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I am not sure about the grammar rules of formulating questions. It is very tricky with so many ways to ask questions. I learned that YES/NO questions do not need question words.

Now I tried to formulate a question using the "OR" to question about two choices but could only think of a question without a question word. I tried to use question words but failed to come out with a clear question.

Below is an example of the type of question using OR.

Is it one word or two?

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  • Question words really only show up with 'and' I think, like "when and where did you see the criminal", they don't show up with 'or'.
    – Riolku
    Feb 15, 2022 at 16:04
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    I've written an answer, but I think you are doing something wrong. Why do you want to form a sentence with a question word and "or". What is the problem of communication that you are facing? Is the proper answer simply "Don't do that".
    – James K
    Feb 15, 2022 at 16:59

2 Answers 2

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In your example the two alternatives are presented as the complement in a Verb subject-complement question

(Is) - (it) - (one word or two)?

When you has a question with a question word like "what" or "who" The question word comes to the front to get a Complement-verb-subject word order

(What) (is) (it)?

The complement can have two parts joined with "or". So with question words you get something like

What or who is it?

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  • I do translation from my native "Arabic" language to English. I struggled to formulate a question using two options. Normally when I use "which" to ask for a choice (i.e which one do you like). Nonetheless, I want to give the audience a question that asks them to pick between two options like the said example: is it number one or two?. I want to understand how to use questions with Or. How many ways are there to use "Or" in questions, for instance?
    – DrDentMBR
    Feb 16, 2022 at 11:59
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  • Is it one word or two? [two words, implied]
  • Is it one or two words? [one word implied]
  • Is it one word or two words? [most formal, writing]

A question with the verb be does not use a question word.

However, there are yes/no questions that begin with an auxiliary verb without a be verb:

Does he speak Chinese? [Yes, No]

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