I chose this title because while I was working on my question mind map, my brain literally started to melt in my skull. It got really complicated, really fast. So then this silly commercial popped into my sizzled frontal cortex and I thought I'd play with it a little bit. It's an old PSA (Public Service Announcement) griping on about how bad drugs are for you. Anyone from my generation will know exactly what you're talking about if you ever reference it. So have some fun!
Asking questions in English is a whole heck of a lot more difficult than you might think! Take a look at it from a foreigner's perspective: inversions, auxiliaries, "do" support, subject/object selection, tag questions, embedded questions, questions that are questions just because you changed your intonation...it can all make your head explode!
But never fear! I have single-handedly solved all your question-asking problems! Kind of. Sort of. Well, not entirely, but maybe just a little bit. This mind map takes you step-by-step down the mental checklist necessary to formulate a question in English - but only one specific kind of question: a Yes/No question with any verb except the verb "to be" or modal verbs...wait for it...in the present and past simple only. Whew! That was a mouthful.
This question mind map is probably a little of what actually goes on in your brain when you ask this type of question. Native speakers perform these mental gymnastics at the speed of thought, but for English learners, it might be interesting to slow the process down, look at it from a more methodical perspective and see all the steps that go into formulating the question. Once you understand the elements that go into it, you can practice and speed up the process to the point at which it becomes automatic, fluent and natural.
Let's look at an example, a simple one: Ele gosta do carnaval?
Follow along with the mind map...
- What tense is it in? It's the present simple.
- Is it the verb "to be" or a modal? No.
- Is it in the 3rd person singular? Yes.
Congratulations! You've got your answer! You use "Does", followed by the subject, followed by the verb in the infinitive without "to", and then the rest of the sentence.
Does (do support) he (subject) like (infinitive without "to") carnaval (the rest of the sentence)?
Rest assured, I am working on a complete mind map for all types of questions, including the above ones I mentioned. In the meantime, I hope this will help you one your way towards perfecting the English question!