When we want to ask the yes-no question, we will use verbs like "is, am, and are" or "do and does", and we put it in the head of the sentence. And the question is, what is the difference between them? Is it interchangeable? If not, when should we use "is am, and are" instead of "do and does"? And is the usage of these words dependent on the main verb (transitive or intransitive)?

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    Do you know the difference between "am/is/are" and "do/does" in statements like these: "I am a carpenter", "My name is Frank", "I do 20 push-ups every morning", "She does her work well" ? It's the same in yes/no questions.
    – gotube
    Nov 10, 2023 at 4:41
  • Yes/No questions starting with [BE] are mostly of the form [BE] [subject] [adjective], such as Are you hungry? Is it safe? Am I too late? So [BE] (in whichever form matches [subject]) is the "main verb", since it's the only verb. We use "do-support" a lot in English today in contexts where the thing being asked is whether or not the actual "main verb" being queried applies to the specified subject, as in Do you think she is pretty? Centuries ago back in Shakespeare's day (before we had do-support), that would have been Think you she is pretty? Nov 10, 2023 at 12:26
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    (Note that regardless of whether it's [BE] or [DO], we reverse the normal subject + verb sequence when framing a question.) Nov 10, 2023 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


Two parts to your question:

  1. Declarative sentences in English usually have a subject and then a verb. When you ask a question in English, you typically reverse the order and have a verb and then a subject. So regardless of what verb you use (are, does, etc.), your question will take this construct. It doesn't have anything to do with the specific verbs you mentioned.

  2. There is no change in meaning for is/am/are and do/does in a question versus some other kind of statement. So perhaps you should review their meaning, because there's nothing special about how they are used.

For example:

John is cold.

Is John cold?

I am polite.

Am I polite?

Jane does her homework every night.

Does Jane do her homework every night?

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