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direct question

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direct question

A direct question

Definition:

A sentence that asks a question and ends with a question mark. Contrast with indirect question.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "Didn't Frankenstein get married?"
    "Did he?" said Eggy. "I don't know. I never met him. Harrow man, I expect."
    (P.G. Wodehouse, Laughing Gas, 1936)


  • "A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?"
    (Albert Einstein)


  • "If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know?"
    (Steven Wright)


  • Questions are sentences which seek information. They fall into three main types, depending on the kind of reply they expect, and on how they are constructed. Sentences formed in these ways are said to have an interrogative structure.

    1. Yes-no questions allow an affirmative or negative reply, often just yes or no. The subject follows a verb (the 'auxiliary').
      Will Michael resign?
      Are they ready?
    2. Wh- questions allow a reply from a wide range of possibilities. They begin with a question word, such as what, why, where, or how.
      Where are you going?
      Why didn't he answer?
    3. Alternative questions require a reply which relates to the options given in the sentence. They always contain the connecting word or.
      Will you travel by train or by boat?
    Caution
    A questioning tone of voice can turn a statement into a yes-no question. Such questions have the structure of a declarative sentence. The tone of voice has become particularly common, especially among young people, in recent decades.
    Mary's outside?
    You've spoken to her?
    (David Crystal, Rediscover Grammar. Pearson, 2003)


  • "When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I said, 'Well, what do you need?'"
    (Steven Wright)


  • "I went camping once, and got into an argument with a girl friend in the tent. This is a really bad place to get in an argument, because I walked out and attempted to 'slam the flap.' How are you supposed to express your anger in this type of situation? Zipper it up really quick?"
    (Mitch Hedberg)
Also Known As: interrogative sentence
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