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What is a yes-no question?



A yes-no question is a question for which an answer of yes or no is acceptable.


In some languages, a yes-no question is formally distinguished by features, such as

  • rising sentence-final intonation
  • a sentence-initial or sentence-final particle
  • verb morphology
  • a difference of word order, such as the placement of the verb closer to the beginning of the sentence than in the declarative sentence, and
  • an interrogative clitic that attaches to the item in the sentence that is being questioned.
  A yes-no question is a kind of

Elson and Pickett 1988 108


Crystal 1980 294, 387


Lyons 1977b 754


Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik 1985 806


Sadock and Zwicky 1985 181–182

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