Teaching Question Forms

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Students who are often very familiar with standard object questions can have problems with subject questions, indirect questions, and question tags. This exercise uses a quiz to help students identify and improve their understanding of the differences in structure among the various question forms. The quiz itself is then used as the basis for more class interaction while students practice using the question forms.

Aim: Develop understanding and recognition of various question forms

Activity: General Knowledge Quizzes - pair work

Level: Intermediate


  • Ask students to take the quiz in pairs.
  • Once the quiz has been finished, correct the quiz as a class
  • Ask the students to match the number of the various quiz questions with the different types of question forms. Students first look at the example questions for each type of question form and then match the questions in the quiz that have a similar structure.
  • Ask students to discuss in pairs the differences in the various structures.
  • After a few minutes, discuss the differences in question forms as a class. Make sure that all the students understand the differences in structure of each of the question forms. You may have to spend some time helping them understand the differences, especially between subject and object questions.
  • Have each group prepare another quiz. Ask them to include at least two questions of each question form.
  • Students exchange their quizzes and take each other's quizzes. Once they correct the quizzes, they should once again decide which type of question form each question uses.

General Knowledge Quiz


  1. Which famous author penned the words, "To be or not to be..."?
  2. More people speak English than any other language in the world, don't they?
  1. Where was President John F. Kennedy assassinated?
  2. I wonder if you know when your teacher was born.
  3. Which famous actor became the president of the United States?
  4. Why do birds migrate?
  5. Learning English isn't difficult for most students, is it?
  6. Which language has the most words?
  7. Have you any idea when the Berlin wall came down?
  8. Who fought the British during the American Revolution?


Put the number of the question in the general knowledge quiz that has a similar structure under each of the following question forms. There are two example questions for each form.

Question Types

Object Question

Object questions are the most common type of question. Object questions place the helping verb before the subject followed by another verb. For example: Where do you live? 

Subject Question

Subject questions ask 'who' or 'what' does something. In other words, the speaker does not know who the subject is. Subject questions use regular sentence structure, commonly beginning with 'who', 'which' or 'what kind of'. 

Indirect Question

Indirect questions take object questions and introduces them with a simple phrase such as "Could you tell me ...", "I wonder ...", etc. Indirect questions are generally more polite than direct object questions.

Question Tag

Question tags are used to confirm information, or double check something you believe is true. The question tag comes at the end of a sentence using the opposite form of the helping verb.

More Questions for Practice

Decide which question type is used for each of the following questions. 

  • When did you get up this morning?
  • How often do you eat in a restaurant?
  • Who loves Jane?
  • Which type of car goes 250 m.p.h.?
  • I wonder when he is going to come.
  • Could you please tell me where the museum is?
  • You like Chinese food, don't you?
  • London is in England, isn't it?


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