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Present Progressive Tense Click for Audio The present progressive tense takes the form be + V ing. The form of be is determined by the subject of the sentence. He is singing. She is listening. They are sleeping. I am going home. In English, the present progressive is used to indicate actions happening at the time of speaking, or right now. Jake is speaking to his mother right now. Please keep quiet. The baby is sleeping. The present progressive can also be used to indicate actions occurring over a period of time which includes the present. I'm taking five classes at the university. Grace is working at a chemical factory. What are you doing these days? The present progressive is sometimes used to indicate ongoing, developing, imminent or future actions. Ongoing Don't bother Mr. Grumpy while he is watching the football game. Developing I'm beginning to like this place! Imminent A: Honey, where are you? B: I'm coming. Just let me put on my shoes. Future (Note the presence of future time words.)

A: Are you going to the concert this weekend? B: I wish I could, but I'm meeting an important client from Oklahoma. Some non-action verbs do not occur in the present progressive tense. The simple present is sufficient.

For Conversation practice: Situations: Talking about here and now For an example of this in context, see Writing: Describing Action in Progress See also: Speaking: Talking about here and now Present Continuous (from


Pronouns Click for Audio Pronouns are used in place of nouns. They enable speakers to refer to something or someone without having to repeat its name. Example: Mr. Jones lives in Kentucky. He frequently travels to Memphis to see his wife. She is a lawyer and only sees him on weekends. The subject and object pronouns in English are as follows: Subject Object I You He She It Me You Him Her It

We They

Us Them

Use subject pronouns when the pronoun refers to the doer of the action or the main topic (subject) of the sentence. Henry hit a baseball over the fence. He didn't know where it would land. It went right through Mrs. Crabby's window. She was furious. She called Henry's parents and told them what happened. Henry had to pay for the window with his hard-earned money. He wasn't too happy about that, but he learned a lesson. Now, he only plays baseball at the ball park. Use object pronouns when the pronoun refers to the receiver of the action or is the object of a prepositional phrase. Ms. Lindon met her husband in a gold mine. The first time she saw him, she was in love. He also liked everything about her. He asked her to marry him the next day. Many friends joined them in the wedding celebration. Reminders: Do not use subject pronouns in the object position or vice versa. WRONG: Give the balloon to he. Correct: Give the balloon to him. WRONG: Correct: Her is the one I want to see. She is the one I want to see.

Remember to use he/him when referring to males and she/her when referring to females! Mary lived on a farm. He had a little lamb. Mary lived on a farm. She had a little lamb. Mr. Smith has gone to Washington. I'll give her the message. Mr. Smith has gone to Washington. I'll give him the message.

WRONG: Correct: WRONG: Correct:

For Practice: See

Object Pronouns (from The Internet TESL Journal) Pronouns (from The Internet TESL Journal)

See also: Vocabulary: Pronouns Pronouns (from Guide to Grammar and Writing)


Sentence Subjects Click for Audio What can be the subject of a sentence? A noun: Jonathan loves chocolates. Mrs. Smith lives next door to the barber shop. The yellow dog makes me nervous. Crocodiles are very dangerous. A pronoun: It isn't time yet. They went to sleep at 9:00. Are you coming to the dance? Words like everyone, everybody, everything, something, anybody, nothing, no one Everything is ready. Is everyone here? Is anybody home? Quantifiers with nouns/pronouns Without nouns/pronouns. Some of the pie was gone. Some (count) are here. Some (non-count) is not. Some of the pies were gone. All is well. All are watching. Both of them are in the foyer. Neither of them is in the foyer. None of those people are nice. None of those people is my friend. Both are correct. (as a group) Neither is correct. (separately)
(all of them are not nice)

(not any individual)

Noun clauses Whoever left the food on the table is in trouble. What you say is not important. How you do it is up to you. "Dummy" subjects There are five people in the room. There is some milk in the refrigerator. Be carefulIn most cases, the words before the verb are the subject of the sentence. It is just the three of us. The three of us are going to be there. Prepositional phrases cannot be subjects, even if they come at the beginning of a sentence. On the table was a red hat.On the table were a red hat, white gloves and a blue scarf. Some words look plural but are actually singular: Physics is my favorite subject. The news was good.Scotch and soda is my favorite drink. (This is very uncommon usage.) My faithful friend and companion is Terry. Mass or "group" nouns may be singular or plural, depending on focus. The family is more important than the individual.The family are going in separate directions. With either/neither...or/nor, the subject closest to the verb determines agreement. Neither John nor Jane was the winner.Either the men or the women are going to take the cake.Neither Mr. Jones nor his sons have a car.Neither the boys nor their father has a car. Some can sometimes be used to indicate an unidentified person.

Some woman was here to see you.Some guy keeps calling you. Relative clauses do not affect the main subject-verb relationship; however, S-V agreement within the relative clause may be different, depending on the meaning. The people who live there are my friends.The house that the Jacksons built needs to be remodeled. One of the men who live there is deranged.He is the only one who lives there. If you have questions or comments about this page, please contact us. Be sure to include the title of this page in the Subject line of your e-mail.


Simple Future Tense Click for Audio In English the Future Time is expressed in a number of ways. The most common are with will and be going to. See examples from the following sentences. I will finish my homework in an hour. I'm going to finish my homework in an hour. With be going to, make sure the verb be agrees with its subject. I'm going to eat a whole watermelon. She's going to eat a whole watermelon. Actually, we're going to eat a whole watermelon together. In speech, the words going to are often pronounced ? gonna .? Don't forget the be verb. A: What are you gonna do this weekend? B: I'm gonna stay home and clean my carpet. NOT: I gonna stay?

NOT: I'm gonna to stay? What's the difference between will and be going to? Both can be used interchangeably in some cases. (Predictions and guesses) My prints will be here tomorrow. My prints are going to be here tomorrow. Be going to is preferable for strong intentions or for describing the inevitable. I'm going to give her a piece of my mind. There's no way they can score 21 points in 2 minutes. We're going to win! Will is the preferable form for making offers or expressing pop decisions. A: Who will help me finish this chocolate cake? B: I will. A: I have two tickets left for the front row. B: I'll take them. Sometimes future time can be expressed with either the present or present progressive tense. In such cases, time words must be expressed or clearly implied. I fly to Beijing tomorrow. I'm flying to Beijing tomorrow. Sorry I can't attend the picnic on Saturday. I'm flying to Beijing .


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Simple Past Tense Click for Audio

Explanation 1. The simple past tense is expressed with the past form of the verb and nothing else. My grandfather died last year. (Correct) My grandfather was died last year. (Incorrect) My grandfather has died last year. (Incorrect) 2. The simple past tense refers to a. action which occurred at a specific time in the past b. completed action c. past status Examples Past status Specific past action I ate lunch at noon today. He drove to work yesterday. Completed action John was still She finally mailed the letter. single in Jan finished her report on time.1995. Jane was a movie star.

Note the usage of the past tense in the following story. Yesterday Mrs. Hubbard had a very rough day. In the morning, she went to the kitchen and looked in the cupboard for some food for her dog, but the cupboard was empty. Her poor dog stared up at her with its hungry eyes, and she knew she had to do something quickly. She hurried to the grocery store to buy some dog food, but unfortunately the store was out of her dog's favorite brand, so she had to catch a bus downtown. After buying the food, she waited for a half hour in the rain to get a taxi. When she finally got home, her dog was sound asleep on the living room sofa. Common problems with the past tense 1. Using the present tense when the past tense is required. Last week, Tonya fix her neighbor's car. (Incorrect) Last week, Tonya fixed her neighbor's car. (Correct) 2. Using "was" with verbs in the past tense. It was happened one night in September. (Incorrect) It happened one night in September. (Correct) Exercises Change the verbs in the following sentence into past tense. 1. Yesterday, I go to the restaurant with a client.

2. We drive around the parking lot for 20 minutes in order to find a parking space. 3. When we arrive at the restaurant, the place is full. 4. The waitress asks us if we have reservations. 5. I say, "No, my secretary forgets to make them." 6. The waitress tells us to come back in two hours. 7. My client and I slowly walk back to the car. 8. Then we see a small grocery store. 9. We stop in the grocery store and buy some sandwiches. 10. That is better than waiting for two hours.

Correct the mistakes in the following sentences: 1. Last night, Samantha have pizza for supper. 2. My pet lizard was died last month. 3. Yesterday I spend two hours cleaning my living room. 4. This morning before coming to class, Jack eats two bowls of cereal. 5. What was happened to your leg?


This page is sponsored by: English Course London

Simple Present Tense Click for Audio 1A. Explanation The simple present tense takes one of two forms depending on the subject. Subject base form -s form

I, you They, We Plural nouns

eat go work

He, She, It Singular nouns Non count-nouns 1B. Examples Subjects followed by verb in base form: I like rice. You look nice. They think twice. We throw dice. Chefs use spice. The boys ring the doorbell. Children sing on special occasions. Some people bring gifts to parties. Bees sting when they are disturbed. 1C. Exercises 1. Jerry (come/comes) to school on time.

eats goes works

Subjects with verb in ?s form: She makes toys. He rakes leaves. It takes time. Mom bakes pies. Water slakes thirst. Jill loves dates. Mr. Smith fills crates. Grandpa washes plates. The dog jumps gates.

2. Jerry and Linda (come/comes) to school on time. 3. Ms. Jones (teach/teaches) geography. 4. The cat (sleep/sleeps) on the sofa every day. 5. Milk (cost/costs) two dollars a quart. 2A. Explanation Use the simple present tense to indicate: 1. Routine actions 2. Facts

2B. Examples Facts Routine actions Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean. John brushes his teeth every morning. Carol usually drives to work. The teacher grades homework on Fridays. Some birds fly south for the winter. Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen.

Note how the present tense is used in the following paragraph. Mr. Lee is a bus driver. Every day he gets up at 7:00 a.m. and prepares for his day. He showers, eats his breakfast, and puts on his uniform. His wife drives him to the station where he checks in with his supervisor. Then, he gets on Bus #405 and starts the engine. He pulls out of the parking lot and begins his route. At his first stop, he picks up Mrs. Miller, who lives in a red house on the corner of Main Street and Seventh Avenue. She works at the post office and has to be to work by 9:00. At the next stop, the Bartlett twins get on the bus. They attend class at Bayside Elementary. More children get on at the next three stops, and they ride until the bus reaches their school. Mr. Lee enjoys seeing the kids every day and is happy to see them again in the afternoon when he drives them safely back home. 2C. Exercises 1. To practice the present tense, reread the above paragraph, then try to repeat the main ideas in your own words. Be sure to use the -s form of the verb when the subject of a sentence is singular. Have a partner listen to your speech and check for correct usage of verbs. 2. Tell whether the present tense is appropriate in the following sentences. 1. Yesterday I go to Washington D.C. 2. Every day, Mr. Johnson cleans his living room. 3. They usually take the bus to the office. 4. Right now Susan eats her breakfast. 5. Melinda and Harry work in the bank. Common Mistakes with the simple present tense 1. Not using the -s form with singular subjects: Jack likes Chinese food. (Correct) Correct Correct Correct Correct Correct Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect

Jack like Chinese food.


2. Using the simple present tense when another tense is required. Last night I watched television for two hours. Last night I watch television for two hours. (Correct) (Incorrect)


Singular vs. Plural Click for Audio English nouns can be classified as count (singular and plural) and non-count. The singular form is used when considering the noun as a single item (count) or entity (noncount). brick dog airplane person foot water sugar truth education The plural form is used when considering more than one of the same item. Non-count nouns do not have a plural form. bricks dogs airplanes people feet Things to be aware of: Regular plurals Most plurals are formed by adding -s or -es to the singular noun: boys cats kisses cars rocks watches pens tips boxes pills chiefs dishes pronounce /z/ pronounce /s/ pronounce /Iz/

In some cases, there are special spelling rules that need to be considered when forming the plural. knives hobbies quizzes Irregular plurals Some nouns take on a different form in the plural:

women Non-count nouns





Non-count nouns do not have a plural form; however, some nouns can be used in both the count and non-count sense: I have a lot of experience. I have a lot of experiences.

Third-person singular "-s" Singular and non-count nouns (in the third person) require the "-s" form of the verb in the present tense. The girl loves painting. My dog likes to eat meat. Johnny lives next door to Jenny. Milk contains nutrients. Tommy has two hobbies. Jerry is from Colorado. Singular count nouns require an article (the, a, an) unless they are "proper" nouns Mr. Jones went to Arizona. they are preceded by a possessive My mother loves my father. they are preceded by this, that, each, every, either, neither, or one. Each man contributed one dollar. (Wrong: Apple is on table. [Articles are required.]) The/An apple is on the table. Plural nouns and singular non-count nouns do not require an article in the "generic" sense: Water is important for plants. However, they require articles (the, some) in most other cases. Please put some wine in the glasses.


Subject-Verb Agreement Click for Audio Third person singular -s Use the -s form of a verb in the present tense when the subject is third person singular. For all other subjects, use the base form in the present tense. Example: base form I live in Athens. They live in Crete. The Smiths live in Rome. -s form He lives in Cyprus. She lives in Malta. Tim lives in Naples. Ms. Conner lives in Milan. The verb have The -s form of the verb have is has. We have a winner. He has a trophy. The verb be The -s form (present tense) for be is is. For the past tense, it is was. Was is also used with first person singular subjects (I) in the past tense. (Am is used in the present tense. Are is used with other subjects in the present, and were is used in the past.) She is here. He is not here. I am here too. You are right. They are wrong. She was home yesterday. Ron wasn't home yesterday. I was here yesterday. We were here too.

Auxiliary verbs When auxiliary verbs are used, only the first verb carries the third person singular -s. Jean does not like spaghetti. (Correct) Jean does not likes spaghetti. (Wrong!) Jean do not likes spaghetti. (Wrong!) Elsa is eating her dinner. (Correct) Elsa is eats her dinner. (Wrong!) Leo is going to eat later. Frank has eaten lunch already. (Correct) Frank have eaten lunch already. (Wrong!) Modals Do not use the -s form of the verb with modals, regardless of the subject. Ian can eat twelve bowls of rice. (Correct) Ian can eats twelve bowls of rice. (Wrong!) See also: Grammar: Verb List Grammar: The Verb "Be"


The Verb "Be" Click for Audio The verb be takes on different forms in the present and past. Present am is is is are Contraction 'm 's 's 's 're Past was was was was were

I He She It

You are 're were They are 're were we The verb be indicates existence, temporary condition or permanent status. It is really hot today.Grady's not here right now.Greg and Tim are engineers.Trudy was sick yesterday.Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean. The base form is be, the past participle is been, and the -ing form is being. I'll be back tomorrow.He has been a doctor since 1998.She is being nice today. The verb be is also used in progressive tenses, passives and prepositional collocations: Progressive tenses: He is writing a letter to his brother.Jeff was cleaning the house this morning.The Holleys have been living there since April. Passive voice: The people were surprised by the news.Craig was stopped by the policeman. Prepositional collocations: Tracy is fond of chocolates.Cassie is not afraid of snakes. I'm interested in making money.

For Practice: See

The Verb "To Be" (from The Internet TESL Journal)

See also: Vocabulary: Be Verbs If you have questions or comments about this page, please contact us. Be sure to include the title of this page in the Subject line of your e-mail.


This, That, These, Those Click for Audio Demonstratives are used to point out a particular item. They are as follows:

This (indicates something close to the speaker)That (indicates something away from the speaker) These (indicates some things close to the speaker)Those (indicates some things away from the speaker) Example: A: What is this? (pointing to something held in the speaker's hand or near the speaker) B: A pencil. A: What is that? (pointing to something at a distance from the speaker) B: A tree. Remember that demonstratives are used in reference to the speaker. (What is near "you" may not be near "me" and vice versa.) A: What's that you're holding?B: This is an egg. Here, catch!A: Oops.B: That's a mess. A: What are these (holding up a pair of slippers)B: Those are slippers. Be sure to use this/that with singular and non-count nouns and these/those with count nouns. This orange is sour. These oranges are sweet. That truck is full. Those trucks are empty. This milk is fresh. Sometimes demonstratives can be used as pronouns (to refer to a particular noun.) Give me that! Whose are these? Give me that (spoon). Whose are these (socks)? This and that can also be used with one. However, these and those are more commonly used alone. I want this one. I want these. (not these ones) I'll take that one. I'll take those. On the telephone, this and that are used differently in British and American English to identify callers. Example: Receiver: Hello. Caller: I was wondering if you would be interested in buying . . . Receiver: Who is this? (American) Who is that? (British) (Both expressions are used to ask the caller to identify himself/herself.) Caller: This is Mr. Fuller from the Acme Brush Company. (Same for both British and American English) Caller: Hi Jack. Long time no see!

Receiver: Is this Bob? What a surprise! (American) Is that Bob? What a surprise! (British)


Verb List Click for Audio Regular Verbs base call clean look talk end wait kiss wash live love beg sin play stay cry die tie Notes: 1. Pronunciation differences in past/past participle after /p, s, k, f/ sounds 2. Pronunciation differences in past/past participle after /t, d/ sounds 3. Spelling and pronunciation differences in -s form after /s, sh, ch, z/ sounds 4. Dropping of "silent e" with -ing endings 5. Doubled consonants after "short" vowel sounds -s form calls cleans looks talks ends waits kisses washes lives loves begs sins plays stays cries studies dies ties past called cleaned looked talked ended waited kissed washed lived loved begged sinned played stayed cried studied died tied past participle called cleaned looked talked ended waited kissed washed lived loved begged sinned played stayed cried studied died tied -ing form calling cleaning looking talking ending waiting kissing washing living loving begging sinning playing staying crying studying dying tying notes

1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5

6 6

6. Spelling differences when "y" is preceded by a consonant

Irregular Verbs < td>< td> base cut fit hit let put quit set shut split upset burst cast cost hurt spread knit sit spit begin swim ring sing spring cling fling sling sting swing wring hang drink shrink stink think bring buy seek fight catch teach creep keep sleep

-s form cuts fits hits lets puts quits sets shuts splits upsets bursts casts costs hurts spreads knits sits spits begins swims rings sings springs clings flings slings stings swings wrings hangs drinks shrinks stinks thinks brings buys seeks fights catches teaches creeps keeps sleeps

past cut fit hit let put quit set shut split upset burst cast cost hurt spread knit/knitted sat spat/spit began swam rang sang sprang clung flung slung stung swung wrung hung/hanged** drank shrank stank thought brought bought sought fought caught taught crept kept slept

past participle cut fit hit let put quit set shut split upset burst cast cost hurt spread knit/knitted sat spat/spit begun swum rung sung sprung clung flung slung stung swung wrung hung/hanged drunk shrunk stunk thought brought bought sought fought caught taught crept kept slept

-ing form cutting fitting hitting letting putting quitting setting shutting splitting upsetting bursting casting costing* hurting spreading knitting sitting spitting beginning swimming ringing singing springing clinging flinging slinging stinging swinging wringing hanging sinking shrinking stinking thinking bringing buying seeking fighting catching teaching creeping keeping sleeping

sweep weep bleed breed feed flee lead speed meet bend lend send spend deal feel kneel dream mean spill build burn hold sell tell find grind wind break choose freeze speak steal wake weave arise drive ride rise write bite hide slide get forget give forgive forbid fall swell dive

sweeps weeps bleeds breeds feeds flees leads speeds meets bends lends sends spends deals feels kneels dreams means spills builds burns holds sells tells finds grinds winds breaks chooses freezes speaks steals wakes weaves arises drives rides rises writes bites hides slides gets forgets gives forgives forbids falls swells dives

swept wept bled bred fed fled led sped/speeded met bent lent sent spent dealt felt knelt dreamt/dreamed meant spilt/spilled built burnt/burned held sold told found ground wound broke chose froze spoke stole woke wove arose drove rode rose wrote bit hid slid got forgot gave forgave forbade/forbad fell swelled dove/dived

swept wept bled bred fed fled led sped/speeded met bent lent sent spent dealt felt knelt dreamt/dreamed meant spilt/spilled built burnt/burned held sold told found ground wound broken chosen frozen spoken stolen woken woven arisen driven ridden risen written bitten hidden slid gotten forgotten given forgiven forbidden fallen swollen dived

sweeping weeping bleeding breeding feeding fleeing leading speeding meeting bending lending sending spending dealing feeling kneeling dreaming meaning spilling building burning holding selling telling finding grinding winding breaking choosing freezing speaking stealing waking weaving arising driving riding rising writing biting hiding sliding getting forgetting giving forgiving forbidding falling swelling diving

blow fly grow know throw draw withdraw show eat beat take forsake mistake shake make swear wear tear bear stand understand become come run dig spin stick strike do go have hear lay pay say lie light lose leave prove read see sew shave shine shoot win be

blows flies grows knows throws draws withdraws shows eats beats takes forsakes mistakes shakes makes swears wears tears bears stands understands becomes comes runs digs spins sticks strikes does goes has hears lays pays says lies lights loses leaves proves reads sees sews shaves shines shoots wins is/are/am

blew flew grew knew threw drew withdrew showed ate beat took forsook mistook shook making swore wore tore bore stood understood became came ran dug spun stuck struck did went had heard laid paid said lay lit/lighted lost left proved read saw sewed shaved shined/shone < td> won was/were

blown flown grown known thrown drawn withdrawn shown eaten beaten taken forsaken mistaken shaken sworn worn torn born stood understood become come run dug spun stuck struck/stricken done gone had heard laid paid said lain lit/lighted lost left proven/proved read seen sewn/sewed shaven/shaved shined/shone shot won been

blowing flying growing knowing throwing drawing withdrawing showing eating beating taking forsaking mistaking shaking swearing wearing tearing bearing standing understanding becoming coming running digging spinning sticking striking doing going having hearing laying paying saying lying lighting losing leaving proving reading seeing sewing shaving shining shooting winning being

* "Cost" does not usually occur in the -ing form. ** "hang" has two different meanings and thus two usages in past/past participle For Practice: See Choose the Correct Form of the Verb (from The Internet TESL Journal) Common Irregular Verbs (from The Internet TESL Journal)

See also: Vocabulary: Action Verbs


Wh- Questions Click for Audio Wh- Questions allow a speaker to find out more information about topics. They are as follows: When? Time Where? Who? Why? How? What? Place Person Reason Manner Object/Idea/Action

Other words can also be used to inquire about specific information: Which (one)? Choice of alternatives Whose? Whom? Possession Person (objective formal)

How much? How many? How long? How often? How far? What kind (of)?

Price, amount (non-count) Quantity (count) Duration Frequency Distance Description

The "grammar" used with wh- questions depends on whether the topic being asked about is the "subject" or "predicate" of a sentence. For the subject pattern, simply replace the person or thing being asked about with the appropriate wh-word. Who has my (Someone has my baseball.) baseball? (Something is bothering you.) What is bothering you?

For the predicate pattern, wh- question formation depends on whether there is an "auxiliary" verb in the original sentence. Auxiliary or "helping" verbs are verbs that precede main verbs. Auxiliary verbs are italicized in the following sentences. I can do it. They are leaving. I have eaten my lunch. I should have finished my homework. To make a question using the predicate pattern, first form a yes/no question by inverting the subject and (first) auxiliary verb. Then, add the appropriate wh- word to the beginning of the sentence. (You will leave some time.) ? will you leave When will you leave? (He is doing something.) ? is he doing What is he doing? (They have been somewhere.) ? have they been Where have they been? If there is no auxiliary and the verb is "be," invert the subject and verb, then add the appropriate wh- word to the beginning of the sentence. (He is someone.) ? is he Who is he? (The meeting was some time.) ? was the meeting

When was the meeting? If there is no auxiliary and the verb is not "be," add do to the beginning of the sentence. Then add the appropriate wh-question word. Be sure to "transfer" the tense and number from the main verb to the word do. (You want something.) ? do you want What do you want? (You went somewhere.) ? did you go (past tense) Where did you go? (She likes something.) ? does she like (third person -s) What does she like? For Practice: See Question Words (from The Internet TESL Journal) What, When or Where? (from The Internet TESL Journal)

See also: Speaking: Simple Questions Speaking: Asking for information


Yes/No Questions Click for Audio There are many types of questions in English. The easiest are questions that can be answered "yes" or "no." A: Are you from around here?B: Yes, I am.A: Do you come here often?B: Yes, I do.A: Can I buy you a drink?B: No, thanks.A: Are you married?B: Yes, I am. To form a question from a statement, first count the number of verbs. John is a doctor. Jane drives a sports car. One verb: is (be) One verb: drives

Joan played basketball last night. One verb: played Jan is eating her dinner. Two verbs: is eating June has rented an apartment. Two verbs: has rented Jen has been living there since 1969. Three verbs: has been living If there is one verb in the statement and the verb is a form of be, simply switch the positions of the subject and verb. Statement Question John is a doctor. The Jensens are here. Is John a doctor? Are the Jensens here?

If there are two verbs, simply switch the positions of the subject and first verb. Statement Jan is eating dinner. June has rented an apartment. Jen has been living here since 1969. Question Is Jan eating dinner? Has June rented an apartment? Has Jen been living here since 1969?

If there is one verb, and the verb is not a form of be, the process is more complex. 1. Add Do to the beginning of the sentence. The Johnsons live in that house. Do the Johnsons live in that house?

2. If the main verb "carries" a third person singular s, move the s to Do, making it Does. Do Jane drives a car? (Not finished yet!) Does Jane drive a car? (Good question!) 3. If the main verb "carries" past tense, move the past tense to Do, making it Did. Joan played basketball last night. Do Joan played basketball? (Not finished yet!) Did Joan play basketball? (Good question!) In conversation, most questions are asked of the second person (you) and answered in the first (I). A: Are you from California?B: No, I'm from Oregon. Are you?A: Yes, I'm from Hollywood.B: Do you know any movie stars?A: No, I don't go out at night. In British English, the main verb have sometimes functions like be in questions. This is not common in American English. Statement You have a pet ferret. Question Have you a pet ferret? (British) Do you have a pet ferret? (American) Jane drives a car.

See also: Speaking: Simple Questions Vocabulary: Wh Words