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Traditional Grammatical Terminology
by A. G. Rigg


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8. Interrogatives

8.1 Direct Questions

8.1.1 Yes/no questions. If the verb is an auxiliary or be, questions are formed by reversing subject and verb ("will it start", "is it fair"). Ordinary verbs require the verb do followed by the infinitive ("did you vote ?"): do was not required in earlier English, where simple reversal is the norm. In conversational PDE a question is often articulated by intonation alone (you want to go?). In Middle English, direct yes/no questions are often introduced by whether.

8.1.2 Wh-questions require a specific answer; rules for reversal of verb and subject or use of do are the same as for 8.1.1, except for who which is itself the subject ("where did you put it ?", "whom do you want ?", but "who said that ?").

8.2 Indirect Questions (see 6.5). Yes/no questions are, when subordinated, introduced by if or whether ("I asked if he wanted to come"); wh-questions are introduced as in 8.1.2. In both types of question, the verb's tense depends on that of the verb in the main clause ("he asked who owned the car" = "'Who owns the car?' he asked")


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