I have already asked this question from some teachers and student, some say these are present simples but in present simple we use "do/does" and etc. I want to know which type of sentences these are.

  1. what is your name.

  2. who are you.

  • 2
    Not 100% sure what you mean, but those would be interrogative sentences, and should properly have a question mark after them, since they are asking a question. Putting a period at the end makes it look more like an imperative -- a demand that you answer the question ("You will tell me your name.") -- but I would still say they are interrogative.
    – JamieB
    Jun 23, 2016 at 14:32
  • 1
    Suggested reading: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_auxiliaries_and_contractions. Make sure that you understand at least do, have, and be. Jun 23, 2016 at 14:33
  • We reverse the standard subject + verb order in interrogatives starting with which, what, when, where, why, etc. But we use the standard order if rephrased to, say Your name is what?, You are who? (though these aren't particularly common forms). Jun 23, 2016 at 14:36
  • 1
    I think you are mistaken in thinking that in present simple we use to do. When asking who, what, where, when, why, how, particularly when we're just asking about the existence or the nature of something, we just use to be, as in your examples. In "What is it?", we're just asking about the nature of "it". In What do you see?" we're asking what is the object of your action of seeing.
    – stangdon
    Jun 23, 2016 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


Questions employ do/does only if there is no other auxiliary verb present to invert with the subject. This is called "do support":

I finished yesterday. → Did you finish yesterday? —There is no auxiliary here, so finish requires "do support" to provide an auxiliary that can invert with the subject in a question.

I have finished. → Have you finished? — have here is an auxiliary, so it can invert with the subject in a question.

I have a new car. → Do you have a new car? — have here is not an auxiliary but a lexical verb, so it requires "do support" in a question.

Sentences with a form of BE, however, work a little differently. BE is always treated as an auxiliary, even when it is the only verb:

I am finishing the project today. → Are you finishing the project today? AND
I am finished. → Are you finished?

Note, by the way, that for some speakers HAVE can also be treated as an auxiliary when it is the only verb.

I have a new car. → Have you a new car?

This was once very common, but it is slowly disappearing; it has an old-fashioned ring now.

You must log in to answer this question.

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