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Specific Rules of Interrogative Sentences

Published on Saturday, May 26, 2018
Specific Rules of Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative Sentences can be classified in two types.
1. Yes/No questions: That can be answered in Yes/No
2. Wh questions: Questions that begin with Wh words, What, Where, Which, Who, How, etc.

Yes/No questions


1. Use conjunction if or whether in place of that. Whether is used when the question expresses
alternative. Eg:
  • She said to me, “Do you like tea or coffee?” Direct
  • She asked me whether I liked tea or coffee. Indirect 
  • She said,” Are they waiting for me?” Direct
  • She asked whether they were waiting for me. → Indirect
2. While transforming interrogative sentences into assertive sentences, add ‘not’ if the interrogative sentence is in the affirmative. Eg:
  • Is he not a bright student?→  Interrogative 
  • He is a bright student.→ Assertive
  • Has he finished his work?→ Interrogative
  • He has not finished his work.→  Assertive.
3. Reporting verb; ask, asks, asked is used in indirect narrations. We can also use inquire or enquire of. Eg:
  • He enquired of me.
  • I enquired of him whether he would accompany me to Chennai.
  • David asked me if I liked coffee.
4. Other rules in respect to the change of pronouns and change of tense are also to be followed. Eg:
  • She said to me, “Are you going to college?”→ Direct
  • She asked me if I was going to college.→ Indirect

Note: Sometimes an answer is also attached with the main question. In that case ‘Yes’ is changed into affirmation and ‘No’ into negation. Eg:
  • She said to me, “Can you solve this question?” ‘No’, I said.
  • She asked me if I could solve that question. I said, I couldn’t or I replied in negative.

Questions beginning with ‘Wh’ words

In questions beginning with Wh words, no conjunction (that, if, whether) is used instead the Wh word itself functions as conjunction. Eg:
  • He said to me, “What are you doing?”→ Direct
  • He asked me what I was doing.→  Indirect
  • They said, “How is the weather?”→  Direct
  • They asked how the weather was.→  Indirect

Changing assertive to interrogative sentences


1. If the sentence is in the affirmative you have to change it into negative interrogative. If it is in negative then you have to change it into bare interrogative. Eg:
  • He was very gentle. (Assertive).
  • Wasn’t he very gentle? (Interrogative)
  • He is not a good person. (Assertive). 
  • Is he a good person? (Interrogative)

If there is no auxiliary verb in the sentence change it by using do/does/did Or don’t /Doesn’t /didn’t. Eg:
  • He plays football. (Assertive). Does he play football? (Interrogative)
  • They did not play football yesterday. (Assertive). Did they play football yesterday? (Interrogative

Never is replaced by ever in interrogative sentences. Eg:
  • I never drink tea. → Assertive
  • Do I ever drink tea? → Interrogative

4. Everybody/everyone/all is replaced by Who+ don’t / doesn’t / didn’t . Eg:
  • Everybody wishes to be happy. → Assertive
  • Who doesn’t wish to be happy?→  Interrogative

5. Every + noun is replaced by is there any +noun +who don’t /doesn’t / didn’t. Eg:
  • Everyman wishes to be happy. → Assertive
  • Is there any man who doesn’t wish to be happy? → Interrogative

6. Nobody/no one/ none is replaced by Who.Eg:
  • Nobody could count stars in the sky. → Assertive
  • Who could ever count stars in the sky.→  Interrogative

7. There is no is replaced by is there any/ who (person/ what (thing). Eg:
  • There is no use of this law.→  Assertive
  • What is the use of this law? → Interrogative
  • There is no man happier than Ram.→  Assertive
  • Who is happier than Ram?→ Interrogative

8. It doesn’t matter is replaced by what though/does it matter. Eg:
  • It does not matter if you fail in the exam.→ Assertive
  • What though if you fail in the exam?→ Interrogative
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