Questions (2): formation of direct questions

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Non-native speakers often have difficulty, particularly in normal informal speech in forming questions correctly. They have been taught how to do so, but in the stress of the moment, they sometimes forget. I have often been asked, "How you say it?", which is not a structure that a native would use.

The rule that has been forgotten here is that for forming direct questions with question words. (These are sometimes called wh- words, which can be a confusing name in the case of how, which is a wh- word that does not start with wh-.) When we ask such a question, the usual form is: [wh-word + auxiliary verb + Subject + Verb (+ Complement(s)) (+ Adverbial(s))]. So the ill-formed question above, "How you say it?", should be "How do you say it?" (or "How should I say it?", or several other ways of asking this question).

Questions with question, or wh- , words are open-ended questions. The answers can be very different. A second form of question expects only two answers: the yes/no question. The direct question form of this is formed with the basic structure [auxiliary verb + Subject + Verb (+ Complement(s)) (+ Adverbial(s) )], for example "Are you going out tonight?"