Grammar » 5 » Asking Questions

Inuktut has a series of verb endings that are used just for asking questions. To ask a question, we add one of these endings to a verb root or affix. The verb ending indicates who we are asking about:
nirivit? Are you eating?
niriva? Is he / she eating?


Question endings have different forms depending on the sound that comes before them. After a root or affix that ends in a vowel, the question endings look like this:

tukisi- to understand
tukisivunga? Do I understand?
tukisivit? Do you understand?
tukisiva? Does he/she understand?
tukisivinuk? Do we (2) understand?
tukisivita? Do we (3+) understand?
tukisivisik? Do you (2) understand?
tukisivisi? Do you (3+) understand?
tukisivak? Do they (2) understand?
tukisivat? Do they (3+) understand?


After a root or affix that ends in q-, you use the same endings as above, replacing the v with a q.
isiq- to come in
isiqqunga? Am I coming in?
isiqqit? Are you coming in?
isiqqa? Is he / she coming in?
isiqqinuk? Are we (2) coming in?
isiqqita? Are we (3+) coming in?
isiqqisik? Are you two coming in?
isiqqisi? Are you (3+) coming in?
isiqqak? Are the two of them coming in?
isiqqat? Are they (3+) coming in?
If the root or affix ends in any other consonant, you do the following:
  • replace the final consonant of the verb with a p
  • use the same endings above, replacing the v with a p.

As an example, let's use the verb root sinit-meaning to sleep:

sinippunga? Am I sleeping?
sinippit? Are you sleeping?
sinippa? Is he/she sleeping?
sinippinuk? Are the two of us sleeping?
sinippita? Are we (3+) sleeping?
sinippisik? Are you two sleeping?
sinippisi? Are you (3+) sleeping?
sinippak? Are the two of them sleeping?
sinippat? Are they (3+) sleeping?