Yes/no questions are those questions which can be answered with either a yes or a no in English. For example "Did you go to school today?". That was a yes/no question because someone answering could answer "yes" or "no" and be perfectly understood. An example of a non-yes/no question is: "How was school today?". If your friend asked you that question and you answered "yes" or "no" your friend would think you did not hear him.
So how do yes/no questions work. In English yes/no questions start with an auxiliary verb. There are many of these. In English yes/no questions can start with "have", "do", "did", "will", or other auxiliary verbs.
- "have" ex. Have they come?
- "do" ex. Do they sleep?
- "did" ex. Did they jump?
- "will" ex. will you go away?
In Arabic yes/no questions are much simpler to understand, and to make. Every "yes/no" question usually starts with one of two words/semi-words. So
- هل (hal)
- a hamza (either a "أ " (a) OR ء (a))
Both of these work the same way. Both go at the beginning of a question sentence.
The difference in meaning between هل(hal) and hamza:
- For making "X=Y" sentences into questions.
- هل (hal) is put at the beginning.
- For making "X!=Y" sentences into questions.
- ء (a) hamza is put at the beginning.
- For "X does (something)" sentences
- A hamza is used when talking about the present
- A hamza would start this sentence: "Are you crying?".
- hal is used when talking in the non present tense.
- هل (hal) would start this sentence: "Do you cry?".
So how do we make a question. In Arabic a question can easily be made from a statement(a sentence, that is not a command, nor an exclamation, nor a question).
For example, how do we transform the following sentence into a yes/no question.
The boy is small.
Simple, just add هل (hal) to the beginning.
هل الولد صغير؟
hal al-waladu Sagheer
Is the boy small?
Now don't forget the basic Arabic word for yes is نعم (na`am) and the basic word for no is لا (laa).
a laisa kadhaalik
Isn't it like that? OR Right?
X does (something)
Do you work?