Making Questions with Do/Does/Did

The ICAL TEFL Blog

A question of CoffeeThis is all about Making Questions with DO or DOES or DID:

Do you like coffee?
Does he speak Italian?
Did she just ignore me?

Basics

A standard English statement follows this pattern:

{subject} + {verb}…

You + enjoy + swimming.
Joe + lives + in New York.
Amanda + worked + at the local supermarket.

If we want to make these kinds of statements into a question, we simply follow this pattern:

do/does/did + {subject} + {infinitive}…

Do + you + enjoy + swimming?
Does + Joe + live + in New York?
Did + Amanda + work + at the local supermarket?

And of course we add a question mark to the end!

Steps to Making a do Question

First off, start with the statement we want to turn into a question. Here are a few we can work with:

I enjoy going to the movies.
You play the drums.
Luca runs really fast!
Simone loved learning English.

The next step is to identify the main verb. More often than not the subject comes first and is followed by the main verb.

{subject} + {main verb}…

I + enjoy
You + play
Luca + runs
Simone + loved

You need to identify the tense of the main verb first, either present or past (we can’t make do questions to talk about the future).

verbtenseperson*do/does/did
enjoypresentI = firstdo
playpresentyou = seconddo
runspresenthe = thirddoes
lovedpastdid

* Note: as a reminder, first person is I and we; second person is you; third person is he, she, it, and they.

As you can see, if it is the past then we always use did.

If we are in the present and talk about I or you then we always use do.

If we are in the present and talk about he, she, or it, then we always use does.

do/does/did + {subject}…

Do I …
Do you …
Does Luca …
Did Simone …

Finally, change the main verb into the infinitive and add the rest of the statement plus a question mark:

do/does/did + {subject} + {infinitive verb} … ?

Do I enjoy going to the movies?
Do you play the drums?
Does Luca run really fast?
Did Simone love learning English?

And that’s it!

Ok, it might seem a long process now, but it’s very easy to pick up and in a very short while you’ll be able to make questions with do without even thinking about it!

Are all Questions formed with do?

No. If the statement has a modal verb (e.g. can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) then we don’t use do:

I can swim
Can I swim?

Or if the statement uses the auxiliary verb be:

I am rich.
Am I rich?

See the link below to general questions for more on this.

Useful Links

Questions‏‎ in English Grammar – a general look at making questions in English

Modal Verbs‏‎ in English – more on those modal verbs which don’t make questions with do

Auxiliary Verbs‏‎ in English Grammar – more on those auxiliary verbs which don’t make questions with do

Grammatical Person‏‎ in English – a look at how we deal with person (I, you, he, etc) in English grammar

Image © anieto2k

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