interrogative sentence

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The kind of sentence that asks a question and uses a question mark: “How can I do that?”

Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


What is an interrogative sentence?

An interrogative sentence is a sentence that asks a question and always ends with a question mark, as in Who shaved the cat?

Normally, in an English sentence the subject (the noun or pronoun that performs an action) comes before the predicate (the verb or verb phrase that says what the subject is doing). However, in an English interrogative sentence, the verb (almost always a form of the verb be) or an interrogative word such as who, what, when, where, and why come before the subject, as in Is that a real dragon?

There are three main kinds of questions you usually ask with interrogative sentences. The first is a question whose answer requires a yes or no response, as in Did you eat the pie? Another is a question that begins with one of the interrogative word, as in Where are we going? Finally, you might ask a question that offers a choice, as in Do you prefer cats or dogs?

In everyday life, we often simply refer to interrogative sentences as questions.

Why is interrogative sentences important?

The term interrogative sentence has been used since at least 1683. The first records of the term interrogative come from around 1510 and ultimately comes from the Latin interrogāre, meaning “to question, examine.” Interrogative sentences ask questions.

Often when you use an interrogative sentence, you want to discover new information—the answer to your question. Sometimes, though, you already know the answer and you’re using an interrogative sentence to produce a desired effect and not receive a reply. Such an interrogative sentence is known as a rhetorical question, as in Is there alien life in the universe?

Did you know … ?

While it is generally avoided in formal writing, interrogative sentences often omit large parts of sentences in speech or written dialogue. For example, a (brave) child might respond to their parent’s command to clean their room with Why? For a grammatically complete interrogative sentence, the statement should include both the subject and predicate, as in Why should I clean my room?

What are real-life examples of interrogative sentence?

The following chart lists some of the most common question words that are used to begin interrogative sentences.

Who Who are you?
When When does the movie start?
What What is in this box?
Where Where did we park?
Why Why is grass green?
How How do you make ice cream?


English students learn about interrogative sentences early on when studying grammar. We use interrogative sentences every day.



What other words are related to interrogative sentence?

Quiz yourself!

True or False?

An interrogative question must end with a question mark.

How to use interrogative sentence in a sentence