • She will be cooking dinner.
  • He will be singing at the concert.
  • They will be going to the party.
  • I will be leaving for my home tomorrow.
  • It will be cleaning the floor.

Again the above sentences can easily be converted into interrogatives by simply interchanging the auxiliary verb and subject as shown below-

  • Will she be cooking dinner?
  • Will he be singing at the concert?
  • Will they be going to the party?
  • Will I be leaving for my home tomorrow?
  • Will it be cleaning the floor?

Structure/Formula for Interrogative Sentences in Future Continuous form is-

---  Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main verb + Object

---  Will + Subject + Present Participle (Base form + ing) + Object

As needed, suitable question words can also be added-

  • When will he be singing at the concert?
  • When will they be going to the party?
  • When will it be cleaning the floor?

11) Interrogative Sentences in Future Perfect Form

First, go through the following Affirmative Sentences in Future Perfect form-

  • She will have cooked the dinner by then.
  • They will have played the tournament.
  • I will have taken my book.
  • He will have applied for the job.
  • You will have cleaned the floor.

The Interrogative sentences can be formed by inter-replacing the auxiliary verb- ‘will’ and the subject; as shown below-

  • Will she have cooked the dinner by then?
  • Will they have played the tournament?
  • Will I have taken my book?
  • Will he have applied for the job?
  • Will you have cleaned the floor?

Structure/Formula for Interrogative Sentences in Future Perfect form is-

---  Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Object

---  Will + Subject + Past Participle + Object

12) Interrogative Sentences in Future Perfect Continuous Form

First go through some Affirmative sentences in Future Perfect Continuous form-

  • They will have been working in the factory for past ten years.
  • She will have been living here for five years.
  • He will have been playing since morning.
  • The kids will have been studying since 7 A.M.
  • We will have been driving since afternoon.

Again the above sentences can easily be converted into Interrogative by simply interchanging the places of auxiliary verb and the subject; as shown below-

  • Will they have been working in the factory for past ten years?
  • Will she have been living here for five years?
  • Will he have been playing since morning?
  • Will the kids have been studying since 7 A.M?
  • Will we have been driving since afternoon?

Structure/Formula for Interrogative Sentences in Future Continuous form is-

---  Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Object

---  Will + Subject + Present Participle (First form of verb + ing) + Object

Conversion to Interrogative Sentences Exercises/Worksheet/Activities with Answers

Exercises Worksheet/Activities on Affirmative to Interrogative Sentences in Present/Past/Future Forms with Answers:

Convert the following Affirmative Present Simple sentences into Interrogative Sentences in Present/Past/Future forms by filling in the sentences with appropriate choice provided. Check your answer with those provided at the end of the exercise-

1) He plays basketball. (Affirmative)

________ he play basketball? (Interrogative)

  1. a) does
  2. b) did
  3. c) could

2) She likes chocolates. (Affirmative)

Does she ___________ chocolates? (Interrogative)

  1. a) likes
  2. b) liked
  3. c) like

3) They go to the college regularly. (Affirmative)

________ they go to the college regularly? (Interrogative)

  1. a) does
  2. b) do
  3. c) will

4) The sun sets in the west?

__________ the sun set in the West?

  1. a) did
  2. b) do
  3. c) why

5) ________ I ask you your name?

  1. a) does
  2. b) do
  3. c) did

6) I am going to school today. (Affirmative)

______ going to school today? (Interrogative)

  1. a) am I
  2. b) will I
  3. c) would I

7) He is studying for the exams. (Affirmative)

Is he __________ for the exams? (Interrogative)

  1. a) study
  2. b) studied
  3. c) studying

8) They are going to the movie. (Affirmative)

________ to the movie? (Interrogative)

  1. a) will they going
  2. b) are they going
  3. c) have they gone

9) He is playing cricket. (Affirmative)

________ playing cricket? (Interrogative)

  1. a) is he
  2. b) has he been
  3. c) was he

10) She is waiting for you. (Affirmative)

______ waiting for you? (Interrogative)

  1. a) had she been
  2. b) didn’t she
  3. c) is she

11) You have prepared the dinner. (Affirmative)

_________ prepared the dinner? (Interrogative)

  1. a) had you
  2. b) have you
  3. c) would you

12) They have played in the tournament. (Affirmative)

Have they __________ in the tournament?

  1. a) play
  2. b) playing
  3. c) played

13) She has performed very well. (Affirmaive)

_________ performed very well? (Interrogative)

  1. a) has she
  2. b) did she
  3. c) could she

14) He has studied well for exams.

_________ studied well for the exams?

  1. a) did he
  2. b) has he
  3. c) will he

15) The kids have completed the homework.

________ the kids completed the homework?

  1. a) had
  2. b) has
  3. c) have

16) You have been studying since morning. (Affirmative)

________ you been studying since morning? (Interrogative)

  1. a) had
  2. b) has
  3. c) have

17) He has been working in the factory for five years. (Affirmative)

___________ working in the factory for five years? (Interrogative)

  1. a) has he been
  2. b) had he been
  3. c) will he be

18) The kids have been playing since morning. (Affirmative)

__________ been playing since morning? (Interrogative)

  1. a) have the kids
  2. b) had the kids
  3. c) will the kids

19) I ate a pie. (Affirmative)

Did I ________ a pie? (Interrogative)

  1. a) ate
  2. b) eaten
  3. c) eat

20) I walked to my office. (Affirmative)

________ I walk to my office? (Interrogative)

  1. a) do
  2. b) did
  3. c) can

21) He was calling your name. (Affirmative)

________ calling your name? (Interrogative)

  1. a) was he
  2. b) will he
  3. c) he was

22) They were going fast. (Affirmative)

________ going fast? (Interrogative)

  1. a) were they
  2. b) did they
  3. c) will they be

23) She had been cooking for three hours. (Affirmative)

____________ been cooking for past three hours?

  1. a) have she been
  2. b) had she been
  3. c) did she been

24) He had been studying since morning. (Affirmative)

________ studying since morning?

  1. a) had he been
  2. b) has he be
  3. c) could he be

25) The kids will be playing in the park. (Affirmative)

___________ be playing in the park? (Interrogative)

  1. a) would the kids
  2. b) will the kids
  3. c) could the kids

26) You are a good boy. (Affirmative)

You are a good boy, ________? (Interrogative)

  1. a) aren’t you
  2. b) wasn’t you
  3. c) can’t you

27) He is going to office. (Affirmative)

He is going to office, ________? (Interrogative)

  1. a) wasn’t he
  2. b) couldn’t he
  3. c) isn’t he

28) They were looking for you. (Affirmative)

They were looking for you, ________? (Interrogative)

  1. a) wasn’t they
  2. b) weren’t they
  3. c) couldn’t they

29) She wrote the letter to the principal. (Affirmative)

She wrote the letter to the principal, _________? (Interrogative)

  1. a) wasn’t he
  2. b) didn’t she
  3. c) can’t she

30) He would have got the medal. (Affirmative)

He would have got the medal, __________? (Interrogative)

  1. a) couldn’t he
  2. b) wouldn’t he
  3. c) wasn’t he

Answers- 1)a, 2)c, 3)b, 4)a, 5)c, 6)a, 7)c, 8)b, 9)a, 10)c, 11)b, 12)c, 13)a, 14)b, 15)c, 16)c, 17)a,18)a, 19)c, 20)b, 21)a, 22)a, 23)b, 24)a, 25)b, 26)a, 27)c, 28)b, 29)b, 30)b