views updated May 29 2018

ques·tion / ˈkweschən/ • n. a sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information: we hope this leaflet has been helpful in answering your questions. ∎  a doubt about the truth or validity of something: there is no question that America faces the threat of Balkanization. ∎  the raising of a doubt about or objection to something: Edward was the only one she obeyed without question her loyalty is really beyond question. ∎  a matter forming the basis of a problem requiring resolution: we have kept an eye on the question of political authority. ∎  a matter or concern depending on or involving a specified condition or thing: it was not simply a question of age and hierarchy.• v. [tr.] ask questions of (someone), esp. in an official context: four men were being questioned about the killings | [as n.] (questioning) the young lieutenant escorted us to the barracks for questioning. ∎  feel or express doubt about; raise objections to: members had questioned the cost of the scheme.PHRASES: be (just or only) a question of time be certain to happen sooner or later.bring something into question raise an issue for further consideration or discussion: technology had brought into question the whole future of work.come into question become an issue for further consideration or discussion: our Sunday Trading laws have come into question1. being considered or discussed: on the day in question, there were several serious emergencies. 2. in doubt: all of the old certainties are in question of no possibility of.out of the question too impracticable or unlikely to merit discussion.question of fact Law an issue to be decided by a jury.question of law Law an issue to be decided by a judge.put the question (in a formal debate or meeting) require supporters and opponents of a proposal to record their votes.DERIVATIVES: ques·tion·er n.ques·tion·ing·ly adv.


views updated May 17 2018

QUESTION In general usage, a form of language that invites a reply, marked in spoken English with specific patterns of intonation and in written and printed English by a closing QUESTION MARK (?). In GRAMMAR, a term in the classification of sentences, referring to types distinguished by form and function from such other sentence types as statement and command. If the term is used functionally, sentences said with a rising intonation (You don't believe me?) can be included, while rhetorical questions (How could I possibly forget!) and exclamations in INTERROGATIVE form (Isn't he lucky!) are not. In formal terms, questions are of three main types:

Yesno questions

Questions to which the answer could be a Yes or No, with or without further detail, as with Did you telephone Robert? Formally, they begin with a verb: be, have, or do, or a modal verb, followed by the subject: Are you all right?; Do you understand?; Have you enough money?/Do you have enough money?; Will you telephone Robert?; Can I help you? Their usual intonation pattern is a rising TONE on and after the tonic syllable, but, when rhetorical or emphatic, they are said with a falling tone.


Questions beginning with an interrogative word. With the exception of how, these all begin with the letters wh-: who(ever), whom, whose, what(ever), which, when, where(ver), why(ever): Why did he leave and where has he gone? Such questions are sometimes called information questions because they are seeking new information. They contrast with yesno questions, but like them usually involve inversion of subject and verb. Their usual intonation pattern is a falling tone on and after the tonic syllable, but when rhetorical or emphatic are said with a rising tone.

Alternative questions

These offer a choice of answer: Are you expecting Robert or his brother?; Shall I telephone or write?; Who are you expectingRobert or his brother? If the question begins with a verb, the usual intonation pattern is a rising tone on each of the alternatives before the last and then a falling tone on the last alternative. If the question begins with an interrogative word, the usual pattern is a fall on the first part, followed by the same pattern in the second part as for a question beginning with a verb.


All three types generally involve INVERSION of the subject and an auxiliary or modal verb. This inversion applies also to questions containing be as the sole verb (Are you ready?) and in BrE sometimes to have (Have you any wool? as opposed to Do you have any wool? and Have you got any wool?). All other verbs use do if there is no auxiliary or modal: Where does she live?; What did you do? The only exception to this inversion rule is when who, what, or which is part of the subject. Contrast: Who told you that? (where who is subject) and Who(m) did you tell?


views updated Jun 27 2018

question XIII. — AN. questiun, (O)F. question — L. quaestiō, -ōn-, f. quaest-, pp. stem of quaerere seek, inquire.
So vb. XV. — (O)F. questionner. Hence questionable XVI. questionnaire XIX. — F., f. questionner + -aire -ARY.