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Asking General and Special Questions

The climate istemperate.   Isthe climate temperate?   What is the climate like? The US produces food products. Doesthe US produce food products? What does the US produce? There aremany ethnic groups. Arethere many ethnic groups? What ethnic groups are there in the US?


Make questions from these statements.

1 She likes travelling

Does she like travelling?

2They're working.

Are they working?

3 He was playing tennis.

4 She went to school today.

5 They live here.

6 She's eating at the moment.

7 They drove to the station.

8 She's reading.

9 He had breakfast early.

10 They came today.

11 She drives to work.

12 He left this morning.

13 He was writing a letter.

14 They watched television.

15 She's at home.

16 They went home.

17 She likes horror films.

18 He's walking home.

19 They were eating ice cream.

20 They gave him the money.


In your notebook, make ten questions from the box below, and give the answers.


Who Why When Where What What time How How much are you going? did they leave? is she talking to? did they come here? are you looking at? did it cost?


Example: Why did they leave?

Because they wanted to catch the train.

Who asked you? Who did you ask? – Question words used as subject or object

Who drove the car?

Who did you see?

What happened?

What did you do?

who and what are sometimes the subject.

who and what as subject + verb:

Alison asked you. Whoasked you?Alison.

NOT Who did ask you!

who and what are sometimes the object.

who and what as object + question form of verb:

You asked Steve. Who did you ask?Steve.

• Who stayed withyou?

but Who did Jane stay with?(Preposition at the end.)

Write the questions.

1 Who came to see you? Simon came to see me.

2 Who did Julie meet last night? Julie met Barbara.

3 What… you… reading? I like reading novels.

4 Who ……? Joe made the cake.

5 Who ……? Helen found the car keys.

6 What ……? A cigarette started the fire.

7 What … you … ? I want some help.

8 Who … you? Caroline told me.

9 Who … with Paul? Sue stayed with Paul.

10 What …you …? I said nothing.

11 Who ……? David came with Mary.

12 What … you …? I study medicine.

13 Who ……? Linda lives with her parents.

14 Who ……? Greg opened the door.

15 What ……? Something terrible happened.


'Modals' are the small verbs like can, must, and might, which give certain

meanings to main verbs.



There are twelve modal verbs:










Ought to

Need (to)


• Positive is formed by putting the modal between the subject and the

main verb:

We should stay.

You oughtto go.

He might come.

• Negative is formed by adding not (or n't) after the modal:

We shouldn't stay.

You ought notto come.

He might notcome.

• Questions are formed by changing the position of the modal and the subject:

Should we stay? Shouldn'twe stay?

Ought you to go? Oughtn'tyon to go?

Might he come? Mightn'the come?


need can be needn't [modal form) or don't need to (verb form).

• Negative questions generally use n't. If not is used, there is a different word order:

Shouldn't we stay? Shouldwe notstay?

Using modals in questions and negatives

Rewrite these sentences as questions or negatives, according to the instruction given.

1 I must go to the hospital tonight. (negative)

I mustn't go to the hospital tonight.

2James can play the piano. (question)

Can James play the piano?

3 Peter can pay for us. (question)

4 We must go to the passport office today. (negative)

5 We can go to the bank tomorrow. (negative question)

6 You should phone the school today. (negative)

7 You can answer all the questions. (question)

8 She can pay for the lessons. (negative)

9 You can talk to Mary for me. (question)

10 Peter can check the times of the trains for us. (question)

11 We must say goodbye to Alan and Sue. (question)

12 They can stay here for a week. (negative)

13 We can buy a return ticket here. (question)

14 They should help you. (negative)

15 He can understand me. (negative question)

Can, could

can: (i)know how to, be able to:

I canswim.

Mary canspeak French.

can: (ii) be allowed to:

You cansit here.

My mother says I can'tgo out tonight.

could: knew how to:

Emily couldswim when she was two.

couldn't: (i) wasn't able to:

I'm sorry, I couldn'tcome yesterday.

I couldn'tgo to work this morning.

could/couldn't (ii) used in the second conditional:

If you gave me the money, couldI do the shopping?

• Requests: both can and could are used in requests. Could is a little more


Can I have a. glass of water, please?

Could you open the door for me, please?


can refers To the future if it is followed by a time word {next week, tomorrow, etc):

I cando it for you next month.

• In the negative: can —> can'tor cannot could —> couldn't or could not.

2. Complete these sentences using can or could. If two answers arc possible, write them both.

1 .Could.. n't you find John yesterday?

2 .Can/Could. I come and see you tomorrow?

3 … you pass me the salt, please?

4 … you play the guitar?

5 Why … 't the children go to the cinema tonight?

6 … you help me with my suitcase, please?

7 … you drive my car if you had to?

8 … you answer the phone for me?

9 Why … 't you come to the disco tomorrow?

10 It was very difficult to hear; I … n't understand what she was saying.

11 … I smoke in here?

12 We had an appointment yesterday afternoon, but he … n't see me.

13 I … do the job for you next year.

14 … you tell me the time, please?

15 I … n't find my front door key last night.

May, might

may and might indicate present or future possibility:

He mightarrive soon.

He mayarrive soon.

She mightbe angry if yon do that.

She maybe angry if you do that.

May I? or May we? are used for polite requests, in the same way as Can I? or Can we?

It is a very polite form:

May I ask you a question?

May I have a glass of water, please?


may is occasionally used in formal English to mean to be allowed to:

Guests may bring husbands or wives if they wish.

may and might are usually used in question form only with / or we: other persons more

often use the positive with Do you think ...?:

He mightbe late. —> Do you think he. mightbe late?

The negative of may is may not. (NOT mayn't).

The negative of might is might not or mightn't.

3. Rewrite these sentences using may or might. Where two answers are possible, write them both:

1 Maybe he'll get a new job.

He might/may get a new job.

2 Do you think I could have one of these cakes?

May I have one of these cakes?

3 Maybe there's some tea in the pot.

4 Would you mind if I asked you how old you are?

5 Visitors are not allowed to stay in the hospital after ten p.m.

6 Do you think I could have one of these sandwiches?

7 I think the car is in the station car park.

8 Is it all right if I use your phone?

9 Guests are allowed to wear casual dress.

10 Maybe she'll move to London.

11 There's a possibility that the show will be cancelled.

12 Maybe she'll be elected.

13 1 think that Andrew will collect the money.

14 Maybe Peter won't come to the cinema tomorrow.

15 Maybe it'll rain this afternoon.

4. Complete the telephone conversation using may {not) or might {not). Where two answers are possible, write them both.

RECEPTIONIST: Good morning, Bentley Supplies, how … I help you?

CALLER: … I speak to John Brown, please?

RECEPTIONIST: I'm afraid he isn't here this morning. Can I take

a message?

CALLER: No, I need to speak to him personally. Do you know what time he … be back?

RECEPTIONIST: He … be back for an hour after lunch but he … make it if the traffic is bad.

CALLER: I … be able to call this afternoon as I have a meeting. Could you tell John that I'll phone him this evening at home?

RECEPTIONIST: Certainly. … I have your name please?

CALLER: Yes, it's David Marks.

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