Question Structures

Whenever we meet people for the first time, we usually spend time “getting to know each other”. To find out things about each other we ask questions…


There are two types of question: open questions and closed questions.


Closed Questions

Closed questions are questions where the answer can be ‘yes’ or ‘no’.


Closed questions start with either to be, to do or to have as an auxiliary verb or a modal such as would, could, can or may - depending on the verb tense being used. They follow the following structure:

 
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Note the difference in structure between a statement and a question:


Statement: ‘Inflation is going to rise’.

Question: ‘Is inflation going to rise?’



Open Questions

Open questions invite someone to describe themselves or a situation. Open questions start with one of the following ‘question words’: who (quem), what (o que), why (por que), where (onde), when (quando), how (como), which (qual), whose (de quem).


They often (but not always) have the same structure as closed questions except they start with a question word…

 
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The question words ‘which’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘whose’ often also have a complement in the ‘question word’ section:

 
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Sometimes the question word (which is a pronoun) can be the subject of the sentence:

 
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