Unit 11.1

Yes or No Questions

Syntax

Yes or 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.

To create a closed-ended question, only auxiliary (behavedo) or modal verbs (cancouldwould…) can be used.

Yesno questions have this structure:
Auxiliary/modal verb + subject + noun/verb + …?

The short answers have this structure:
Yes/no + subject + auxiliary/modal verb (the same as the question)

We usually repeat the auxiliary or the modal verb in the short answer (it is not necessary to repeat the verb itself).

The Yes-no questions and short answers are are:

QuestionAffirmative Short AnswerNegative 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.
 Are you…?Yes, I am.No, I‘m not.
 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.
  • Do you like the president? – Yes, I do. / Yes, I like. – No, I don’t.
  • Did she go to the hospital? – Yes, she did. – No, she didn’t.
  • Were you at church today? – Yes, we were. – No, we weren’t.

We use yes or no questions when we expect that the answer will be either yes (affirmative) or no (negative).

Yes or no questions can only have yes or no as an answer.

The structure of a yes or no question is: Auxiliary or modal verb followed by a subject and a noun or a verb (the sentence ends with a question mark).

The structure of short answers is: Yes or no followed by a comma followed by the subject and an auxiliary or modal verb (the same as in the question).

For example:
— “Do you like cats? – Yes, I do.” = Yes/no questions are also called closed questions, and since the question has been asked with the auxiliary verb to do, the short answer will contain it.
♦ “Whose cat is this?” = Wh- questions are also called open questions because you can give an infinite number of answers.

NOTE: We can only use an auxiliary (be/have…) or a modal verb (can/could /would…) to create a yes or 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.

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