Kinds of Questions

In the English language there are several types of questions.

1. General questions

Also known as "Yes/No questions" because a short answer (yes or no) is expected. This kind of question is formed by putting an auxiliary verb before the subject (=inversion).

General questions most often start with: Do? Did? Have? Has? Is? Are? Was? Were? Can? Could? etc.

Examples:

  • Are you from Brazil? Answer: Yes, I am / No, I am not
  • Did you meet Andy? Answer: Yes, I did / No, I didn't
  • Was she at home yesterday? Answer: Yes, she was / No, she wasn't

2. Special Questions

Special questions are those questions that ask for details. Special questions are also called Wh-questions as most of them start with "wh".

For example: What? Which? When? Where? Why? Whose?

Other special questions include: How? How many? How much?

Special questions require inversion, like general questions.

  • Where are you from? Answer: I am from India
  • What are you wearing on your head? Answer: I'm wearing a hat or It's a hat!
  • How much money do you have? Answer: I have only $10.
  • How old are you? Answer: I'm 16.

Attention: If the subject of a special question is the question word itself, then this kind of question is called subject question.

Subject questions have the word order of an affirmative sentence.

  • Who will buy milk?
  • Who's in charge here?
  • What makes you think so?
  • Who wants some coffee?
  • Will who buy milk?
  • Is who in charge here?
  • What does make you think so?

3. Disjunctive questions

Disjunctive questions are also called question tags. They are mini-questions that appear at the end of sentence:

You can read more on this topic here.

4. Embedded questions

Embedded questions are also called indirect questions.

Such questions have affirmative word order, and are used in two situations:

a) polite questions ("question within questions")

  • Could you tell me where the bus station is?
  • Could you tell me where is the bus station?

b) reported speech

  • He asked me if I could help him.
  • He asked me could I help him.

You can read more on this topic here.