Question Mark and Question Tags: Interrogative Sentences and Meaning and Examples of Interrogative Sentences

Question Mark and Question Tags: Interrogative Sentences and Meaning and Examples of Interrogative Sentences

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Learning Pundits Content Team

Written on Sep 29, 2017 8:16:31 PM

Grammar Rules with 6 Tips on using Interrogative Sentences

Looking for Questions instead of tips? - You can directly jump to English Grammar Test Questions on Interrogative Sentences (Questions)

What is an Interrogative?

An Interrogative is a type of sentence which usually asks a question or requests information and ends with a question mark (?).

An interrogative sentence usually begins with:

a)    A question word such as what, who, where, which or how. Example: What is your name?

b)    An auxiliary verb such as do/does, can or would. Example: Do you speak English?

Formation of Interrogative Sentences

1.    From an assertive sentence in the simple present tense: Do (for I, You and Plurals)/Does (Singular) + subject + present tense form of the verb.

Meera sings a song. (Assertive)

Does Meera sing a song? (Interrogative)

2.    From an affirmative sentence that contains the auxiliaries is, am, are, has or have, can, may, will, shall etc, the interrogative sentence will begin with these words.

She is a doctor. (Affirmative)

Is she a doctor? (Interrogative)

3.    If the interrogative sentence is in the negative, we begin it with do not or does not. Example: Don’t you want to come with us?

Types of Interrogatives:

1. Yes/No interrogatives are questions that can be answered with a yes or a no response. Example: Are you ready to go? (Yes I am ready to go) Did you go to the game Friday night?

2.    Alternative interrogatives are questions that provide for two or more alternative answers. Example: Would you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Should I call or email you?

3.    Wh-interrogative sentences begin with a wh-word and call for an open-ended answer. They begin with what, when, where, who, whom, which, whose, why and how. The answer can be a simple response or complex explanation. Example: What are you doing? Which songs do you like best?

4.    Tag questions are questions attached or tagged onto the ending of a declarative statement. They transform a declarative sentence into an interrogative sentence. Example: You live in the city, don’t you? We need to get going now, don’t we?

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Tips on using Interrogatives:

Tip 1: Direct & Indirect Interrogative

Direct questions normally use inverted word order (verb before subject) and end with a question mark.


When is she coming for dinner?

Indirect questions normally do not use inverted word order and do not end with a question mark.


I wonder when she is coming for dinner.

An indirect question can form part of an interrogative sentence.


Can you tell me what material she likes?

(Direct-question version: What material does she like?)

Tip 2: Interrogative with Auxiliary Verb

If the verb is an auxiliary verb, the interrogative is formed without the auxiliary do/does/did: Is Brinda in his office? (Brinda is in office)

Can I talk to you?

If the verb is 'normal', the interrogative is formed with the auxiliary do/does/did. After an auxiliary verb, the verb is added in the infinitive without to:

Do you like that album?

Did she see the movie?

In both cases, the sentence is formed by inverting the first auxiliary verb:

She is writing. -> Is she writing?

Note: The 'normal' verb to do is also conjugated with the auxiliary do/does/did:

Did you do it?

Tip 3: W-H Interrogative

Form Wh-questions:

 wh- + an auxiliary verb (be, do or have) + subject + main verb

When are you leaving?

 wh- + a modal verb + subject + main verb:

What has she done now?

When what, who, which or whose is the subject or part of the subject, we do not use the auxiliary. We use the word order subject + verb:

Who wants an ice cream?

Who doesn’t want an ice cream?

Tip 4: How

‘How’ can be used to form questions in many different ways. 

1.    Used by itself to mean "in what way".

How do you start the car?

2.    With adjectives to ask about the degree of an attribute.

How old is your house?

3.    With ‘much’ and ‘many’ to ask about quantity.

How many people are coming to the party? (many is used with countable nouns.)

How much flour do I need? (much is used with uncountable nouns)

4.    With other adverbs to ask about the frequency or degree of an action.

How quickly can you drive the car?

Tip 5: What, Which

1.    What, which: are used to ask questions about people or objects and in most cases can be replaced by each other.

2.    Which: is used to ask about a fixed/limited number of things/people or when the options are visible or known to the speaker.

3.    Which flavor of ice cream do you want? (The speaker knows about the choices offered or available)

4.    What: is used to ask about things/people without the limitation or knowledge of the choices offered.

5.    What do you want for dessert? (The speaker doesn’t know)

Tip 6: Who, Whom, Whose

Who: is used to refer to the subject of a sentence, i.e., subject pronoun like "he," "she" and "we"

a)    I see you.

b)    Who sees you?

Whom: refers to the object and object pronoun like "him," "her" and "us." 

a)    I see you.

b)    I see whom? Or whom do I see?

Whose: is used to refer to possessive pronoun like "his," "her" and "our.”

Whose camera is this?

If the interrogative pronoun is a subject, there is no inversion:

Who told you this? (she told me this)

If the interrogative pronoun is an object, there is inversion:

Who(m) are you talking to? (..talking to him)

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Spot the Errors:

Each of the following questions will contain a mistake in the usage of Interrogatives. See if you can spot that mistake.


Rahul asked whether anybody had seen his laptop? (Incorrect)

Rahul asked whether anybody had seen his laptop. (Correct)


Do have you seen my book? (Incorrect)

Have you seen my book? (Correct)


Did Rajesh called to you? (Incorrect)

Did Rajesh call you? (Correct)


Who does want a sandwich for breakfast? (Incorrect)

Who wants a sandwich for breakfast? (Correct)


How many water should I add to the curry? (Incorrect)

How much water should I add to the curry? (Correct)


What hand do you write with? (Incorrect)

Which hand do you write with? (Correct)


Who you fear the most? (Incorrect)

Whom do you fear the most? (Correct)


Whom is in the kitchen? (Incorrect)

Who is in the kitchen? (Correct)


Who did he blame for the accident? (Incorrect)

Whom did he blame for the accident? (Correct)


Whom cell phone keeps ringing? (Incorrect)

Whose cell phone keeps ringing? (Correct)

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Question Mark and Question Tags: Interrogative Sentences and Meaning and Examples of Interrogative Sentences


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