Unit 11.1

Wh- Questions in Past form

Syntax

Wh- questions always begin with one of the wh- question words (interrogative pronouns), which show what kind of information is wanted {see Wh- Questions, A1 Level}.

We can also use the wh-questions to ask questions about the past.

The wh- question words are: when, where, why, which, what, whose, who, whom and how.

To ask questions about the past, it is sufficient to conjugate the verb in the past form:

  • With an auxiliary verb:
    Wh- question word + auxiliary verb (past form) + subject + verb +…?
  • Without an auxiliary verb:
    What/Who + verb (past form) + …?
    Which/Whose + noun + verb (past form) + …?
  • With a modal verb:
    Wh- question word + modal verb (past form) + subject + verb + …?
    Wh- question word + auxiliary verb (past form) + subject + modal verb + verb + …?

With an auxiliary verb

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • Where did you travel last year?
  • Why did you buy a new car?

Without an auxiliary verb

  • What broke the PC?
  • Who called the police?
  • Whose phone rang?

With a modal verb

  • What could I do at that moment?
  • Why did you need to judge everyone?
  • How should he tell her he is a prince?

We can use wh-questions words to form questions about the past.

We can form questions about the past starting with one of the wh- question words.

They are: when, where, why, which, what, whose, who, whom and how.

To ask questions about the past, it is sufficient to conjugate the verb in the past form:

  • With an auxiliary verb:
    Wh- question word + auxiliary verb (past form) + subject + verb +…?
  • Without an auxiliary verb:
    What/Who + verb (past form) + …?
    Which/Whose + noun + verb (past form) + …?
  • With a modal verb:
    Wh- question word + modal verb (past form) + subject + verb + …?
    Wh- question word + auxiliary verb (past form) + subject + modal verb + verb + …?

For example:
— With an auxiliary verb: “Where did you sleep last night?” = It asks for the place where the action happens.
— Without an auxiliary verb: “Who programmed this software?” = It asks for the subject of the action.
— With a modal verb: “When will you arrive?” = It asks for the time when the action happens.

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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