Yes/No Questions With TO BE


In English, there are two main types of questions which are;

  • Yes / No Questions
  • Wh – Questions


Yes / No questions are the questions which are answered yes or no.  It means when we are asking yes/no questions, we are expecting the answer, yes or no. 

To form Yes/No questions, we use one of these verbs: auxiliary verbs ( be, do and have ) or modal verbs ( can, may,etc.).

We can not use questions words like what, how, why, who, etc. whilw making Yes/No questions.


Yes / No questions are made, using the verb (am, is, are, was, were, have, had, do, does, did, can, will, should etc.) at the beginning of a sentence. Namely, subject and verb change their position in statement and question.

With An Auxiliary Verb ( “Be” or “Do” or “Have” ) or Modal Verb

With ” To Be”

The verb “ To Be ” has three forms in the presentamis and are

The verb “ To Be ” has two forms in the pastwas and were.

Subject Present Form “Be” Past Form “Be”
I am was
He, She, It is was
We, You, They are were


1. If the main verb of the sentence is “to be”, question form is

Be ( am, is, are, was, were ) + Subject + ….

Sentence Question
am a doctor. Am I a doctor?
He is from England. Is he from England?
We are happy. Are we happy?
She was ready. Was she ready?
They were the same. Were they the same?

2. If the sentence has a main verb and an auxiliary verb “to be”, question form is

Be ( as an auxiliary verb ) + Subject + Main Verb + ….

Sentence Question
am studying English. Am I studying English?
He is watching television. Is he watching television?
We are working in the office. Are we working in the office?
She was waiting at the bus stop. Was she waiting at the bus stop?
They were coming to take me away. Were they coming to take me away?


When there is more than one auxiliary verb in a sentence (especially in passive voice ), we put first auxiliary verb at the beginning of a sentence, the other(s) comes after the subject. In this case, 

Question Form is;

Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Auxiliary Verb + Main Verb + ….

Sentence Question
The conversation was being recorded. Was the conversation being recorded?
The car had already been parked when we arrived. Had the car already been parked when we arrived?
The window are being broken. Are the window being broken?

3. If we want to make a negative yes/no question with”to be”, question form is

Be ( am, is, are, was, were ) + NOT + Subject + ….

Sentence Question
He is not ( isn’t ) a student. Isn’t he a student?
You are not ( aren’t ) going to swim. Aren’t you going to swim?
That was not ( wasn’t ) my car. Wasn’t that your car?
They were not ( weren’t ) listening  to the music. Weren’t they listening to the music?
The book was not ( wasn’t ) given to me. Wasn’t the book given to me?

4. When we are replying the question, we can use short or long form for the answer. Answer forms are;

Yes + Subject + Auxiliary Verb  ( + … )

No + Subject + Auxiliary Verb + Not ( + …. )

Question Answer ( Short -Long )
Am I sympathetic? Yes. / Yes, you are. / Yes, you are sympathetic.
Is she coming? No. / No, she isn’t. / No, she isn’t coming.
Are they married? Yes. / Yes, they are. / Yes, they are married.
Was he nervous? No. / No, he wasn’t. / No, he wasn’t nervous.
Were you visiting your family? Yes. / Yes, we were. / Yes, we were visiting our family.
Has the statue been painted?  No. / No, it hasn’t. / No, it hasn’t been painted.

( generally short form is used as an answer )