What it says on the tin, a foreign friend of mine has asked and I can't tell him; apart from it sounding horrible.

For example:

"Why is it raining today?"

Instead of:

"Why it is raining today?"
  • You can take a look at ell.stackexchange.com
    – Kris
    Aug 22, 2013 at 13:28
  • Ah, didn't know about that one =]
    – Sean Airey
    Aug 22, 2013 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


Please visit https://ell.stackexchange.com/

To answer your question


Here are the question forms and negative forms for the verb be in the present simple and past simple:

I am         Am I?       I am not
He is        Is he?      He is not
She is       Is she      She is not
It is        Is it       It is not
You are      Are you     You are not
They are     Are they    They are not     


Yes/No questions

Is he a teacher? Yes he is.
Can you swim? No, I can’t.
Have they got a car? Yes they have.

To form yes/no questions where there is an auxiliary verb or a modal verb, we invert the word order of a positive sentence. (He is a teacher > Is he a teacher?)

  • So basically "because that's how it is", that's what I told him! =]
    – Sean Airey
    Aug 22, 2013 at 12:01
  • There is the ELL for this!
    – Kris
    Aug 22, 2013 at 13:28

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