Posted by: Idioma Extra | October 7, 2010

Thursday´s Tidbits

Subject questions

Most English as a Second Language learners are familiar with the QWASVO structure (Question Word, Auxiliary, Subject, Verb, Object). Have you noticed, however, that there are some question formations that do not follow this structure? Most questions are object questions, meaning they are questions about the object of a sentence.

Example: What did she buy? > She bought a cake.

However, subject questions are questions designed to find out the subject of a sentence.

Example: Who went to the store with you?  > She went to the store with me.

Notice the form of the verb in this example.

When questions that would normally take the auxiliary verb “do” are subject questions, the form of the verb changes (simple past or third person). The structure of the question is the same as a statement.

Example: What happened at work.  >  An accident happened at work.

* When and where are NOT used in subject sentences.

Check Yourself

Select the correct question based on the statement.

1. My boss always arrives first to the office.

__ Who does arrive first to the office?

__ Who arrives first to the office?

2. The older students came to the party.

__ Which students did come to the party?

__ Which students came to the party?

3. John met Sally in the park.

__ Who did John meet?

__Who met John?

4. Three passengers forgot their passport.

__ How many people forgot their passport?

__ How many people did forget their passport?

5. An electrical problem caused the fire.

__ What caused the fire?

__ What did cause the fire?

6. She took some money.

__ What she took?

__ What did she take?

7. Steve broke the window.

__ Who did break the window?

__ Who broke the window?

8. The red team won.

__ Which team won?

__ Which team did win?

9. I saw a horror movie.

__ What movie did you see?

__ What movie you saw?

10. I did my homework yesterday.

__ What you did yesterday?

__ What did you do yesterday?

Answers to last week’s Check Yourself:

1. When do you pretend to finish the project? (yes/no)  ___plan______

2. I plan on assisting the university next year. (yes/no)  ___attending____

3. Mary is a sensible person. She never makes foolish decisions. (yes/no)  _________________

4. I can’t go to the party tonight because I have a previous compromise. (yes/no)  __commitment____

5. The documentary was realized right here in Costa Rica. (yes/no)  ___done____

6. She said she was going to move, but she actually decided to stay another year. (yes/no)  _________________

7. I don’t agree with his opinions absolutely. (yes/no)  ____at all____

8. After you introduce the key, turn it two times to the right. (yes/no)  ___insert_____

9. I thought the movie’s argument wasn’t very clear. (yes/no)  __plot____

10. Everyone said the food at the restaurant was good, but I thought it was a real deception. (yes/no)  __disappointment/let down___


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