53 Yes/No Questions

Syntax

In English there are two main types of questions: Yes/No Questions and Wh- Questions.

Yes/No Questions are also called Closed Questions or Polar Questions because the answer to them can only be Yes or No. The answers to closed questions are called Short Answers.

The Yes/No Questions have this structure:
Auxiliary/modal verb + subject + noun/verb + question mark
.

QUESTION SHORT ANSWER
Do you…? Yes, I do./ Yes, we do.

No, I don’t./ No we don’t.

Does he…? Yes, he does.

No, he doesn’t.

Can we…? Yes, we can.

No, we can’t.

Have you got…? Yes, I have./ Yes, we have.

No, I haven’t./ No, we haven’t.

Has he got…? Yes, he has.

No, he hasn’t.

Would you like…? Yes, I would./ Yes, we would.

No, I wouldn’t./ No, we wouldn’t.

Were you…? Yes, I was./Yes, we were.

No, I wasn’t./  No, we weren’t.

Was it…? Yes, it was.

No, it wasn’t.

Did they…? Yes, they did.

No, they didn’t.

The Short answers have this structure:
Yes/No + subject + auxiliary/modal verb
(the same as the verb of the question).

  • Do you like postcards? – Yes, I do. (NOT: Yes, I like.)
  • Did she go by car? – No, she didn’t.
  • Were you at the bus station yesterday? – Yes, we were.

To create a Closed Question the only verbs allowed are auxiliary (be, have, do, etc.) or modal verbs (can, could, would, etc).

We usually repeat an auxiliary or a modal verb in a Short Answer. It is not necessary to repeat a verb itself.

We call Yes/No Questions, Closed Questions or Polar Questions as the answer can only be Yes or No. The answer to these questions is called a short answer.

  • The structure of a Yes/No question is:
    Auxiliary/modal verb + subject + noun/verb  + question mark (?) (e.g. Do you like cats?);
  • Short answers are structured in this way:
    Yes/No + subject + auxiliary/modal verb (the same as the verb of the question) (e.g. Yes, I do.).

For example:
— “Do you like cats? -Yes, I do.” = Since the question has been asked with the verb to do (Do you like cats?), the short answer will contain the same verb (Yes, i do).

NOTE: We can only use an auxiliary (have/be…) or a modal verb (can/could /would...) in order to create a Yes/No question.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.