WH-Questions (why)

10.7 WH-Questions (why)

Book 3

1. We do not usually use a main verb by itself with a why questions. We usually the verb ‘to do or a modal with the base form of a main verb in this way:

Why + the verb ‘to do’ / modal + noun/pronoun + base form of main verb

Examples:

Why does Ann stay back in school every Friday?

She has basketball practice every Friday.

Why didn’t you turn off the fan?

I forget to do it.

Why must I stay at home?

You have to finish your chores.

Why can’t Lee drive us to town?

He has some work to do at home.

Remember

Why is used to ask questions about the cause, reason or purpose for something. Why questions can usually be answered by giving the reason straightaway or beginning the answer with because or an infinitive (e.g. to repair). However, this is not acceptable in certain situation

Examples:

Question: Why did Rita leave early?

(In a conversation)

Answer:     a) She had to fetch her mother from the airport.

       b) Because she had to fetch her mother from the airport.

c) To fetch her mother from the airport.

(In a conversation exercise)

Answer:     She left the meeting early because she had to fetch her mother from the airport.

Unlike the answers to most other wh questions, the answer to a why question need not necessarily follow the tense in the question itself.

Examples:

Why isn’t Larry here for rehearsals? (Present tense)

He had to go for a medical check-up. (Past tense)

2. When we use base form of a main verb + ‘ing’ with why questions, we have to use the verb ‘to be’ as well.

Why + the verb ‘to be’ + noun / pronoun + base form of main verb + ‘ing’

Example:

Why are those girls giggling?

They are going to play a trick on Pat.

Why aren’t you joining us on our outing tomorrow?

Our Boys Scouts’ Association is having a get-together tomorrow.

 

3. We use the past participle after the verb ‘to be’ or a modal in why questions in these ways:

A)                      Passive Voice:

Why + the verb ‘to be’ + noun / pronoun + past participle form of main verb

Examples:

Why is Jenny given less pay than Henry?

He has more responsibilities than her.  

b) Why+ modal + noun / pronoun + be + past participle form of main verb 

Examples:

Why can’t they be allowed to see the latest cartoon on TV?  It has many violent scenes.

 

4. We use the past participle after the verb ‘to have’ in why questions in these ways:

A)  Perfect Tense:

Why + the verb ‘to have’ + noun / pronoun + past participle form of main verb

Examples:

Why have the security guards nabbed that man?

They spotted him trying to enter the building through a side window.

 B)  Passive Voice:

Why + the verb ‘to have’ + noun / pronoun + been + past participle form of main verb

Examples:

Why has that man been nabbed by the security guards?

He was trying to enter the building through a side window.

 

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