A YES/NO QUESTION = A QUESTION THAT MAY BE ANSWERED BY YES OR NO. YES/NO QUESTIONS ARE ASKED USING BE , HAVE , DO , OR A MODAL VERB . YES/NO QUESTIONS ALWAYS BEGIN WITH ONE OF THESE VERBS AND CAN BE ANSWERED WITH A SIMPLE YES OR NO, OR WITH THE QUESTION REPEATED AS A STATEMENT. DEFINITION
BE Use the verb be to ask about identity, description, location, and present or past activities and situations. Identity / Description : You can use be plus a noun or adjective to ask about the identity or description of a person, place, or thing. Examples : Am I your best friend? Yes (you are). Is this interesting? No (it is not). Are these islands part of Greece? Yes (they are). Was his idea good? No (it wasn't). Were they happy? Yes (they were).
Location Be + a prepositional phrase asks about present or past location. Examples : Am I near your house? No (you aren't). Is he in Panamá? Yes (he is). Are we at the border yet? No (we're not). Was his apartment above a bakery? Yes (it was). Were the demonstrations downtown? No (they weren't).
Current activity / situation To ask about a current activity or situation, use the present progressive: present tense of be + present participle (verb+ing). Examples : Am I going with you and Tom? Yes (you are). Is England adopting the euro? No (it isn't). Are we seeing a play tonight? Yes (we are). Is she working today? No (she isn't).
Past activity / situation To ask about a past activity or situation, use the past progressive: past tense of be + present participle. Examples : Was it raining? Yes (it was). Was Anna cooking? No (she wasn't). Were the prisoners rebelling? Yes (they were). Were they singing? No (they weren't).
Past event To ask about something that happened to someone or something, use the passive voice: past tense of be + past participle (verb + ed or en): Examples : Was he given a reward? Yes (he was). Was I chosen? No (you weren't). Were you driven home in a taxi? Yes (we were). Were dinosaurs killed by meteors? No (they weren't).
HAVE Use the verb have to ask if some action has taken place or whether somebody has done something. Notice that the auxiliary verb have is in the present tense* and the main verb is always a past participle. *It is possible to ask a yes/no question with had, but this is done in very specific situations and will be explained in a future lesson. Examples : Has your brother left? No (he hasn't). Have you flown before? Yes (I have). Has the party started? Yes (it has). Have the guests eaten? No (they haven't).
DO Use the verb do to obtain facts about people, places, or things. Do is always followed by the subject and then a verb in the infinitive without to. Examples : Do they smoke? No (they don't). Does Bogotá get cold? Yes (it does). Did it work? No (it didn't). Do flying fish really fly? No (they don't). Does running hurt your knees? Yes (it does). Did teaching challenge you? Yes (it did).
MODALS Use modal verbs to obtain more information about possibilities or uncertainties. Modals are always followed by verbs in the infinitive without to. Examples : Can we stay? Yes (we can stay). Could this be true? Yes (it could be true). Should they stop? No (they shouldn't). May I help you? Yes (you may). Will it rain? No (it won't rain). Would you go with me? Yes (I would).
Remember: When asking a question with do or a modal verb, the main verb remains in the infinitive without to.
However, if there are two verbs in the infinitive after do, the second infinitive must use to.
Remember: It's impossible to ask a yes/no question without an auxiliary verb.
Note that there are several ways to answer yes/no questions, especially with contractions. Is he busy? No. No, he isn't. No, he's not. No, he is not. No, he isn't busy. No, he's not busy. No, he is not busy.