Unit 11.1

Yes or No Questions in Past Form

Syntax

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Introduction

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.

The closed questions in the past tense are used to ask for information in the past.

Form

[See Yes or No Questions in Present Form, level A1]

In the past tense, we use the past forms of the auxiliary and modal verbs.

Some yes or no questions and their corresponding short answers are:

QuestionAffirmative Short AnswerNegative Short Answer
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 you…?
Yes, I did. / Yes, we did.No, I didn’t. / No, we didn’t.
Did they…?Yes, they did.No, they didn’t.
Have you…?Yes, I have.No, I haven’t.
Has she…?Yes, she has.No, she hasn’t.

Example

  • Did she go by car? – No, she didn’t.
  • Were you at the bus station yesterday? – Yes, we were.
  • Have they closed the garage door? – No, they haven’t.

Use

[See Yes or No Questions in Present Form, level A1]

Summary

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:
— “Did you go to school yesterday? – Yes, I did.” = 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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