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Questions in English: How to form them easily

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Forming questions in English is confusing.

Lots of English learners wonder how to make a question with proper English grammar. Here’s how!

Today I’m going to teach you a simple method that works for asking any questions in almost ALL the verb tenses.

This question formation formula is called QUASM:

QU estion word
A uxiliary verb
S ubject
M ain verb

Look how QUASM works for forming questions in the following verb tenses:

Simple Present Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB
Where do you work?
What does Martha think about the project?
How do you like your new apartment?
How many kids does Bob have?

 

Simple Past Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB
How did they learn English so fast?
When did you get home from work yesterday?
What did the manager think about your idea?
Where did you buy that T-shirt?

 

Present Continuous Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB
What are you doing at the moment?
Why is he ignoring me?
What time are we meeting up for dinner?
Who is she dating now?

 

Past Continuous Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB
Who were you talking to on the phone?
What was Jim doing when you called?
Why were the children eating candy before dinner?
How was he feeling after the surgery?

 

Present Perfect Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB
How much money have you spent on clothes this month?
How long has your teacher worked at this school?
What have they been doing all day?
How long has the client been waiting for their order?

Future Tense Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB
Who will you invite to the party?
What will your parents think about your plan?
When are you going to clean your room?
Why is she going to quit her job?

 

Modal Questions:

QUESTION WORD AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT MAIN VERB
What would you do if you had a million dollars?
How could we improve our English?
Where should I go on my next vacation?

 

Exceptions to this way of forming questions:

There are exceptions that don’t follow this pattern of question formation.

Yes/No questions do not use a question word…

…but they still follow ASM (Auxiliary verb – Subject – Main verb)

  • Do you like bananas?
  • Did you enjoy the movie?
  • Are you studying English?
  • Were you sleeping when I called you last night?
  • Have you finished your homework?
  • Will you call me when you get home?
  • Are you going to accept the job offer?
  • Should we take the early morning flight?

Questions where the main verb is “be” also don’t follow the pattern:

  • Are you thirsty?
  • Is she a teacher?
  • Were your parents angry when you failed the test?
  • Was her ex-boyfriend a basketball player?

Reported questions, indirect questions, and subject questions also do not follow QUASM.

Now you know how to make questions in English! Any questions for me?

I recommend trying to make a question with each of the verb tenses covered in this lesson. Just follow the QUASM pattern of question formation and you’ll be sure to have correct grammar.

Learn more: 100 answers to common English questions

Quiz: Asking Questions in English

Choose the correct form for each question. Good luck!
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