In the text book that I am supposed to use in my lessons I have this explanation on the difference between subject and object questions:

enter image description here

I want you to especially pay attention to this sentence above:

"In subject questions ... we don't normally use an auxiliary verb in the Present or Past simple"

Then, right on the next page I have this exercise:

enter image description here

I this task, as far as I understand, students are asked to come up with two questions for each sentence and one question must be an object question and the other one must be a subject one.

However, when I look at the sentence 3 there:


it looks to me like both suggested questions are object questions:

"What did Eva do yesterday?"

"How many films did Eva watch?"

At least, in both of these questions the auxiliary verb "did" is used, which, according to what is written above ("In subject questions ... we don't normally use an auxiliary verb"), means that none of them is a subject question.

Can anyone, please, explain to me my confusion?

  • Because most if not all of the other questions seem to be looking for a straightforward noun as the answer, they might be looking for What did Eva watch yesterday?, or feasibly Eva watched what yesterday? (Answer: three films, not the verb-based element watched three films). But #3 is a bad example anyway, as you've obviously discovered yourself. Oct 3, 2023 at 17:00
  • @FumbleFingers - I don't think they are looking for "What did Eva watch yesterday?" because there is "do" right after the blank: "What____________ do yesterday?" Besides, isn't What did Eva watch yesterday? still a subject question?
    – brilliant
    Oct 3, 2023 at 17:03
  • Well, like I said, it's a rubbish test anyway, so it doesn't really matter what the setter was thinking. But What did Eva watch yesterday? is an "object" question, as you suggested in the question (not a "subject" question as in your comment). Oct 3, 2023 at 17:14
  • ...not sure how What was watched by Eva? plays out there, though. It's an awkward passive, but Three films were watched by Eva looks like a "subject" response to me. I'm just not sure how answering any of these questions helps anyone learn English. Oct 3, 2023 at 17:17
  • @FumbleFingers - I see. Thank you for this confirmation. "is an "object" question, as you suggested in the question (not a "subject" question as in your comment)" - Sorry. This was a typo by me in the comment.
    – brilliant
    Oct 3, 2023 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


The "subject question" would be "Who watched three films yesterday?"

There are several different predicate questions that could be asked, depending on the "gap".

How many films did Eva watch (gapping "three")

What did Eva watch yesterday (gapping "three films")

What did Eva watch three of, yesterday (gapping "films")

What did Eva do yesterday, (gapping "watch three films)

When did Eva watch three films (gapping "yesterday)

Those would all show "object question" type grammar.

  • +1 In other words, your book is wrong.
    – gotube
    Oct 3, 2023 at 21:49
  • @gotube - Are you saying this to James or to me?
    – brilliant
    Oct 3, 2023 at 22:19
  • To you, @brilliant. James explained why the book is wrong, but didn't come right out and say it.
    – gotube
    Oct 3, 2023 at 23:24
  • @gotube - Got it. Thank you!
    – brilliant
    Oct 3, 2023 at 23:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .