What is the question form of this sentence?

The only way to do X is to do Y.

Is it this?

Is the only way to do X to do Y?

I think it's grammatically correct, but it doesn't sound fluent to my ear.

  • 1
    As a native speaker, I would prefer to say, "Is doing X the only way to do Y?" But I can't say this is not idiomatic. Try a sentence using something besides X and Y. Example: "The only way to dig a hole is to use a shovel." ---"Is the only way to dig a hole to use a shovel?" Does that sound better? You could try to ask another question, asking if the question is idiomatic. – Don B. Apr 5 '19 at 0:07
  • 1
    The question could just as easily be What is the only way to do X? In fact, that's a much better sounding question because it's what would more normally be asked. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Apr 5 '19 at 19:38

That is fine. You took the helping verb "is" and moved it to the front of the sentence. That makes it a question now. You "inverted" the order of the subject and verb. That can be used to make a question that calls for yes or no answer. See "Method 1" at the link at the bottom of my answer.

See this page for some helpful information for handling various situations when you want to make statements into questions:


  • When I read it out loud it sounds kind of weird to me – Ooker Apr 4 '19 at 16:07

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