1. What are ‘be’ questions?

‘Be’ questions are questions that use the verb ‘be’.

They come in two forms:
– yes/no questions (without a question word)
– requests for details (with a question word)

2. Yes/no questions

Yes/no questions can be made by ‘inverting’ the subject and ‘be’ part of sentences.

I am…Am I…?Yes, I am.
No, I am not.
You are…Are you…?Yes, you are.
No, you are not.
He is…Is he…?Yes, he is.
No, he is not.
She is…Is she…?Yes, she is.
No, she is not.
It is…Is it…?Yes, it is.
No, it is not.
We are…Are we…?Yes, we are.
No, we are not.
They are…Are they…?Yes, they are.
No, they are not.

3. Examples of yes/no questions

Are you OK?Yes, I am.
Is Belinda here? (Belinda = she)No, she is not.
Is it cold in Moscow?Yes, it is.
Are we going to Burger King?No, we are not.
Are Malik and Christine rich? (Malik and Christine = they)Yes, they are.

4. Requests for details

By adding question words, yes/no questions change into requests for details.

Question words include: what, when, why, where, who, how
+ variants of what (what time, what size, what day)
+ variants of how (how much, how many, how long)

yes/no question+ question word
Is this…?What is this?
Who is this?
Are you…?Where are you?
How are you?
Am I…?What am I doing?
Why am I here?
Are they…?When are they going?
How long are they staying?

5. Examples of request for details

How are you?I am fine.
Where is your sister? (your sister = she)She is in Kenya.
Why are we going there?Because it is our job.
Who is the boss? (the boss = he/she)He is.
How much are the oranges? (the oranges = they)They are $2.

6. Test yourself

Click here to test your knowledge of this grammar point.