Overview of the structure of questions

Here is my latest lesson on how to form questions in English.

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Information questions start with a stressed wh-word but yes/no questions start with an unstressed verb. So the pronunciation helps to communicate the type of meaning.

Questions in English require inversion*. A grammar verb (primary, auxiliary or modal) comes before the subject. Again, this helps to communicate in a clear way that the sentence is interrogative. Inversion is never optional, when a verb is the first word, we expect a question* (so you must be careful not to omit the subject in positive sentences).

The inversion is followed by the main verb, except when to be is primary (i.e. with no main verb). The resulting sandwich of grammar verb—subject—main verb is typical of questions in English, both in construction and in pronunciation.

* There are exceptions but we aren’t concerned with them here.

see also

Grammar verbs

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Peter Brook at the Teatro Valle Occupato

A great British director in Rome


Peter Brook is one the great theatre directors of the twentieth century. His 1970 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream made theatre history.

On Friday April 12 at 8pm the Teatro Valle Occupato is screening 'The Tightrope', a documentary about Brook by his son, Simon Brook. The film will be followed by a public debate with Peter Brook.

You can book tickets by sending an email to

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