Developmental Hierarchy of Question Formation

Yes/No Questions – For example, “Are you tired?”  “Is he a seal?”  “Do you like cookies?”

Basic Auxiliary – questions beginning with: do, is, can, are, will, did;  For example, “Can

I have one?”,” Is it a dog?”

-Wh questions – questions beginning with: who, what, where, when, why, how, which; For example, “Who is your teacher?”  “Where is the pencil?”  “Which pencil is blue?” “Why do birds have wings?”

Advanced Auxiliary – questions beginning with: does, may, should, were, have, has; For example, “Does a dog bark?”, etc.

Tag Questions – For example, “He’s hungry, isn’t he?”

Negative Contractions – questions beginning with: won’t, can’t, doesn’t, shouldn’t, etc.

Basic Question Activities and Worksheets

Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity. Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.


(1) basic wh questions oval connect 1 Doc PDF;     (2) basic wh question oval connect 2 Doc PDF;     (3) mixed wh- questions oval connect 1 Doc PDF;     (4) mixed wh- questions oval connect 2 Doc PDF;     (5)“what” question answers odt PDF;     (6) “when” question answers odt PDF;     (7) “who” question answers odt PDF;     (8) “why” question answers odt PDF;     (9) mixed “how” and “why” questions fill in the blanks Doc PDF

More Question Activities and Worksheets

Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity. Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.


(1) Question Bullseye Doc PDF;     (2) Question Word Hidden Picture Doc PDF;     (3) Question Sentence Drop Doc PDF;     (4) Question Jumbles/Functional Doc PDF;     (5) Question Scripts/Drill Doc PDF;     (6) Miscellaneous Activities Doc PDF;     (7) Goals/ Extra Practice Doc PDF;     (8) Mixed “why” and “how” questions fill in the blanks Doc PDF

Yes and No Questions – Activities and Additional Information

Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity. Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.

(1)(2) (3)(4)

(1) Introduction/Hierarchy Doc PDF;     (2) Scripts/Drill Doc PDF;     (3) Activtities Doc PDF;      (4) Goals/Extra Practice Doc PDF

Question Treatment Background Information

Correct question formation can be so difficult for kids that they often avoid asking questions altogether. One reason for the frequency of this difficulty is that questions are often denoted by tone rather than syntax. “You going?” can be understood (usually) as easily as the grammatically correct “Are you going?” Incorrect syntax often gets the job done as well. “Is you going?” can be understood and answered nearly as easily as the correct formation. Question words (especially helping verbs) are often omitted in casual conversation, with intonation changing a statement into a question. Because questions such as “You hungry?” are often considered acceptable in casual conversation, appropriate question formation becomes more difficult when required for formal speech or writing. This also often occurs when a questioner implies expectation of a positive answer or confirmation. If a child says, “I have a dollar,” an adult might ask the perfectly acceptable question, “You do?”.

According to current linguistic theory, wh- questions involve an abstract relationship between two positions in syntactic structure. (Deevy and Leonard, 2004). Much has been written about the theory that normally developing children transform a hidden “deep structure” into the surface structure that we actually hear (Chomsky, 1957). In actual experience the acquisition of question formation with helping verbs seems to go through three phases: 1) use of tone only, e.g. “I have it?” 2) addition of helping verb, e.g. “I can have it?” 3) placing the helping verb in correct position, e.g. “Can I have it?”. Future research may demonstrate that the acquisition of questions occurs as a process rather than an instantaneous transformation of a deep structure.

Traditionally wh- questions have been a specific target of intervention. Additionally, many children have difficulty with questions that begin with auxiliary verbs and even more difficulty with negative auxiliary verbs (e.g. “Do you care?” and “Don’t you care?”). Increased complexity in question formation occurs by combining questions with various elements, such as negation, adjectives, clauses, etc. Assessments that specifically test for question formation include the PLS-4, the OWLS, and the CASL.

Yes and No Question Goals

Carolina will answer mixed basic orientation yes and no questions with 80% accuracy, such as “Are you in second grade?” and “Do you know how to swim?”

Dakota will answer mixed curriculum relevant yes and no questions with 70% accuracy, such as “Does a thermometer measure temperature?” and “Is up the opposite of above?”

Other Question Goal Suggestions

Kareem will answer age appropriate questions using relevant answers.

Larry will use grammatically correct sentence structure to ask age appropriate questions.

Michael will use grammatically correct sentence structure to ask age appropriate questions that include additional elements, such as negation, helping verbs, and complex sentence structure.

Questions Elicitation Ideas

Receptive: Use questions at student’s level.

Simple: Are you wearing a hat? (yes/no question)

What is your name? (-wh question)

Do you have a turtle? (auxiliary verb question)

Expanded: What is your brother’s first name?

Have you ever seen a picture of green turtles?

You can see this rectangular object, can’t you?

Expressive: Require question formation appropriate for student’s level.

Simple: Find out if I’m hungry. (yes/no question)

Pretend like you don’t know my name. What would you

ask to find out? (-wh question)

Find out if I have a turtle. (auxiliary verb question)

Find out who our governor is. (-wh question)

Expanded: What question would you ask to find out my brother’s

first name? Ask me if I’ve ever had a turtle.

Find out what’s in the green envelope with the stamp.

11 thoughts on “Questions

  1. Sary

    I would like you to give me all the wh question in document. can you give me. If can please sent me. Thank you very much.


  2. Pingback: Welcome to Free Language Stuff! « Free Language Stuff

  3. Anonymous

    Your document was very helpful to me. I have a group of adults starting to learn English and it seems very difficult for them to ask questions.


  4. Anonymous

    What is the difference between the first developmental stage (yes/no ques) and the second stage (basic auxillary ques.)? Both categories include yes/no questions beginning with is/are/do.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul Post author

    That’s a good point, Kim. I’m trying to think of a yes/no question not beginning with an auxiliary, but can’t, besides tag questions and incomplete questions. I suppose basic incomplete may accept more common incomplete sentences that children begin with, like, “See the dog?” versus “Do you see the dog?” But this is all pretty unscientific at this point.


  6. Williemae

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    Hi,I read your blogs named “Questions | Free Language Stuff” like every week.Your story-telling style is awesome, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about proxy list daily.


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