An ELT Glossary : Yes-No Questions / Closed Questions


A Yes-No question (also called a "closed" question) is one which can be answered simply by saying either "yes" o r "no" . Yes-no questions are formed by placing the operator in front of the subject of the clause, and usually have rising intonation :

Are you going to the supermarket?
Did you see John last night?
Can I park the car there?

The fact that it is possible to respond to these questions with just Yes or No doesn't mean that this is always the most appropriate way of dealing with them - it could sound too abrupt. Other ways of responding to them are to add subject and operator and/or other related information:

Are you going to the supermarket?
Well I am, but not until this afternoon.

Did you see John last night?
No - he wasn't there.

Can I park the car there?
You can, yes. But it's not very safe


See also : Open questions /Wh-Questions