To recap QUASM is Question Word, Auxiliary Verb, Subject and Main verb.

In the question 'where are you from?' from is in the position of the main verb. But from is not a verb. It's a preposition.

So does this question not follow the QUASM principle?

  • 3
    Not all interrogatives are of the structure you describe. Your example differs in that it contains the preposition "from", which has "where" as its complement. The only verb in the clause is the auxiliary "are", and since "where" is non-subject it triggers subject-auxiliary inversion. Note that we could also say "You are from where"?
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 1 at 6:45
  • And also "From where do you come?" and "Where do you come from?"
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 1 at 10:10
  • @TimR - let's not frighten the horses by recalling 'Whence are you?' (e.g. KJV, Shakespeare). Commented Jul 1 at 10:14
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    @MichaelHarvey Or the murkin's "Where ya from, hon?"
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 1 at 10:28
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth But your three examples were of main clause interrogatives, not of subordinate ones (i.e. those that contain what you call 'helping verbs').
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 1 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


No. The QUASM formula has, like everything in English, exceptions. The main ones are the stative verbs to be, and to have (=to possess), which do not require the periphrastic "do".

Q: What is your job -> I am a policeman.

Q: Who has a penknife? -> I have a penknife

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    There's actually quite a lot of exceptions. "Who" and "what" when used as subjects don't need auxiliaries: "Who ordered the chicken?" "What happened to him?"
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 1 at 13:14

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