Yes-no questions



With yes-no questions, we ask whether the fact stated in the question is true or false.


Besucht uns Patrick morgen?
Hat jemand an der Tür geklopft?
Könnte Hans um diese Zeit noch zu Hause sein?



Yes-no questions have the following features:


position of the finite verb first
mood indicative
Konjunktiv II
intonation rising
punctuation mark question mark


Yes-no questions are also called V-Fragen (verb questions) because they begin with a verb, in contrast to question-word questions (w-word questions) that begin with an interrogative pronoun or interrogative adverb (wer, was, wann, wie, wo etc.).




Possible answers to yes-no questions


Yes-no questions are answered with ja, nein, doch or with adverbs of manner.



A positive question can be answered with ja, nein or adverbs of manner.


  Example answer
positive question Hat er Geld dabei? ja er hat Geld dabei = affirmation
nein er hat kein Geld dabei = negation
adverbs of manner like sicher, bestimmt nicht, vielleicht, wahrscheinlich, möglicherweise, keineswegs etc.




Same rule applies to questions that ask for confirmation, in which the negation word is unstressed and does not express negation but rather a confirmation of a statement.


question for confirmation Hat er es nicht gut gemacht?
Er hat es doch gut gemacht. Ist das nicht wahr?



Declarative clauses can also function as questions that ask for confirmation. In this case, the intonation is rising and the particle doch is included in the clause.


question for confirmation Du wohnst doch bei deinen Eltern?




When the question is negative, doch or nein are possible answers.


  Example answer
negative question Hat er kein Geld dabei? nein er hat kein Geld dabei = affirmation
doch er hat Geld dabei = negation