wikiHow to Change a Statement to Question

Three Methods:Changing Statements with Helping VerbsChanging Other Statements into QuestionsAdvanced Methods

English has several ways to write a question. Practice changing statements to questions so you can learn each method.

Method 1
Changing Statements with Helping Verbs

  1. 1
    Look for helping verbs. Helping verbs are separate words that change the meaning of the main verb.[1] If a statement has a helping verb, you can change it to a question easily. Here are some example statements with the helping verb in bold text:
    • The teachers have treated us kindly.
    • They had already eaten.
    • She will win the fight.
    • My cat would climb that tree.
    • A pie can feed eight people.
    • We shall meet again.
    • I was standing.
  2. 2
    Move the helping verb to the start of the sentence. Leave the rest of the sentence as it is. Just move the helping verb to the front, and you've got a question.
    • The teachers have treated us kindly. → Have the teachers treated us kindly?
    • They had already eaten. → Had they already eaten?
    • She will win the fight. → Will she win the fight?
    • My cat would climb that tree. → Would my cat climb that tree?
    • That pie can feed eight people. → Can that pie feed eight people?
    • We shall meet again. → Shall we meet again?
    • I was standing. → Was I standing?
  3. 3
    Only move one word from long helping verbs. Some helping verbs are more than one word long. For example, has been, will have been, will be, or would have been are all helping verbs. Just move the first word to the beginning of the sentence, and leave the rest where they are. Here are two examples:
    • Your brother has been growing quickly. → Has your brother been growing quickly?
    • I could have been studying. → Could I have been studying?
  4. 4
    Look for helping verbs in contractions. Helping verbs are often put in contractions, making them hard to find. Keep an eye out for examples like these:
    • We'll be running all day. → We will be running all day. → Will we be running all day?
    • Our boss hasn't arrived yet. → Hasn't our boss arrived yet? (Or you can say "Has our boss not arrived yet?")

Method 2
Changing Other Statements into Questions

  1. Image titled Change a Statement to Question Step 1Bullet1
    Learn when to use "does". If the statement has a singular subject and a verb in the simple present tense, add "does" to the beginning of the sentence. Change the verb to its base form, dropping all special verb endings.[2] Here are a few examples:
    • He cleans the bedroom. → Does he clean the bedroom?
    • A year consists of four seasons. → Does a year consist of four seasons?
    • My cat listens when I talk. → Does my cat listen when I talk?
  2. Image titled Change a Statement to Question Step 2Bullet1
    Add "do" instead for plural subjects or "you". If the subject is a plural noun and the verb is in the simple present tense, add the word "do" to the beginning of the sentence. Use "do" when the subject is "you" as well.
    • They greet their teacher. → Do they greet their teacher?
    • The protesters call for change. → Do the protesters call for change?
    • You throw stones at my window. → Do you throw stones at my window?
  3. Image titled Change a Statement to Question Step 3Bullet1
    Use "did" for simple past tense verbs. "Did" is also used when the verb is in the simple past. It does not matter whether the subject is singular or plural. Even though the question is still in the past tense, change the verb back to its base, present tense form.
    • He saved the cat. → Did he save the cat?
    • The sheep jumped over the fence. → Did the sheep jump over the fence?
    • He broke my oven. → Did he break my oven?
    • Remember, a simple past tense verb has no helping verb. If you see the word "was" or "has" in front of a verb, you'll need to use the helping verb method instead.
  4. 4
    Move the verb "to be". Statements with the verb "to be" do not need any extra words to turn into questions. Just move the verb in front of the subject.
    • I am happy to see you. → Am I happy to see you?
    • You are going home. → Are you going home?
    • He is thirsty. → Is he thirsty?
    • I was tired. → Was I tired?
    • You were happy. → Were you happy?
    • My father will leave tomorrow. → Will my father leave tomorrow?
    • For other forms of "to be", use the same rules as helping verbs: move the first word only. For example: The horse has been angry. → Has the horse been angry?

Method 3
Advanced Methods

  1. 1
    Add question words. Words like who, what, when, why, where and how are used to find out more information. Adding one of these to a statement doesn't just make it a question; it asks for a specific detail. Use the rules above to turn the statement into a question, then add the question word to the beginning. You must also switch the subject and the verb.
    • You are going home. → When are you going home?
    • The sheep jumped over the fence. → How did the sheep jump over the fence?
      • In this example you are adding a question word and changing the form of the verb jump from simple past to emphatic past (the sheep did jump). You could just as easily use have, which is the simple present perfect, or were (playing), the past progressive.
  2. 2
    Add a tag question. Tag questions are statements with a question "tagged" onto the end.[3] The statement stays exactly the same, except for a comma and a question fragment at the end. People often use tag questions when they're looking for confirmation of a fact. Here are some examples:
    • She eats fish. → She eats fish, right?
    • James Joyce was Irish. → James Joyce was Irish, wasn't he?
  3. 3
    Use intonation. When spoken aloud, the same sentence can become a question with a different tone of voice, with no other changes. This is never used in writing.
    • The correct intonation varies depending on what region you're in. It's best to learn this technique from a fluent English speaker from the region you'd like to visit.
  4. 4
    Add a question mark. You can add question marks to the ends of sentences in writing, though generally these would be dialog questions.
    • You are going home. → You are going home?
    • She's a scientist. → She's a scientist? (insinuates disbelief)


  • There are some minor differences between questions in British English and American English. Any English speaker will understand both versions, but you may sound unusual if you use one instead of the other. Here are a couple examples:
    • The helping verbs "must" and "might" are not often used in American English. A British English speaker would say "Must I pay for your dinner?" but most American English speakers would say "Do I have to pay for your dinner?"
    • The word "shall" is much more common in England than in the United States.
    • In both of these examples, Americans may use the British version in polite, formal contexts.
  • The official name for a "helping verb" is an "auxiliary verb."

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