GRAMMAR
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Questions

There are three kinds of question: those that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, those that present a range of options to choose from, and those that ask for a particular piece of information.

Additionally, questions can be direct (“Where are we going?”) or indirect (“I asked you where we are going”, “I don’t know who I am”). Direct questions end in a question mark (?).

Yes/no questions

A sentence can be turned into a yes/no question by adding esce (“is it the case that…”) at the start:

There are two other ways. In speech, in questions that present a possibility and merely ask for confirmation, si? or no? can be added at the end of the sentence. And in very simple questions, a speaker can simply raise the pitch of their voice at the end:

The answer to a yes/no question is si (“yes”) or no (“no”). Si states that the possibility expressed in the question is true; no states that it is false:

If the question was phrased in the negative, si and no convey the same meanings as they would if the question had not been negative. But this can be confusing, so it can be clearer to answer with a full sentence:

Alternative questions

An alternative question simply asks the listener to pick one of a number of options, usually expressed as a list joined with the conjunction o:

Other questions

Other questions use interrogative determiners, pronouns, or adverbs such as cual, ci, cuando, cuanto, como, do, and perce. The interrogative word is usually moved to the start of the sentence, but it can also appear in the place where its answer would fit:

Reported questions

Reported questions (also known as “indirect questions”) are expressed as noun clauses, which normally contain the same series of words as a direct question would have, including the same verbal tense. In a reported question, the question word is always placed at the start of the subordinate clause:

Yes/no questions, when reported, always use esce:

In some cases, the difference between a reported question and an relative clause is very subtle:

In example (a), I discovered the identity of the thing in the box, even if I didn’t see or touch it directly. In example (b), I discovered it, the physical thing itself.

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