Yes No Questions in the English Language

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By Guruji Sunil Chaudhary

Hello Dear English Learners, This post is being created with the Collaboration of TAMS Studies – World Class English Language Academy. In this post, we are going to talk about ‘Yes/No Questions’, Their Format, Their Usage and Some Common Sentences which you learn ad practice to make your life better.

Yes No Questions in the English Language

These sentences are called Yes/No Questions because their answer is always in a Yes or a No.

These Sentences always start with Auxiliaries or Modal Auxiliaries

List of Auxiliaries and Modal Auxiliaries:

  1. Do
  2. Did
  3. Are
  4. Is
  5. Am
  6. Was
  7. Were
  8. Are
  9. Have
  10. Has
  11. Had
  12. Will
  13. Would
  14. Can
  15. Could
  16. Shall
  17. Should
  18. May
  19. Might

Examples of Yes No Questions:

  • Have you learnt Yes No Questions?
  • Do you understand the English language?
  • Is your homework completed?
  • Are you going to enjoy this book?
  • Am I going to bear this?
  • Was he about to leave when you reached?
  • Were they listening to what you were speaking?
  • Will you pay for me?
  • Would you like to have a cup of coffee?
  • Shall we eat?
  • Should you go there often?
  • May I go to drink water?
  • Might they have gone to the program?
  • Can she complete this project?
  • Could you please help me?

You need to understand all these sentences start with a helping verb. And then the subject comes.

The answer to these questions is always in a Yes or a No. However, the person can add details.

Some More Examples of Yes No Questions in the English Language.

  1. Do you like vanilla ice cream? (answer: yes or no)
  2. Have you ever seen a ghost? (answer: yes or no)
  3. Is she working very hard?
  4. Were they travelling together?
  5. Does that taste okay?
  6. Did you go to the concert?
  7. Have they eaten yet?
  8. Had they visited Rome before?
  9. Could you help me lift this?
  10. Should I open the window?
  11. Do you usually walk to work?
  12. Did you like disco music in the 70s?
  13. Is this phone call being recorded?
  14. Has the garden been looked after while you were away?
  15. Should we have been writing this down?Is the weather nice in Turkey in the winter?
  16. Was she angry when you told her about the accident?
  17. Have you an identity card? (formal)
  18. Do you have an identity card? (neutral)
  19. Have you got an identity card? (informal)
  20. Did you have your glasses with you when you left the car?
  21. Had you got your glasses with you when you left the car? (less common)
  22. Would you like to play tennis with me later?

Responding to yes-no questions

Other ways of saying yes and no include yeah, yep, mm, okay, and nah, nope. These are informal:

A:Would you like to play tennis with me later?
B:Okay. (meaning yes)
A:Have you seen Greg?
B:Nope. (meaning no)

We can also give more than just a yes or no answer. We sometimes add more information:

A:Can I grow potatoes in a pot?
B:Yeah. They grow really well in pots.
A:Will you be going to Ryan’s party?
B:No. I’m actually going to be away on Friday night.

Sometimes we don’t use yes or no as a reply but the answer that we give means yes or no:

A:Do you know Tina Gomez?
B:We’ve known each other for years. We went to the same school. (meaning yes)
A:Do you have the Thrills latest album?
B:I’m afraid we’ve just sold the last one! (meaning no)

We sometimes respond using the auxiliary verb from the question instead of yes and no:

A:Hey Tim, did you go fishing today?
B:I didI went with the boys.
A:Has Jason had breakfast?
B:He hasn’tHe’s still in bed.

Negative yes-no questions

We usually use negative yes-no questions to check or confirm something we believe or expect to be the case, or when we consider that something is the best thing to do:

  • Isn’t that Pauline’s car? (I’m pretty sure that this is correct. I’m asking for confirmation.)Shouldn’t we be leaving? (I think that we should leave now.)

We form negative yes-no questions with not. We usually use the contraction n’t. If we use not in its full form, the question sounds very formal:

  • Isn’t that the oldest building on this street?

When using the full form not, the order auxiliary + subject (s) + not is more common than auxiliary + not + subject:

[AUX][s]Is that [not]not the oldest building in this street? (formal) (preferred to [the very formal] Is not that the oldest building on this street?)

We can use negative yes-no questions to make invitations, offers and complaints stronger:

  • Won’t you stay for dinner? (invitation; stronger than Will you stay for dinner?)
  • Wouldn’t you like another coffee? (offer; stronger than Would you like another coffee?)
  • Can’t the manager do something about the noise? (complaint; stronger than Can the manager do something about the noise?)

Intonation and yes-no questions

The intonation of yes-no questions is normally either rising [rising arrow] or fall-rising [down up arrow] intonation depending on the meaning. If we do not know the answer, we use rising intonation. If we more or less know the answer and are looking for confirmation, we use fall-rising intonation:

  • Are you warm enough?
  • Did you once live in Ireland? (I think the answer is yes.)

We often use fall-rising intonation with yes-no questions when asking a number of questions together:

A: You’re living in Bayswater? [Question 1]
B: Yeah. That’s right.
A: Are you renting your house? [Question 2]
B: Yeah, we are.
A: Is it expensive? [Question 3]
B: It’s not very expensive for somewhere so near the city centre.

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