A: Why does the runway have a crown?

B: We'll do some surveying and soil tests and find out.

Inversion: Auxiliary Before Subject

Normally, the auxiliary verb (or modal verb) goes before the subject in questions. This word order is called "inversion".

  Inversion Word Order in Questions
They have seen the radar. Have they seen the radar?
She is flying with her sister until dusk. Is she flying with her sister until dusk?
We can use the taxiway. Can we use the taxiway?
You are doing flight simulation. Are you doing flight simulation?
She has already departed the runway. Has she already departed the runway?
It will rain tomorrow. Will it rain tomorrow?

If there is no other auxiliary verb, we use do, does, or did to form a question:


You like flying.

  • Do you like flying?
control tower

He had a great tower shift last night.

  • Did he have a great tower shift last night?

It rains a lot in the mountains.

  • Does it rain a lot in the mountains?

Subject Questions: No Inversion

When who, what, which, whose, how many, etc. are the subject of the sentence, we do not use inversion:

  Questions without Inversion
Steve went to the airport. Who went to the airport?
13 people are sitting in the pilot’s lounge. How many people are sitting in the pilot’s lounge?
Thunderstorms make flying difficult. What makes flying difficult?
Airport construction is making so much noise. What is making so much noise?
My aircraft is sitting in grass parking. Whose aircraft is sitting in grass parking?
Jeppesen sells that chart. Which company sells that chart?

We use question words as the subject of the sentence because we are asking for the subject (or information about the subject):

Asking for the Subject Asking for the Object
Who asked? Who did you ask?
Who is transmitting? What is she transmitting?
What happened? What did you do?


It is common for a preposition to come at end of a question:

Negative Questions

The auxiliary of a question can be negative. Be careful of the form:

Contracted Form: Auxiliary Verb + n't + Subject

Long Form: Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Not

plane approach

Why didn't you report turning final approach last night?

Why did you not report turning final approach last night?


Where hasn't she been in the world?

Where has she not been in the world?


Who haven't you flown with yet?

Who have you not flown with yet?

Declarative Questions

Declarative questions are used when the speaker wants to make sure of something or express surprise. Declarative questions do not use inversion:

traffic controller

A: I'm an Air Traffic Controller.

B: Seriously? You work in a control tower? (Expressing surprise)


A: Mike and I are going out for the airshow.

B: Okay. I'll stay home.

A: You don't want to come with us? (Making sure)

Air Traffic Control Centre

A: I'm from the Air Traffic Control Centre.

B: Really? You're from the Air Traffic Control Centre? I thought you were from control tower! (Expressing surprise)


Open the exercise to begin the activity. Follow the instructions in the document.