How to Convert Assertive to Interrogative

Updated February 21, 2017

All sentences consist of a subject and predicate -- a doer of the action and the action. There are four main types of sentences: assertive or declarative (statement), imperative (demand), interrogative (question) and exclamatory (exclamation). It is important to recognise these various types in order to speak, write and punctuate correctly. An assertive sentence states a fact or an opinion, and is punctuated with a period. An interrogative sentences asks a question and is punctuated with a question mark. Practice changing a sentence from assertive to interrogative to help improve your ability to know and use these types correctly.

Browse a newspaper, magazine or novel for short sentences that end in a period. Choose very short sentences, each one less than six words. Copy 10 of these sentences into a page in the notebook, numbering each sentence. Put the heading, "Assertive" at the top of the page.

Read sentence number one aloud. Notice how it makes a full statement. Think of this statement as being the answer to a question that begins with one of the following question words: who, what, when, where, why or how.

Write an interrogative sentence, starting with one of the question words in Step 2, that the assertive statement answers. For example, if the assertive sentence was, "The children shouted with joy," your question may be, "Who shouted with joy?" or "What did the children do?" or "How did the children shout?"

Write as many interrogative sentences for the assertive sentence as you can, using the six question words in Step 2. It will always be possible to form at least two questions -- one that asks who did the action, and one that asks what the action is. It may not be possible to form more than that, depending upon the length of the assertive sentence and the details it contains.

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the rest of the assertive sentences you copied. Number the interrogative sentences to match the assertive ones. Place the heading, "Interrogative," at the top of the page.

Label the next page in the notebook "Simple Interrogative," and create an interrogative sentence that more closely matches the structure of the first assertive sentence. Form this interrogative sentence without using the six question words in Step 2. For example, the assertive sentence, "The children shouted with joy," can be changed to the interrogative sentence, "Did the children shout with joy?"

Convert the rest of the assertive sentences you copied on your first page to additional interrogative sentences. Keep in mind that most of these interrogative sentences will start with the words is, are, was, were, does, did, do, has or have.


Sometimes a shift in emphasis and tone is all that is needed to convert an assertive sentence to an interrogative. The example of the assertive statement in Step 3, "The children shouted with joy," can be punctuated as a question, and become, "The children shouted with joy?" When you say this sentence aloud, you can emphasise the words "children" or "shouted" or "joy," and the meaning of the interrogative will change slightly each time, depending upon which word is emphasised.

Things You'll Need

  • News article, magazine or novel
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About the Author

Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.