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Interrogative Pronouns

Ask with who, what, where, why, when or how

Squirrel: Same old question
 

Read Context

Look at that squirrel!  She's sitting there and staring at us. Maybe she thinks that we will feed her. I've seen her before. She looks ready to have another litter of kits. Perhaps, she is nesting. She has been collecting acorns. She hides them nearby. She even hid some in my garden shoes. Somehow, she finds the acorns again later. I've also seen her eating birdseed from bird feeders. She has managed to survive for several years and has had several litters.

  • Who is that squirrel looking at? 
  • Why is she staring?
  • What  does she expect from us?
  • Where has she hidden her acorns?
  • How will she find the acorns later?  
  • When will she have her kits?

acorn (N) – a nut from an oak tree

gather (V) – collect, bring things together into a group

kit (N) – a squirrel baby is called a kit (kitten) or pup.

litter (N) – group of babies born together, often for dogs and cats

manage (V) – work hard or struggle to do something, achieve a goal

nest (V) – prepare a safe place to have babies (often in trees or bushes)

(s)he v. it – small animals are often called it unless the gender is easy to identify

seed (N) – the tiny round object from which a new plant grows

stare (V) – look at something for a long time without moving the eyes

survive (V) – live through very difficult circumstances or climate.

 

 

Yes / No Questions vs. Wh- Questions

YES / NO QUESTIONS

Questions that begin with be, do or have allow us to ask for information that can be answered by "yes" or "no". They are called closed interrogatives because the response is limited.                        

"BE" AUXILIARY

Is      the squirrel   looking at us? 
    move left

Yes, she is. / No, she isn't

"DO" AUXILIARY

Does the squirrel expect us to feed her? 

Yes, she does. /   No, she doesn't.

"HAVE" AUXILIARY

Has the squirrel put away food for the winter? 

Yes, she has. / No, she hasn't.

MODAL AUXILIARY

Will she have her babies before winter starts? 

Yes, she will. / No, she won't.

WH- QUESTIONS

Interrogative pronouns such as who, what, where, why, when and how allow us to ask a question which accepts a wide range of answers. These are called open interrogatives because response is not limited.

"BE" AUXILIARY

What   is    the squirrel looking at? 
       move to front

She is looking at us for some reason.

"DO" AUXILIARY

Why does the squirrel expect us to feed her?   

Because¹ neighbors often leave her nuts.

"HAVE" AUXILIARY

Where has the squirrel been hiding acorns for the winter?

She has been hiding them in the ground near her tree.

MODAL AUXILIARY

When will she have her babies?

She will have her babies soon. She is rather big.

 

¹ because occurs at the beginning of a response in shortened informal speech. A full and more formal response would connect the response to a main clause: "She expects us to feed her because neighbors often leave her nuts."

² when is also used used as (1) a connective for a subordinate wh- clause (indirect questions)I don't know [when she will have her babies.] and (2) a connective preposition for the relative timing of events (same time) . The mother will use up her cache of acorns [when the babies are young.]  See Comparison of Wh- (below). 

Modals: will, can, may, might, must, could, would, should

Open interrogative –  a question that begins with a wh- pronoun: who, what, which, where, when, why, how,  how much, what kind, etc. and is not limited to "yes" or "no" (polar) responses. The response can contain more information.

Closed interrogative – a question that begins with a be, do, have or modal auxiliary verb, and is limited to "yes" or "no" (polar) responses.

(Swan 480, 619-28)

 

 

 

 

Fronting the Pronoun

Changing word order

Squirrel with acorn
 

Interrogative pronoun fronting

DECLARATIVE

When asking for unknown information, the unknown "something" may occur in the subject or object position with who and what, but only in the object/complement position with when, where, why and how.  (Passive sentences are exceptions.)

SUBJECT "WHO" OR "WHAT"

Someone is attracting the squirrel's attention.

Something is attracting the squirrel's attention.

Something funny is attracting the squirrel's attention.

OBJECT (OF THE VERB)

The squirrel is watching something.

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

The squirrel is looking at something.

 

BE + IDENTIFYING NOUN PHRASE

It    is     something. 

It    is     some kind of squirrel. 

(type, species, variety, etc.)

INTERROGATIVE

In the question form, the pronoun that replaces the unknown "something" is placed at the front of the clause followed by the auxiliary verb. (For subject who or what, no change is needed.) If the unknown thing occurs in a phrase,  the whole phrase is "fronted".

SUBJECT — NO CHANGE REQUIRED

Who     is attracting   the squirrel's attention? 

What     is attracting   the squirrel's attention?  

What funny thing    is attracting   the squirrel's attention?  

OBJECT PRONOUN MOVED TO FRONT

What     is the squirrel   watching ___?
       move to front

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE MOVED TO FRONT

At what is the squirrel looking  ____? (formal)
      move to front

What     is the squirrel looking at ____ ? (standard usage)
      move to front

IDENTIFYING NOUN PHRASE MOVED TO FRONT

What  is                    it   ____?
         move to front

What kind of squirrel is   it     ____?
              move to front     

 

Is it wrong to end a sentence with a preposition?  Ending with a Preposition (Read options and what grammarians have to say on this traditional taboo.)

Also see Identifying "be".

In linguistics, "fronting" is the moving of elements or phrases to the beginning of the clause.  ("Fronting and Zeroing" Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Interrogatives with "Be"

Ask about current activity

Valley Oak acorn
 

Ask wh- questions with "be" auxiliaries

DECLARATIVE 

In a declarative clause, unknown information can be expressed with—someone, something, somewhere, some reason, some time, some manner. In the following examples, these words are in a non-subject position of the clause.                                                                          

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMP/ OBJ
NP V / VP NP / PP / INFIN

Someone

is watching

the squirrel.

The squirrel

is watching

someone.

The squirrel

was hiding

something.

Her acorns

are buried¹

somewhere.

The squirrels

are looking

at us for some reason.

The squirrels

were burying

their acorns some time ago.

The squirrels

are going

to find their acorns by some manner

The squirrels

are fighting

over their acorns.

INTERROGATIVE

In an interrogative in which the unknown information is not the subject of the declarative clause, the interrogative pronoun—who, what, which, where, why, when, whose, or how— is fronted (placed at the beginning of the clause) followed by the inversion of the subject and auxiliary .

WH– PREDICATE SUBJ PRED / COMP
PRN AUX V NP V / GER / PPART

 

Who
(person)

is watching the squirrel?

Who
(person)

is

the squirrel

watching?

What
(thing)

was

the squirrel

hiding?

Where
(place)

are

his acorns

buried?

Why
(reason)

are

they

looking at us?

When
(time)

were

they

burying their acorns?

How
(method)

are

the squirrels

going to find them again?

Whose acorns
(genitive)

are

the squirrels

fighting over²?

 

acorn (N) – the nut of an oak tree

¹ bury (V) is buried (passive) – put in the ground and covered with soil; buried (Participial Adj) underground, The pirates looked for the buried treasure.

² ending with a preposition – a preposition may be included with the interrogative pronoun or left at the end.  See Ending with a Preposition.

 

 

Word Categories: N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adv – adverb; PP – prepositional phrase; GER – gerund; INFIN – infinitive clause; PPart – past participle

Grammatical Functions: SUBJ – subject, PRED – predicate, COMPcomplement, ADJU adjunct (DO) direct object, (IO) indirect object..   See Subject–Predicate–Complement.

 

 

 

 

Interrogatives with "Do"

Ask about general or habitual activity

Sciurus carolinensis
 

Ask wh- questions with"do" auxiliaries

DECLARATIVE

In a declarative, the standard word order is: subjectpredicatecomplement and possibly some additional information called adjuncts.  

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT / OBJ
NP V / VP NP / PP / INFIN

Robert 

likes

squirrels.

Squirrels

fear

people

A squirrel

hides

food for the winter.

Squirrels

hide

acorns in different places.

Squirrels

look

at people for a variety of reasons.

Squirrels

buried

their acorns last fall.

A squirrel

finds

acorns by memory and scent. 

A squirrel

put

acorns in my shoe.

INTERROGATIVE

In an interrogative, the word order is: wh-pronounauxiliarysubjectremainder of predicate – the rest (complements and adjuncts).

WH– AUX SUBJ PRED + COMP
PRN AUX V NP V + COMPLEMENT

 

Who
(person)

 likes squirrels?

Who
(person)

do

squirrels

fear?

What
(thing)

does

a squirrel

hide?

Where
(place)

do

squirrel

hide acorns?

Why
(reason)

do

they

look at us?

When
(time)

did

they

bury their acorns?

How
(method)

does

a squirrel

remember the location of a buried acorn?

Whose shoe
(genitive)

did

a squirrel

put its acorns in².

 

scent (N) – odor, smell

"do" support – For a present tense (nonprogressive) statement, "do" support is used when forming a question. The present auxiliaries are do (does 3rd person singular) and the past auxiliary is did.

² ending with a preposition – a preposition may be included with the interrogative pronoun or left at the end.  See Ending with a Preposition.

 

 

 

 

Interrogatives with "Have"

Ask recent or general experience

Squirrels in Ann Arbor
 

Ask wh- questions with "have" auxiliaries

DECLARATIVE

In a declarative, the standard word order is: subjectpredicatecomplement and possibly some additional information called adjuncts.  

SUBJ PRED COMP / OBJ
NP V / VP NP / PP / INFIN

We

have seen

the squirrel's nest. 

The mother

have been begging

us for food.

The squirrel

has kept

her young in the hole of an old oak tree.

The squirrel

has not let

the babies out.

This squirrel

had lost

one of her young due to an owl attack earlier this year.

INTERROGATIVE

In an interrogative, the word order is: wh-pronounauxiliarysubjectremainder of predicate + the rest (complements and adjuncts).

WH– PRED AUX SUBJ PRED / COMP
PRN AUX V NP PPART/ NP / PP

 

Who
(Subj.)

has seen the squirrel's nest?

Who
(Obj.)

has

the mother

been begging for food?

Where

has

the mother

kept her young?

Why

has

she

not let them out?

How

had

the mother squirrel

lost a young one?

 

squirrel baby –  young are called "kit" or "pup". A female squirrel is a "doe" and a male squirrel is a "buck".

 

 

 

 

Interrogatives with Modals

Express mood (certainty, willingness, ability, obligation, etc.)

Squirrel nest in tree
 

Ask wh-questions with modal auxiliaries

DECLARATIVE

In a declarative, the standard word order is: subjectpredicatecomplement and possibly some additional information called adjuncts.  

SUBJ PRED COMP / OBJ
NP V / VP NP / PP / INFIN

We

can see

the babies in the nest.

The squirrels

can see

us.

The nest

might be

in the hole of an old oak tree.

The squirrel

should be

careful.

The squirrel

couldn't see

the owl nearby.

INTERROGATIVE

In an interrogative, the word order is: wh-pronounauxiliarysubjectremainder of predicate – the rest (complements + adjuncts).

WH– PRED AUX SUBJ PRED / COMP
PRN AUX V NP V / NP / PP

 

Who
(Subj.)

can see the squirrel's nest?

Who
(Obj.)

can

squirrels

see?

Where

might

the squirrel's nest

be?

Why

should

she

be careful?

How

could

the squirrel

see the owl nearby?

 

Modals: will, can, may, might, must, could, would, should

 

 

 

 

Interrogative Phrases

Specify a particular one or a quality

 

 

 

Interrogative phrases—which or what

WHICH & WHAT IN STANDARD WORD ORDER

Interrogatives which and what can also serve as determiners before a noun. Which and what are mostly interchangeable: which is preferred for limited choices and what for unlimited (more than two) choices.

SUBJECT PREDICATE INTERROGATIVE PHRASE
NP–V INTERROG. N

You want

which

what

one?

color?

(type, flavor, size, shape)

It is

which

what

one?

color?

(kind, variety, brand, way¹)

You have

what size²

what color²

what flavor²

what kind of

shoes?

paper?

ice cream?

dog?

WHICH & WHAT IN QUESTION WORD ORDER

An interrogative what or which phrase is "fronted" (brought to the beginning of the clause) and is followed by subject–auxiliary inversion.  Which and what phrases occur only as the object of a clause, not as the subject.

 INTERROGATIVE PHRASE AUXILIARY–SUBJ
INTERROG. N V–N–V

Which

What

one

color

(type, flavor, size, shape)

do you want?

Which

one

color

(kind, variety, brand, way¹)

is it?

What size²

What color²

What flavor²

What kind of

shoes

paper

ice cream

dog

do you have?

 

¹ The phrase what way is not used.

²A few words do not require "of" in an interrogative phrase. What size (of) shoes do you wear? 

 

 

Interrogative phrases—how

HOW IN STANDARD WORD ORDER

How also occurs in an interrogative phrase with a quantifier, adverb or adjective. How phrases occur as the subject or the object of a clause.

SUBJECT   PRED–COMP
INTERROG. PHRASE NP V + NP / PP

How many

squirrels

live in that oak tree?

SUBJ– PRED OBJ  INTERROG PHRASE
NP – V HOW + QUANTIFIER N

You saw

how many / few

how much / little

squirrels?

water?

NP + V HOW + ADJ N / PP

The squirrel selects

how big / wide / high / tall / old

a tree?

of a tree?

NP + "BE" HOW + ADJ  

The tree is

how old / young / far / near / wide / narrow / high / low?

 

NP + V HOW + ADV FREQ.  

A litter of kits occurs

how often / frequently / rarely?

 

NP + V HOW + ADV MANNER  

A  squirrel runs

how fast / quickly / skillfully, agilely?

 

HOW IN QUESTION WORD ORDER

The how phrase is "fronted" (brought to the beginning of the clause) and is followed by the question.

SUBJECT PRED–COMP
INTERROG. PHRASE NP V + NP / PP

How many

squirrels

live in that oak tree?

FRONTED INTERROG PHRASE SUBJECT PREDICATE
HOW + QUANTIFIER N AUX–NP–V

How many / few

How much / little

squirrels

water

can you count?

HOW + ADJ N AUX–NP–V

How big / wide / high / tall / old

a tree

does the squirrel select?

HOW + ADJ   NP + "BE"

How old / young / far / near / wide / narrow / high / low?

 

is the tree?

HOW + ADV FREQ.   AUX–NP–V

How often / frequently / rarely?

 

does a litter of kits occur?

HOW + ADV MANNER   AUX–NP–V

How fast / quickly / skillfully, agilely

 

does a squirrel run?

 

agilely  (Adv) – in a manner that is quick and well-coordinated in movement

litter of kits – the group of baby squirrels born to a mother. The babies are called "kits" or "pups".

how about – is an informal phrase often used to put forward information on a subject.  How about trying something else? How about a cup of tea?

how come? – informal why?

how do you do? – a formal greeting

how is it that…?  – a question asking about the reasoning behind someone's actions.  How is it that we are still trying to solve the same old problem?

Also see Whatever Determiners and Whose Clauses.

(Huddleston 10 §7.9-10) (Swan 252 "how", 622 "which, what and who")

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*Who she is?   (requires Auxiliary–Subject inversion)

*Where the library?    (missing verb)

*How do he do that?  (number agreement)

*Whose he? (incorrect pronoun)

* Who's pants are these?  (whose v. who is)

*Where's it at. 

*I don't know where is it.

SOLUTION

Who is she?  

Where is the library?

How does he do that?

Who is he.    Whose friend is he?   See Whose Clauses.

Whose pants are these?

Where is it?   (at is unnecessary)

I don't know where it is.  See Subordinate Wh- Questions

 

Related page How vs. What — exclamations.

 

 

 

 

► Show a Comparison of Wh- Pronoun Uses ▼ Hide Comparison

Wh- Pronoun Uses

Compare interrogative, relative, and connective pronouns

 

 

Compare these uses of wh- pronouns

INTERROGATIVE PRONOUN RELATIVE PRONOUN

An interrogative pronoun in a question is the placeholder for a subject (nominative) or object (accusative). It represents an unknown noun.

A relative pronoun in a modifying clause relates the content of the relative clause to the noun directly before it. The relative clause adds descriptive information that helps identify "which noun".

Who is feeding the squirrels?
(My son) is feeding the squirrels. (Subj)

Who(m) did you see? (Obj)

My son [who likes squirrels] is giving them nuts.

My son [who(m) you met ] is giving them nuts.

Who(m) and That Clauses.

What eats squirrels?
(Owls) eat squirrels. (Subj)

What do owls eat? 
Owls eat (squirrels). (Obj)

The owl [*what / that¹ lives in a nearby tree] is killing squirrels.

The owl [*what / that¹ lives in a nearby tree] ate a baby squirrel.

That and Which Clauses.

When do squirrels breed?  (Obj) 

The times [when squirrels breed] is spring and summer. 

When Where Clauses.

Where does this squirrels make its nest?  (Obj) 

 

The place [where this squirrel makes its nest] is in my oak tree. 

Why are smaller? (Obj)

The reason [why I ordered a salad] is that I prefer eating light. 

How do squirrels climb so easily? (Obj)

The manner [I ordered a salad] is that I prefer eating light. 

CONNECTIVE PRONOUN CONNECTIVE PREPOSITION

An interrogative pronoun also functions as the connector between the main clause and the subordinated question. It relates the information in the question to the main clause. (Indirect Questions)

The word when can also function as a connective preposition (He laughed when I tickled him.) When joins an optional (adjunct) clause that relates the timing of two events. (temporal preposition)

I can tell you [who is feeding the squirrels.]

I can tell you [who(m) I saw feeding the squirrels.]

Subordinate Wh- Questions.

 

 

I can tell you [what has been killing squirrels.]

I can tell you [what the owl ate.]

Subordinate Wh- Questions.

 

 

I know [when squirrels breed.]

Subordinate Wh- Questions.

I smile [when² I see squirrels.] 

I will let you know [when I see one].  

When: same-time v. immediately after.

Can you tell me [where squirrels make their nests] ?

 

He asked [why I ordered a salad] ?

 

He asked [why I ordered a salad] ?

 
 

clausal head – a pronoun such as who, what, where, when, why, or how is called a clausal head because of (1) its primary position in the clause, and (2) its primary role in the meaning of the clause. (It carries meaning as part of the clause, and it cannot be omitted.)

relative pronoun – a pronoun that relates a descriptive clause to a noun phrase is a relative pronoun. (The man [who called] wants an interview.)

connective pronoun – a pronoun that heads an interrogative clause becomes a connective pronoun when the interrogative clause is subordinated within another (main) clause. (You know him. You know [who he is].  Can you ask him [where we are going]?)

subordinator – a subordinator that, if or whether marks the subordination of the clause that follows it; it is not actually part of the clause it subordinates. That carries no meaning and can be omitted. Compare: *I know who the president is.  I know that the president is a nit-wit.   I don't know if the president thinks logically.

¹ The relative pronoun that not what is used in the relative clause.

² In this example, when expresses whenever or anytime.

adjunct –  optional modifiers with additional information about the situation such as manner, timing, location, reason, goal, condition, and so on.  See Connective Preposition or Adjunct.

connect (v) – join, add, attach

 

 

 

 

► Show Grammar Notes and Works Cited ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes(Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

Traditional and Linguistic Descriptions

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR

Intonation Questions

A  rising intonation may be used to ask a question. Depending on which word is the focus, the intonation rises . In such a case, no question word is included and no auxiliary change occurs.  (Swan 481)

You fed the squirrels? ↑     You↑ fed the squirrels?  You fed↑ the squirrels?   

Tag-Questions

A question may be asked with a declarative statement and a small question at the end, usually with just the auxiliary and the subject noun (or pronoun).  The tag question is negative if the declarative is positive (polarity) , or visa versa. (Swan 487)

  • You fed the squirrels, didn't you?    + / - 
  • You aren't the one feeding the squirrels, are you?  - / + 

Yes or No Questions

Yes/ No and Information Questions – a question that may be answered yes or no. If the verb is the simple present use does (with he, she, it) or do (with I, you, we, they) in the question. If the verb is simple past, use did.  The main verb is simple form; there is no final -s or -ed

Wh- Questions

  • Position the auxiliary verb (only!) before the subject
  • Use "do" if no other auxiliary very is present (e.g. is/are, has, have, had, can will, might, could, etc.)  Do not use "do" if another auxiliary verb is present.
  • Use the plain/simple/bare-infinitive form of the verb.
  • If who, what, which or whose is the subject, do not use "do".  Who feeds the squirrel. Who do feed the squirrel. (Subj.)

(Swan 480)

LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

Closed interrogatives have subject–auxiliary inversion, which may include a "do" support structure if no other auxiliary verb is present. A closed interrogative accepts an affirmative or negative response, usually with "yes" or "no" (limited).

Declarative:  It is a dog. It barks. The dog is sleeping. It has been sleeping.

Closed interrogative:  Is it a dog? Does it bark? Is it sleeping? Has it been sleeping?

 

Open interrogatives include an interrogative phrase with how, who, whom, what, when, whose, where, why, or which. The phrase serves as a replacement for an unknown element in the declarative clause.  An open interrogative accepts a wide variety of responses (not limited).

Declarative:  Bill went to the store this morning to buy some milk.

Open interrogative:  Who went to the store?  Where did Bill go? When did Bill go? Why did Bill go?

An interrogative phrase that is not in the subject of the declarative clause is usually fronted (moved to the beginning of the clause), which triggers the subject–auxiliary inversion.

Subject interrogative: Bill likes Jill. Who likes Jill?

Non-subject interrogative:  Bill likes Jill. Who(m) does Bill like?

Non-fronted interrogative:  Bill likes who?

Infinitival interrogative:  Why make a big deal of it?  (plain infinitive)

Reduced interrogative phrase:  What color?  Which one?

 

(Huddleston 10 §2)

 

 

Works Cited

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 4th ed., Pearson Education, 2009.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.

Images

  • "An Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in St James's Park, London, England." By Diliff, Flickr, 19 Nov. 2006. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Accessed 1 Feb. 2018.
  • "Eastern Grey Squirrel." By Tom Friedel, Wikimedia, 4 Mar. 2010. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.  Accessed 30 Jan. 2018.
  • "Same Old Question." By Peter Trimming (TQ2979), Geograph, 22 Nov. 2012. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.
  • "Sciurus carolinensis." By Son of Groucho, Wikimedia, 25 Sep. 2010.. Licensed under CC BY 2.0. Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.
  • "Squirrels in Ann Arbor." By Corey Seeman, Flickr, 5 Oct 2017. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.
  • "Squirrel Nest in My Backyard." By Heart Windows Art, Flickr, 9 Apr. 2006. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Accessed 1 Feb. 2018.
  • "Western Gray Squirrel." By Fish Demon, Wikimedia, 9 Mar. 2010. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.  Accessed 30 Jan. 2018.
  • Western gray squirrel in urban environment. Max Pixel. maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Squirrel-White-Portrait-Young-Brown-Cute-Animal-937700 Licensed under CC0.  Accessed 1 Feb. 2018.

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Western Gray Squirrel

Western Gray Squirrel
 

Read the Context

Western gray squirrels make their nests in trees. They only come down to forage for food, usually during the morning or late afternoon. They feed on seeds and nuts such as pine nuts and acorns. They will also eat berries, fungi and insects. They prefer acorns because the nuts are high in oil and carbohydrates, which help them to put on fat for the winter. Squirrels collect and bury acorns and then find them again later using their sense of smell. Those that they don't manage to find grow into new plants or trees.

Squirrel nests are built high in the branches of trees. Nests are made from sticks, leaves and grasses. Nesting mothers will make a covered nests and line them with lichen and tail hair. Nests must be hidden from predators such as coyotes, cougars, bobcats, hawks, owls, and domestic cats and dogs. Squirrels rely on speed, expert climbing skills and camouflage to escape predators. Fur on their stomachs is light-colored like the sky, and fur on their backs and heads is gray-brown like the color of tree bark.

bark (N) – the exterior surface of a tree trunk or limb.

bury (V) – dig a hole and place something underground.

camouflage (N) – having patterns and coloring of surrounding trees, plants and ground.

carbohydrates (N) –a substance that is in foods such as sugar, bread, and potatoes, which provides energy to the body.

forage (V) – search or hunt for food in nature.

lichen (N) – a tiny, grey, green, or yellow plant that spreads over the surface of stones and tree branches.

line (V) – put an interior layer of something to make the inside warmer.

nest (N) – a squirrel home built of sticks, leaves and grasses, also called "drey".

predator (N) – an animal that hunts and kills another animal for food.

skill (N) – an ability to do something well either naturally or through practice.

 

 

Complete the question with an interrogative pronoun and auxiliary (if necessary).

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Squirrelly Questions

Eastern Grey Squirrel

 

 

Is the question worded correctly?

  1. Select a response correct or incorrect.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking each "check" or the "check 11-20" button.

 

13.
What you call a female squirrel?
A female squirrel is called a doe.
     

14.
Where is a squirrel live?
A squirrel lives in a tree.
     

15.
How many babies a mother squirrel has at one time?
A squirrel has from one to five babies in a litter.
     

16.
Why does a squirrel collect and store acorns?
A squirrel collects and stores food to eat during the winter.
     

17.
How often has a gray squirrel lose and regrow its fur?
A  gray squirrel loses and regrows its fur twice a year in spring and in fall.
     

18.
When are the "kits" leaving the nest?
The "kits" leave the nest after six months.
     

19.
Why has the population of gray squirrels become smaller?
The population of gray squirrels has become smaller because of urban development.
     

20.
Who have taken steps to protect the gray squirrels.
City planners and nature lovers are taking steps to preserve gray squirrels by  saving open spaces for wildlife.
     

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Gray Squirrels Threatened

Urban Grey Squirrel

 

 

Read the Context

The western gray squirrel was listed as a threatened species in Washington state in 1993 due to urbanization and wild fires. Also, a disease carried by mites caused a large number of squirrels to die. The situation was made worse by the introduction of other species of squirrels into the area of gray squirrels. Due to these threats, wildlife experts have been tracking the movement of gray squirrels out of the suburbs and into mountains.

The western gray squirrel can be saved if open spaces in parks and forests are kept for them. Squirrels help the environment by carrying off seeds and burying them away from the shade of the parent tree. Squirrels bury acorns deep enough in the ground for the acorns to take root. A great number of oak and other trees exist because squirrels buried acorns and were unable to relocate their cache of nuts and seeds.

acorn (N) – seed or nut from an oak tree

benefit (N) – advantage; benefit (V) – do good for

bury (V) – dig a hold and put underground

cache (N) – a collection of things in storage, often hidden

environment (N) – surrounding things, conditions; ecology: air, water, nature

expert (N) – an experienced, educated person in a particular field or activity

mite (N) – a tiny insect that lives on birds and animals and weakens them

shade (N) – a location where sunlight does not reach

species (N) – a scientific category of animals below sub-genus.

suburb (N) – area outside of a city where neighborhoods are located

take root (expression) – grow; develop roots that reach into the soil

track (V) – follow and record data about findings

threat (N) – a harm or a danger

threaten (V) – harm or endanger

urban (N) – area within a big city; urbanization (N) – becoming a big city

wild fire (N) – large rapidly spreading, uncontrollable forest fire

 
 

Write the question for the statement.

  1. In the text box, edit the sentence(s) so that it forms a question. Use the interrogative pronoun listed below each statement.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

21.
The western gray squirrel was listed as a threatened species in Washington state in 1993 due to urbanization and wild fires.
When?


22.
The western gray squirrel was listed as a threatened species in Washington state in 1993 due to urbanization and wild fires.
Where?


23.
The western gray squirrel was listed as a threatened species in Washington state in 1993 due to urbanization and wild fires.
Why?


24.
Also, a disease carried by mites has caused a large number of squirrels to die.
What?


25.
The situation was made worse by the introduction of other species of squirrels into the area of gray squirrels. ]
What else?


26.
Wildlife experts have been tracking the movement of gray squirrels out of the suburbs and into mountains.
Who?


27.
We can save the western gray squirrel by keeping open spaces for them in parks and forests.
How?


28.
Squirrels help the environment by carrying off seeds and burying them away from the shade of the parent tree.
How?


29.
Squirrels bury acorns deep enough in the ground for the acorns to take root.
Which animal?


30.
A great number of oak and other trees exist because squirrels buried acorns and were unable to relocate their cache of nuts and seeds.
Why?