This tag is for questions related to the formation, or answering of questions.

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80
votes
1answer
4k views

Did English ever have a word for 'yes' for negative questions?

The Germans have doch and the French have si as a word that means "yes" in response to a negative question, such as: Don't you want some ice-cream? Yes [I do]! In English, we only have yes (as ...
40
votes
10answers
87k views

Do you really answer “How do you do?” with “How do you do?”

We're told in our English classes (learning English as a foreign language) that the only possible answer to How do you do? is to repeat the question: How do you do? (While it's ...
29
votes
4answers
15k views

How to answer a negative question without ambiguity?

I faced a problem to answer a negative question, for example When someone ask you: Don't you have any money? It's a yes/no question but how should one answer the question without ambiguity? ...
29
votes
2answers
85k views

“Which” vs. “what” — what's the difference and when should you use one or the other?

Most of the time one or the other feels better, but every so often, "which" vs. "what" trips me up. So, what's the exact difference and when should you use one or the other?
28
votes
16answers
7k views

What's a word for avoiding a question with a generic (fake) answer?

Examples... Q: Why is the sky blue? A: Because God made it that way. (A kid to their parent) Q: Why do I have to clean my room? A: Because I said so. What is it called when someone ...
27
votes
14answers
4k views

How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)?

I want to make a question having an answer as follows: 5 is the third prime number. The bold part is the answer. How to phrase the question?
24
votes
6answers
2k views

How is “Can anyone tell me how can I solve this” wrong?

I posted a question somewhere that said... Can anyone tell me how I can solve this? ...but someone edited it to... Can anyone tell me how can I solve this? ...and it was accepted. That's ...
22
votes
1answer
625 views

Is “Did you it?” a valid question?

My English teacher always asks “Did you it?” when she wants to know whether some student has done an exercise. I think her question sounds horrible, and I believe it is wrong. In my opinion, she ...
17
votes
4answers
9k views

“Don't I know you” vs. “do I know you”

My question is about similar (for me) question forms "don't I know you" and "do I know you". Is there any difference between them or can they both be used in the same context without any exceptions? ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

How does one correctly punctuate a sentence that declares that one has a question? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Punctuation with “The question is…” '.', '?' or ' “… ?” ' Position of question mark when sentence doesn't end ...
15
votes
5answers
29k views

What is the best way to punctuate a list of questions in a declarative sentence?

In my report a need to write a list of example questions that someone might ask, but I would like to do it in a sentence rather than a separate list. Here is an example: This poses questions such ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it incorrect to say, “Why cannot…?”

At any point in history was "Why cannot...?" used as frequently as "Why can't...?" Is it even grammatically correct to say "Why cannot you do this?" I know it can be rearranged to be "Why can you not ...
12
votes
4answers
845 views

How to ask a knowledge question without causing offence?

By "knowledge question", I mean any sort of question intended to check whether the listener already knows the answer or not. For example: Are you familiar with how an operating system works? Do you ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

Why do we use 'did' with questions using the simple past tense?

Where did you go last night? Where went you last night? Is there a reason we say the first of the previous two sentences as opposed to the last one? I know the second sentence is ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do we put the verb to be at the end of these questions? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions Look at the following questions - can anyone give a simple grammatical explanation as to why we put the ...
12
votes
0answers
392 views

How can I properly ask this question? [duplicate]

I want to ask a question so that I can get the answer which gives the position of the President. So the answer I want to get is: Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th President of the United States. ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Quoting a question at the end of a sentence which is itself a question

If my sentence is a question and ends with a quote of a question, where exactly do I put a question mark? Did she ask, "Is it raining"? Did she ask, "Is it raining?"? Did she ask, "Is it ...
10
votes
3answers
20k views

Is there a word for answering a question with a question?

I am aware that answering student questions with further, leading questions is sometimes dubbed “Socratic,” but I am asking more broadly about all occasions where someone asks a question and, instead ...
10
votes
3answers
6k views

“Haven't you?” or “don't you?”

What is the right question tag (in British English) when we use the verb have? I have interviewed a few native speakers and none of them could explain why sometimes they prefer "haven't/hasn't" and ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

Why can positive statements end with a negative question and vice versa?

I had a hard time phrasing the actual question title—hopefully this doesn't mean it's too subjective—, but I'm curious about why positive (or negative) statements can be terminated by negative (or ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it OK to add a question mark to show inflection?

When asking a question you generally have to raise your voice at the end of the sentence, is it okay to stuff a question mark in order to show inflection? A couple examples: 'That really happened?' ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Negative questions vs positive questions

I'd like to know if negative questions are used very often in English. For example, in Spanish, negative questions are used very often just to offer something, to ask about something you're not sure, ...
8
votes
4answers
424 views

How to ask for a name of some thing?

My question was titled: What is this function called? Originally (my) title was: How is this function called? I still think that my version was correct; I always state such questions this ...
8
votes
4answers
859 views

“Why is this not” versus “why is not this”

Should I use "why is this not" or "why is not this?" Or are both correct?
8
votes
5answers
678 views

'How to' vs 'How do I'

This question is inspired by comments on a question on stackoverflow. The original poster wrote: How to correct this error? And comments say that it's an incorrect question. Better is How ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Framing a question whose answer is an ordinal number [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)? I am the third daughter of my parents. How should a question ...
8
votes
5answers
222 views

“How to […]?” and “Where to […]?” Questions that are not questions. Is this defensible?

Adding a question mark to the end of a "How to" or "Where to" sentence appears to be quite common. Here are two examples from this very site: How to punctuate a list of questions? (link) Where to ...
7
votes
3answers
777 views

Why some questions are written in this funny way?

There, I did it myself. Instead of asking "Why are some questions written in this funny way?", I produced what strikes me as bad English ever so often: Questions that are formed by starting out with ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

“May I ask if…”

A question like: May I ask if you've seen it all? Can yield two answers: Yes, I've seen it all. Yes, you may ask. Can you avoid this (the may-answer), remaining a tad more polite than usual? ...
7
votes
5answers
355 views

“Why can't I see?” or “Why I can't see?”?

Which of the following is correct? Why can't I see? Why I can't see? I am a bit confused, since both have inversion, negation and a "why" in the beginning.
7
votes
7answers
12k views

Should “guess what” be a question or command?

In other words: should it be “Guess what?” or “Guess what!”? Or does the correct usage depend on the context and intent of the speaker?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

When to use nah or right in a sentence

When I was chatting with my friend, as a part of our conversation I used a phrase. "You have laptop nah." He replied, first try to change your English, it sounds ridiculous, using words nah, right. ...
7
votes
6answers
40k views

“Can/may/will you help me with this?”

Which word to use when we ask for help? Some conditions: We know that the person asked is able to do it. We don't know if the person asked is able to do it.
7
votes
3answers
5k views

How to reply to question tags

English is not my native-tongue, so I always find it hard to grasp the concept of "question tags" and more importantly the way to answer to them. Let me explain with the help of this situation - I am ...
6
votes
10answers
5k views

How to ask a question to get an ordinal number answer [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: How to phrase an asking sentence that must be answered with an ordinal number? Framing a question to which the answer is an ordinal number Given that I want to know ...
6
votes
4answers
19k views

Does the word after a question mark start with a capital letter?

Should I write it like this? Or perhaps like this? Should I write it like this? or perhaps like this? What about after an exclamation mark or semicolon?
6
votes
8answers
5k views

“Does it make sense?” or “Do you understand me?”? [closed]

Suppose I tell something to my companion and I want to make sure he understands me. I thought I may simply ask "Do you understand me?". But recently I heard that in such cases I should ask "Does it ...
6
votes
4answers
384 views

What's the term when you ask a question which implies a lie?

I remember there was a thread here on English.SE this month where someone explained this, but I can't remember how it was called. An example: Where have you stolen this product? This question ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Does appending a question mark to a declarative sentence result in a valid sentence?

Suppose I have the sentence: "All apples are green." Although it is not a true statement, clearly it is a declarative sentence. Can any declarative sentence like this be made into an ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

“How much water do you take a bath with?” — Is this sentence correct?

I corrected the student, saying that he should write "How much water do you use to take a bath?" because his sentence seemed unnatural to me. Do you consider it correct? Would you use it?
6
votes
4answers
194 views

How do teachers ask to calculate expressions?

How do American/British primary school teachers ask their pupils to calculate an expression? E.g. What is 2+3 equal to? What is the value of 2+3? ... In particular, I'm interested whether the ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

I was wondering if there are synonyms for “I was wondering”

Often I ask a question (by e-mail), and precede the question with I was wondering if... For example I was wondering if you can give me your office hrs? Why not just simply ask the real question? ...
6
votes
1answer
235 views

What is the correct subject-verb agreement for chemical quantities expressed in moles?

I'm currently editing some chemistry test questions, and I have several sentences like the following: What is the total number of moles of HCl produced when 3 moles of hydrogen is completely ...
6
votes
3answers
648 views

“Why …?” vs. “Why is it that … ?”

Why is it that everybody wants to help me whenever I need someone's help? Why does everybody want to help me whenever I need someone's help? Can you please explain to me the difference in ...
6
votes
2answers
223 views

“How to..”, “How do you..” or “How do I..” when asking a practical question

As the title says, I'm asking because you can split the StackOverflow questions to three groups according to their openings, for example: "How do I serialize an object...", "How do you serialize ...
6
votes
3answers
345 views

Moving the interrogative pro-adverb to the end of a question

I am not a native speaker of English. From what I learn, 'wh' questions in English should normally be like this: Why should we believe you? How did she participate in the massacre? However, ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Sentences ending with both a colon and a question mark

How should sentences that end with both a colon and a question mark be formed? Two examples are below, both questions, but one in which the colon presents a piece of information and the other in which ...
6
votes
3answers
585 views

Making a question with the verb “to go”

I remember reading or hearing that English is a very unusual language, almost unique, in using the verb "to go" to create a question. (Are you going to see the play? Are you going to drink that ...
6
votes
5answers
838 views

How to ask a question to confirm a negative situation?

For example, I want to make sure that Tom was not in Professor X's class. However, I can't ask: Wasn't Tom in Professor X's class last semester? Because that means I think Tom WAS in Professor ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

What is the correct punctuation when quoting a question in the middle of a larger sentence?

There are several questions here on quoting a question within a sentence, but most of them deal with the quote being at the end of the larger sentence. What if it's in the middle? In many ...