How to ask questions properly

What's the correct order of words in a question?

· Grammar

On this blog we use "After-Sales Service" to practise asking questions.

A company's after-sales service is all the help, support and information it provides to customers after they have purchased a product. After-sales service translates into service après-vente. Oui, ce service qui s'occupe du suivi des marchandises après leur achat par le client. Le même qui, si nécessaire, assure l'entretien, la réparation ou l'échange d'un produit que l'entreprise vend. The French abbreviation is S.A.V. And that's what's interesting for us today.

The correct order of words in an affirmative English sentence is service + après + vente. In other words, SAV, or Subject (S) + Auxiliary(A) + Verb (V). Let's look at a few examples:

1. We'll talk to him, or we will talk to him = affirmative

2. Tom lives in Eritrea, or Tom does live in Eritrea = affirmative

A few reminders before we continue: sometimes we see the auxiliary in the sentence, and we say it when we speak. For example, You should call your office (SAV). But sometimes we don't see the auxiliary, and we don't say it when we speak. For example, His parents do want to buy a new car (SAV). There's no auxiliary, and when we speak we do not say it. We just say: "His parents want to buy a new car". Yet we know that the auxiliary is there, and we know that it's "do" or "does" or "did".

1. His parents do  want to buy a new car. = His parents want to buy a new car.

2. He does  live in Eritrea. = He lives in Eritrea.

3. They did go to the cinema yesterday. = They went to the cinema yesterday.

To ask a question, put the Après/Auxiliary before the Service/Subject: Does he live in Eritrea? This gives you NOT SAV but ASV! Or Après service vente. Here's another example: "Will we talk to him tomorrow?" The answer to such a question is either "yes" or "no". Yes, we will, or No, we won't. This type of question is called a closed question. Just "yes," or "No."

If you want to ask deeper questions you need wh-words (why, when, what, who, where and how + how long..., etc). Let's try this.

SAV: You will marry me.

ASV: Will you marry me? [closed question, yes, or no]

Wh+ASV: When will you marry me? [open question, an infinite number of responses]

Ready for a video and a quiz?

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