The Magic FormulaS: Aux + Subject + rest of the question ? AND Aux + Subject + Verb + rest of the question?
The Auxiliaries In a Yes/No Question, the auxiliaries are very important. Usually, we find them in an affirmative or negative sentence that is used to form the question: Paul is away on vacation. In this case IS (Simple Present Tense of To Be) is used in the sentence. IS becomes the auxiliary because it is an auxiliary-verb. It will be used to make the Yes/No question.
How to form the Yes/No Questions with TO BE To Form Yes/No questions, you simply put the auxiliary-verb TO BE in front of the subject: Paul is away on vacation And it becomes your Yes/No Question: IS Paul on vacation ? Aux + Subject + rest of the question ? Don’t forget the question mark (?) It is the same rule for the verb TO BE in the simple past tense (Was/Were)
Using the verb To Be as an auxiliary in the past tense Yes/No questions can also be formed with the verb To Be in the past tense. Susan was at the dentist’s office last night Was Susan at the dentist’s office last night?
Using the verb To Be in the simple future tense We can do the same thing with the verb To Be in the simple future tense. This time only the suffixe Will go in front of the subject. Susan will go to the dentist tomorrow afternoon Will Susan go to the dentist tomorrow afternoon?
Making Yes/No questions using simple tense verbs In the preceeding example, the verb To Be was used as an auxiliary. But what happens when there aren’t any auxiliary- verbs in the affirmative or negative sentences. For example: Mr. Landry drives a truck. In this sentence, drives is an irregular verb in the simple past tense. It is obvious that we can’t put the simple tense verb in front of the subject. Drives Mr. Landry a truck?
The Magic Formula is modified When we use simple tense verbs ( Simple Present, Simple Past or Simple future) excluding the verb TO BE (Simple Present and Simple Past), we have to use an auxilliary. This slightly modifies the Magic Formula. It becomes: Aux. + Subject + Verb + rest of the question?
What Happens then? In that case you must use the auxiliaries Do, Does (for verbs in the simple present tense) and Did for the simple past tense verbs. Simple Present: DO DOES (3rd person singular: He, She, It) Simple Past: DID (whatever the person) Does Mr. Landry drive a truck? Notice that the verb TO DRIVE is in the infinitive form. It gives its S to the auxiliary Do because of Mr. Landry (3rd person sing.). When using Do, Does Did, the verb is always in the infitive form.
An example with DID In the following sentence, the verb is in the simple past tense: Mr. Landry drove a truck. In this case the Auxiliary DID is used. DID Mr. Landry drive a truck? In this case again the verb TO DRIVE is in the infinitive form (without « To »)
Using other auxiliaries (Modals) in Yes/No Questions Another kind of auxiliaries we use for making Yes/No questions are MODALS. A modal is an auxiliary that changes the meaning and the tense of a verb. You CAN run 10 miles. In this case, the Modal auxiliary CAN represents someone’s capability or capacity to run 10 miles. The meaning and tense of the verb as, therefore, been changed.
How to form a Yes/No question with Modal Auxiliaries Forming a Yes/No question from a sentence containing a Modal is a simple task. Here we have an auxiliary (modal) and a verb in the infinitive form. You can run the marathon Here are the other Modals that we could use in Yes/No questions.
ModalUseTenseExample CAN To express capability and ability PresentI can run a marathon Can you run a marthon? SHOULD To express advice, recommandatio ns or directives ConditionalStudents should study more. Should students study more? MAY To express permission or possibility PresentIt may snow tomorrow. May we close the door? MIGHT To express a reduced possibility ConditionalSteve might be late. Might Steve be late tonight? MUST To express obligation or necessity to do something PresentYou must get to work on time. Must I get to work on time?
MODALSUSETENSEEXAMPLES Have To To express obligation that is imposed Present/ Past/Future and Conditional You have to take care of the dog. Do you have to take care of the dog? Ought to To express advice or your own good ConditionalYou ought to study more. Ought you study more? Had Better To express advice, warning, polite threat PresentYou had better get up early. Had I better get up early? Would Rather To express preference Cnditional I would rather leave now. Would you rather leave now?
Because Modals are auxiliaries, they are used in the same way as in the case of the Simple tense verbs. Aux + Subject + Verb + rest of the question? Exemple: John should be able to swim this weekend Should John be able to swim this weekend ?
Recap (Magic Formulas) With the verb TO BE the formula is: AUX. + SUBJECT + REST OF THE QUESTION? With the Simple Tense Verbs an Modal Auxilliaries: AUX. + SUBJECT + VERB + rest of the question?