Short Answers in English

Look at these simple questions:

Can you handle the truth?
Are you busy?

To answer them your students will often give just a Short Answer:

Are you rich?
No, I’m not!

Does he smoke?
Yes, he does.

Who killed the king?
He did.

Short Answers & TEFL

Sometimes your students will give a simple yes or no answer to questions like these.This is not wrong but can sound a bit abrupt. Instead you should encourage them to give longer answers, using the patterns explained below.

In addition (and wherever possible) you should ask them open-ended questions questions instead or at least follow up a closed question with an open one to encourage them to speak more:

Teacher: Do you like playing football?
Student: Yes.
Teacher: What do you like about it?
Student: Well, I like…

Forming a Short Answer

Answering Yes/No Questions

With yes/no questions in order to make a short answer we use this pattern:

{yes/no} + {subject} + {auxiliary} + [not]

Are you happy?
Yes + I + am.

Can you swim?
Yes + I + can.

Do you like it?
No + we + do + not.

Note that when the answer is yes/no + be, we never abbreviate the verb:

Are you French?
* Yes, I’m

Is he French?
* Yes he’s.

* an asterisk denotes an ungrammatical sentence.

Answering Subject Questions

With subject questions‏‎: (questions beginning with who, which, where, etc…) we use this pattern with the modal or auxiliary verb.

{subject} + {modal/auxiliary}

Who found it?
I + did.

What was found?
This + was.

How many have left?
Seventeen + have.

Did you know that if you subscribe to our website, you will receive email notifications whenever content changes or new content is added.
1. Enter your e-mail address below and click the Sign Me Up button.
2. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your intention of subscribing to our site.
3. Click the link in the email to confirm. That’s all there is to it!

Enter your email address below to subscribe to IWeb TEFL.

Note: if you wish to unsubscribe from our site, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email you received.
Then indicate you no longer wish to receive our emails.

Thank You
IWeb TEFL Team

Posted in Sentence Structure.

Leave a Reply