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Normal vs Special verbs: questions

Normal vs Special verbs: questions
Activity Fill in the Gaps
Activity Fill in the Gaps
Normal verbs use DO to make questions, but not special verbs. Practise the difference.

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Make questions using these verbs.

It is very important to know which verbs are normal and which are special, because the sentence structure is different in each case.


They can do everything, they never need help. Special verbs are auxiliaries and modals, and there are only 13:

auxiliaries: to be, have, do
modals: can/could, will/would, shall/should, may/might, must, ought to


All the other verbs are normal. They can only build an affirmative sentence. For all the other constructions they need to use DO

Special verbs follow the rule of the three NO's: No -S, No To, No Do


NO –S   
 I can / she can
I want / She wants
 I can walk / to can

I want to go / to want
 you can / you can’t / can you?
you want / you don't want / do you want?

❶- No S: Special verbs don't add an -S for the third person singular in the simple present tense. The forms is, has are irregular forms, but still, they are not bes (be + S) or haves (have + S)

❷- No To: Special verbs are never followed by an "infinitive with to" (exception: ought to), and they don't have an infinitive form (exception: to be). To do and To have are different from Do and Have. Compare:

- Do = special (auxiliary verb, no meaning):     Do you like it?
- To Do = normal verb:     I do yoga in the mornings / Do you do yoga?
- Have = special (auxiliary verb, no meaning):     Have you ever been to London?
- To Have = normal verb:     I have a car / do you have a car?
Note: Have got = have (special) + got (normal):     Have you got a car?

❸- No Do: Special verbs never use DO

I can't speak Russian (not: I don't can speak Russian)
Are you Polish? (not: Do you are Polish?)


Abbriviations used here:  s.v.= special verb  n.v.= normal verb  S= subject  V= verb  O= object, adverbial, complement


Let's see how these three rules work in practice, shaping the 4 most common constructions in the language


s.v. & n.v.   S+V+(O)

- I am Spanish
- He can speak English

- You live in London
- She likes Japanese music


s.v.   S+ V+not  +(O)
- I am not French
- She can’t speak Italian

n.v.   S+do+not +V+(O)
- You don’t live in Rome
- She doesn’t like Jazz


s.v.   V+S +(O) ?
- Are you Spanish?
- Can she speak English?

n.v.   do+S +V+(O) ?

- Do you live in London?
- Does she like Japanese music?


Are you Spanish?  Yes, I am / No, I'm not
Can she speak English? / Yes, he can / No, he can't
n.v. (use do)
Do you live in London?  Yes, I do / No, I don't
Does she like Japanese music?  Yes, she does / No, she doesn't

(simple rule: for Short Answers, the same verb that starts the question is the verb that will finish the answer)


Gapped text
(you-be) ______________ Spanish?
(he-be) __________ your brother?
(I-be) ________ right?
(you-have) ________________ lived in Rome?
(she-has) ______________ finished her exercises?
(you-do) ____________ do homework on Saturdays?
(he-can) ____________ speak Chinese?
(you-could) __________________ open the window, please?
(they-will) __________________ be here before 10?
(you-would) __________________ like a drink?
(we-shall) ________________ go to the party tomorrow?
(I-should) ________________ go with you?
(I-may) __________ come in?
(It-might) ________________ rain on Sunday?
(they-must) __________________ bring their children too?
(you-work) ______________________ in Salisbury?
(he-take) ________________________ the bus very often?
(She-like) __________________________ your new house?
(you-play) ______________________ tennis with Tom?
(you-like) ______________________ whiskey?
(you-know) ______________________ her telephone number?
(she-live) __________________________ near your house?
(they-have) ________________________ a job?
(you-have got) ________________________ any children yet?
(they-need) ________________________ any money?
Total number of items: 25
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