Yes/No Questions....More Complex Than They Seem!
We all think of "Yes/No Questions," or those which can be answered with a simple "Yes" or "No" as being simple, right? But....when we dig down a little deeper, we can actually find that there can be many nuances, or subtle differences, that depend on the context or situation! Today, we'll take a look at 5 different ways to ask Yes/No Questions!
1.) The Classic: "Neutral Questions"
Neutral questions are the classic, genuine question-- you have a question about something that you truly don't know the answer to!
Are the restrooms this way?
Could you pass me the laptop?
Do you have a moment to chat?
What you see is what you get with classic neutral questions- very standard questions that just ask for a simple "Yes" or No" response!
2.) The Reduced Question
You may here native speakers dropping certain words from questions when speaking quickly in conversation. When they do this, they are using reduced questions, which can sometimes sound more natural and informal.
Restrooms this way?
▶️Drop the main verb, "are" and the article, "the".
Pass me the laptop?
▶️Drop the the subject "you," and the modal verb, "could."
Have a moment to chat?
▶️Drop the model verb, "do" and the subject "you."
Reduced questions are great for friendly conversation, but you wouldn't want to use them in formal writing or more formal situations.
3.) The Statement Question
Statement questions are used to emphasize things we already know. They can be used to express shock or disbeleif, or you can use them to bring up topics again that you want to discuss. A few examples below:
You were in an accident!?
▶️Here we're expression shock or disbelief about something we just learned. The neutral question, by comparison, would be: "Were you in an accident?".
It's freezing, isn't it?
▶️Here, "isn't it" is a tag question to a statement. You already know it's cold and you're asking for agreement.
So, you went to Seattle?
▶️Again, the neutral question would be: "Did you go to Seattle?" This statement question is used to bring the topic up.
Statement questions are useful in conversation to adding color, getting the other person talking some, and broaching new topics!
4.) Expecting a "Yes."
Sometimes we ask questions when we have a 'hunch' or an expectation that the answer will be "yes." When this is the case, we can change the form of the sentence to indicate to the person that we do think the answer will be "yes." Let's take a look at a few!:
You have orange juice, right?
▶️Here's another example of using a 'tag question' on the end of the statement. You're asking, but you're pretty sure the answer will be 'yes!'
Don't you like action movies?
▶️The neutral question here would be: "Do you like action movies?" By making "do" negative, we're implying that we're expecting them to like action movies.
Sometimes even when you know the answer, it can be more polite to ask as a question instead of making a statement.
5.) Expecting a "No."
How about the opposite? Often times we if we know the answer is "No," we can indicate that with a question that helps the person we're asking realize that they won't surprise us with their answer:
You don't have orange juice, do you?
▶️Another use of the 'tag question'- here we use a negative in the statement and a positive tag question.
Haven't you been to Italy?!
▶️Here we're expressing surprise in a way that tells the person: "Oh, you must go then!"
Change each sentence below to the type of question in the brackets!:
1.) "Are you Henry Smith?" [make into an 'expecting yes' question].
2.) "Do you want to get out of here?" [make into a reduced question]
3.) "Want pizza?" [make into a standard neutral question]
4.) "Am I late." [make into a statement question]
5.) "Do you want to the grocery store?" [make into an expecting no' question]
Check out Answers below in the Comments Section!
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