Making Questions Lesson 1: Yes/No Questions (Rules & Exercises)

English Level: Intermediate

Language Focus: An explanation of how to form Yes/No questions in English

Grammar Worksheet: yes-no-questions-worksheet-esl.docx (scroll down to study the exercises online)

Many students are good at answering questions, but poor at making their own questions (with correct grammar). If you have problems forming (making) questions, then this lesson is for you! After this lesson, Lesson 2 explains WH-Questions like what and who.

Can you form a question?

Can you form a question?

Introduction to Yes/No Questions

A Yes/No question is a question that has a 'Yes' or 'No' answer. For example,

Question: Are you hungry?
Answer: No, I'm not.

(The other main type of questions are WH-Questions (where, who, what, why, etc.) that will be covered in the next lesson.)

Let's review the rules of making Yes/No Questions

1. Making Yes/No Questions with the BE Verb (am/are/is/was/were)

Imagine a regular sentence with the BE verb, such as 'He is tall.' Like usual, this sentence starts with the subject and the verb comes next. This is called sentence word order in English.

To make a question from a sentence with the BE verb, we use question word order. You can do this by switching the subject and the BE verb around:

  • He is tall. → Is he tall? (In the question, the verb is first and then the subject)
  • They are American. → Are they American?
  • The children are at school. → Are the children at school?

The rules are the same for the past tense.

  • It was nice. → Was it nice?
  • New York was expensive. → Was New York expensive?
  • We were late. → Were we late?

Let's do some practice exercises.

Exercise #1: Yes/No Questions with the BE Verb

Change these sentences into question form. Make a Yes/No question.

  1. The school is open. → ?
  2. The waiter was rude. → ?
  3. Yoga is popular. → ?
  4. I am sick. → ?
  5. You were tired. → ?
  6. Sarah was his teacher. → ?


In the next exercise,  look at the answer to a question. Then write the question. For example,

  • Q: _____________? A: Yes, John is a doctor.

(The question was "Is John a doctor").

Exercise #2: Yes/No Questions with the BE Verb

(Note: It does not matter if the answer is 'Yes' or 'No' -- the question form is the same. Do not put 'not' in the question.)

  1. Q: ? A: Yes. I was there.
  2. Q: ? A: No, we were not rich.
  3. Q: ? A: Yes, today is my birthday.
  4. Q: ? A: No, the price was not the same.


2. Making Yes/No Questions with Auxiliary/Modal Verbs

An auxiliary verb is also called a helping verb. These are short words that 'help' the main verb create tense. For example,

I have written the report. (Present Perfect tense)

Here, 'have' is the auxiliary verb, which is helping the main verb 'write' change into the present perfect tense. Modal verbs, such as can, must, should, might, may, are also helping verbs. Here are some more examples:

  • I was writing
  • I am writing.
  • I will write.
  • I can write.
  • I should write.

Sentences always have a main verb. But if a sentence also has a helping verb (auxiliary or modal), then switch the subject and the helping verb around. For example,

  • He will come. → Will he come?
  • They are visiting Paris. → Are they visiting Paris?
  • She has done the housework.  → Has she done the housework

Sometimes, a sentence can have two helping verbs. If this is the case, change the order of the subject and first helping verb in the same way. Then after the subject, put the second helping verb.

  • John has been fired. → Has John been fired? (HelpingVerb1 + Subject + HelpingVerb2+ Main Verb)
  • They will be hired. → Will they be hired?
  • The train is going to arrive. → Is the train going to arrive?
  • The printer was being repaired. → Was the printer being repaired?

In other words, when you change a sentence from sentence word order (Subject + Verb) to question word order (Verb + Subject), switch the subject with the first helping verb. If there is another helping verb, put it after the subject.

This isn't so easy. Let's practice.

Exercise #3: Yes/No Questions with Auxiliary/Modal Verbs

  1. John can read. → ?
  2. It might be broken. → ?
  3. We will join. → ?
  4. Peter is going to go. → ?
  5. Luan is going to be hired. → ?
  6. He is being interviewed now. → ?
  7. He should practice more. → ?
  8. Cars are made here. → ?
  9.  The order has been approved. → ?


Exercise #4: Yes/No Questions with Auxiliary/Modal Verbs

  1. Q: ? A: Yes, she was going to visit.
  2. Q: ? A: Yes, your name is being called.
  3. Q: ? A: No, they haven't finished.
  4. Q: ? A: No, he has not been working here.
  5. Q: ? A: No, he could not have said that.
  6. Q: ? A: No, he would not have been angry.
  7. Q: ? A: Yes, a visa must be obtained first.
  8. Q: ? A: Yes, we shall attend.


We're almost done!

3. Making Yes/No Questions without the BE verb or an Auxiliary/Modal Verb (Use Do!)

Up to now, we have practiced making questions from sentences that have the BE verb or a helping (auxiliary/modal) verb. However, there are some sentences that have neither. For example,

  1. I have a problem. (The main verb is have, and there is no helping verb)
  2. She loves tennis. (The main verb is loves, and there is no helping verb)
  3. They found the answer. (Again, there is only the main verb found.)

So, how do we form a question then? We add the verb 'Do'! 'Do' is another helping verb that we add to make questions when there is no auxiliary verb already (or BE Verb). The above sentences become the following questions:

  1. I have a problem. → Do you have a problem?
  2. She loves tennis. → Does she love tennis?
  3. They found the answer. Did they find the answer?

Note two things. Firstly, in question #2, do changes to Does in the question because the subject is 'she', which is the third person singular, so we  add 's' to the auxiliary verb 'do' (but not to the main verb!).

Secondly, sentence #3 is in the past tense (found), so we change the helping verb "Do" to the past tense (= Did) and keep the main verb in its base form (the present tense).

Did they find the answer? (Correct)

Did they found the answer? (Incorrect = You don't need the past tense twice.)

Be Careful: Distinguishing Main Verbs from Helping Verbs

It's important to remember the difference between a main verb and a helping verb because verbs like 'do/have/will' can be a main verb and an auxiliary verb. Look at these sentences:

  1. She has a job. (present simple) Does she have a job?
  2. She has had a job. (present perfect) Has she had a job?

In #1, the main verb is 'has' and there is no auxiliary verb, so we add 'Does' to make the question 'Does she have a job?'

In #2, the main verb is 'had', and there is an auxiliary verb 'has'. So we switch the sentence order and put the auxiliary verb before the subject, to make the question, 'Has she had a job'?

Final Note: Use 'Do' when 'Have' is the Main Verb

A long time ago, people used to ask questions like this:

  • Have you a car?
  • Have you a problem?

This is now old-fashioned and out of use. In North America, we add 'Do' to make a question when the main verb is 'have'.

  • Have you a car = Do you have a car?
  • Have you a problem = Do you have a problem?

(Note: In England, it is common to use 'have + got' instead of 'Do you have'. For example: 'Have you got a car? / Have you got a pen?. This is also grammatically correct.)

Let's do some exercises to practice this last point.

Exercise #5: Yes/No Questions without Helping or BE Verb

  1. He reads every day. → ?
  2. The printer broke. → ?
  3. We want more money. → ?
  4. She had a smile on her face. → ?
  5. The boss noticed the mistake. → ?


Exercise #6: Yes/No Questions without a Helping or BE Verb

  1. Q: ? A: Yes, she had her camera.
  2. Q: ? A: No, I didn't feel sick.
  3. Q: ? A: Yes, we eat beef.
  4. Q: ? A: Yes, I believe you.
  5. Q: ? A: No, they didn't forget their tickets.


Forming Yes/No Questions: Summary

We have learned three key rules for making Yes/No questions:

  1. If the sentence has only the BE verb, switch the subject and the BE verb around to make a question.
  2. If the sentence has a helping verb, switch the subject and the (first) helping verb around to make a question.
  3. If there is neither the BE verb or a helping verb, add 'Do' and then the subject to make a question.

It's time to mix it all together. Try to remember these rules and complete the practice exercises below.

Exercise #7: Yes/No Questions — Mixed Forms

  1. She is a good person. → ?
  2. They are studying hard. → ?
  3. I don't want a drink. → ?
  4. The book was sold. → ?
  5. My dog barks loudly. → ?
  6. We are going to try it. → ?


Exercise #8: Yes/No Questions — Without a Helping or BE Verb

  1. Q: ? A: Yes, we are looking for the keys.
  2. Q: ? A: No, I haven't seen Michael.
  3. Q: ? A: No, they won't be happy.
  4. Q: ? A: Yes, I do yoga.
  5. Q: ? A: Yes, he has had surgery.
  6. Q: ? A: No, they were not waiting long.
  7. Q: ? A: Yes, they danced well.



Exercise #9: Yes/No Questions - Fix the Common Mistakes

Each question has a mistake. Rewrite the question without the mistake.

  1. Have you a dog? → ?
  2. You will go to the park? → ?
  3. Did you went to the park? → ?
  4. It is 4 o'clock? → ?
  5. Are you agree? → ?



If you find a mistake or have a question, please leave a comment below. Teachers, you can download the exercises as a worksheet (see the link at the very top).

- Written by Matthew Barton (copyright) / Creator of

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51 comments on “Making Questions Lesson 1: Yes/No Questions (Rules & Exercises)

  1. G.manideep (Posted on 9-19-2017 at 10:10) Reply

    They are sitting in a row.We have clarified the doubts.I want the answer in yes/no questions

    1. Class 2 (Posted on 7-14-2020 at 09:45) Reply

      Are they sitting in a row ?

      1. Rachana (Posted on 2-3-2022 at 16:40) Reply

        a complete knowledge of the topic in such simple words.
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  4. DevaAlwin (Posted on 3-6-2019 at 09:52) Reply

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  5. Shivam (Posted on 3-27-2019 at 23:56) Reply

    One answer is wrong in this?
    No, he would have been angry. this one
    the answer must be
    would he have been happy
    it doesn’t make a sense. would he have been angry?
    no, he would have been angry.(wrong at all)
    I request the creator to correct it
    I am not wrong. I have confirmed it from a professor of English

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 3-28-2019 at 00:52) Reply

      Hello. Thanks for pointing that out. I agree that it did not make sense. I have corrected it.

      1. Rajini (Posted on 9-17-2023 at 11:30) Reply

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  6. rushmitha (Posted on 7-6-2020 at 10:29) Reply

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  7. yas khalid (Posted on 7-28-2020 at 10:59) Reply

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  8. B. Jai Kumar (Posted on 9-3-2020 at 21:42) Reply

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    1. Jab (Posted on 9-27-2020 at 20:45) Reply

      Exercise #8 are mixed.

      1. Anonymous (Posted on 11-2-2020 at 08:36) Reply

        The students attended the meeting of the English Club. I want the answer in yes/no question

        1. mb Post author (Posted on 11-2-2020 at 12:56) Reply

          Why are you asking Jab? Also, there is no yes/no question for that sentence because the answer isn’t ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

  9. SIM YI MEI . (Posted on 10-15-2020 at 00:16) Reply

    Good question.

  10. Iniya (Posted on 12-22-2020 at 08:43) Reply

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  13. Salman (Posted on 5-2-2021 at 22:01) Reply

    Question for ‘My uncle went to office’

  14. mary (Posted on 6-11-2021 at 14:58) Reply

    Hi can you make this sentence a yes/no question please? To drive fast in small roads seems difficult.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-11-2021 at 15:46) Reply

      Hello. The sentence itself doesn’t begin with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, so it cannot be changed into a yes/no question. You’d have to change it to make it a yes/no question, e.g. “Does it seem difficult to drive fast on small roads?” (Yes, it does seem difficult to drive fast on small roads.).

      1. Anonymous (Posted on 6-12-2021 at 10:48) Reply

        Thank you !!

  15. Dilna Fatima A (Posted on 6-11-2021 at 21:11) Reply

    S superb I like more and I am study more examples. Thank you Google very very very thank you but I have a doubt. Please answer me my doubt is good.” my mother cooks well ” please solve it

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-12-2021 at 15:17) Reply

      Hello. This page is about making questions. Nevertheless, the sentence “My mother cooks well.” is correct, as long as you capitalize the ‘M’ in mother and add a period at the end.

  16. Devika P D (Posted on 6-15-2021 at 02:21) Reply

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  17. Daymand Raut (Posted on 7-20-2021 at 06:39) Reply

    What is the yes no question of. She must cook food ?.
    Please help!

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 7-20-2021 at 09:15) Reply

      It’s not a yes-no question, since the answer isn’t ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If you want to make it a yes/no question, you could ask “Must she cook food?” (Yes, she must cook food)

  18. Lou (Posted on 10-19-2021 at 23:00) Reply

    I have an English test tomorrow… wish me luck!!

  19. Anonymous (Posted on 11-11-2021 at 07:00) Reply

    What is the yos/ no question form of helpe.

  20. ARUL ARASAN (Posted on 1-4-2022 at 06:54) Reply

    I have examination tomorrow…. IT IS VERY USEFUL AND GOOD EXERCISE

  21. Semira Abubeker (Posted on 2-8-2022 at 17:37) Reply

    I love this help me in my English Subuject
    a Complete knowledge of the doubts. I want the answerin yes/no questions.

  22. Modepalli Rohitha (Posted on 3-22-2022 at 23:10) Reply

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  23. María Fernanda Gabriela Reyes Carmona (Posted on 9-13-2022 at 21:12) Reply

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  24. Shweta waykar (Posted on 9-18-2022 at 06:15) Reply

    I love this help me in my English Subuject
    a Complete knowledge of the doubts. I want the answerin yes/no questions.

  25. Jamile Salim (Posted on 2-24-2023 at 22:34) Reply

    Thanks teacher this is very important exercises help us for talking

  26. Roman (Posted on 2-26-2023 at 18:52) Reply

    The printer broke – is this form grammatically correct? How it can be in active voice?
    It should be “The printer is broken”

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-26-2023 at 19:56) Reply

      Yes, it is correct. It is the intransitive form of the verb break.

      1. Roman (Posted on 2-27-2023 at 06:28) Reply

        So is it passive voice with the intransitive form of the verb?

        1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-27-2023 at 08:17) Reply

          Hello. No, an intransitive verb form cannot be used in the passive voice because the verb has no object.

  27. Unknown (Posted on 3-14-2023 at 10:54) Reply

    What will be the interrogative form of : I see you.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 3-14-2023 at 15:11) Reply

      One possible question is this: Do you see me? > Yes, I see you.

  28. icy sibulan (Posted on 4-11-2023 at 19:52) Reply

    what about they’re leaving her note

  29. Inasentence (Posted on 8-18-2023 at 09:03) Reply

    This is a great post! I have been struggling with making questions lesson 1: Yes/No Questions (Rules & Exercises) – English Current. Thank you for the tips!

  30. Krishna (Posted on 10-9-2023 at 20:22) Reply

    Helpful and interesting thank you❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  31. maria (Posted on 10-17-2023 at 07:57) Reply

    very nice to understand how its done keep it up but If there is some hard question that would be more likely

  32. Anila Shafiq (Posted on 11-21-2023 at 12:38) Reply

    Yes I am I will be try but some question very hard I need for more practice thank u

  33. Mike (Posted on 3-22-2024 at 22:57) Reply

    It is so good, thank you!

  34. Elan luitel (Posted on 5-1-2024 at 05:15) Reply

    Can you please comment me what is the yes no form of she must cook food

    1. M.B. (Posted on 5-1-2024 at 07:38) Reply

      The same question was asked by Daymand Raut. See above.

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