The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 4

Yes/No
Questions

11
C h a p t e r

Clear charts and examples
are used throughout and
make it easy to understand
each grammar point.

Introduction
In this chapter, we begin our treatment of questions in English. English speakers have a
profusion of question types available. Here are some of them.
Question Type

Example

1. Yes/no question (sometimes called a
polar question)

Is dinner ready yet?

2. Statement-form question (statement
syntax accompanied by rising
intonation)

You come from texas?

3. Negative yes/no question

Shouldn't we send a card?

4. Focused question (with a stressed
element)

Was it Nicóle who won the Oscar?

5. Wh-question (which typically uses a
wh-question word-e.g., who, what,
where-to seek specific information)

What movie is playing downtown?

6. Negative wh-question

Why doesn't he stop barking?

7. Question tag, negative tag

traffic is heavy at this time of day, isn't it?

8. Question tag, affirmative tag

You didn't go, did you?

9. alternative question (also called
a choice question; it has a special
intonation contour)

Would you rather live in the city or the
country?

10. rhetorical "question"

haven't we had enough conflict?

11. exclamatory "question"

are you kidding!

12. Indirect question

I wonder if we should start.

Of course, it is questionable to call all of these questions in the interrogative mood sense
of asking someone something. Certainly, there are questions that don't seek information,
and there are statements that do (de Ruiter, 2012). To prove this point and to deal with this
assortment of question types, we will spread our coverage over three chapters. The first four
types will be dealt with in this chapter; types 5 and 6 will be covered in Chapter 13; types
7-11 will be handled in Chapter 14; and type 12 will not be discussed much until Chapter 33,
when we take up other forms of indirect or reported speech. We begin with question type 1.
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