Wh questions (Question Words)

Types of questions

There are two types of questions:


Question words

Question words are also called wh questions because they include the letters 'W' and 'H'.

Question words Meaning Examples
who person Who's that? That's Nancy.
where place Where do you live? In Boston
why reason Why do you sleep early? Because I've got to get up early
when time When do you go to work? At 7:00
how manner How do you go? By car
what object, idea or action What do you do? I am an engineer
which choice Which one do you prefer? The red one.
whose possession Whose is this book? It's Alan's.
whom object of the verb Whom did you meet? I met the manager.
what kind description What kind of music do you like? I like quiet songs
what time time What time did you come home?
how many quantity (countable) How many students are there? There are twenty.
how much amount, price (uncountable) How much time have we got? Ten minutes
how long duration, length How long did you stay in that hotel? For two weeks.
how often frequency How often do you go to the gym? Twice a week.
how far distance How far is your school? It's one mile far.
how old age How old are you? I'm 16.
how come reason How come I didn't see you at the party?

Asking questions

1.If you ask about the subject of the sentence, simply add the question word at the beginning:

James writes good poems. — Who writes good poems?

2.If you ask about the predicate of the sentence (the part of a sentence which contains the verb and gives information about the subject), there are three options:

  • If there is a helping (auxiliary) verb that precedes the main verb ( for example: can, is, are, was, were, will, would...), add the question word and invert the subject and the helping (auxiliary) verb.
    He can speak Chinese. — What can he speak?
    They are leaving tonight. — When are they leaving?
  • If you ask about the predicate and there is no helping (auxiliary) verb and the verb is "to be", simply add the question word and invert the subject and the verb.
    The play was interesting. — How was the play?
  • If there is no helping (auxiliary) verb in the the predicate and the main verb is not "to be", add the auxiliary "do" in the appropriate form.
    They go to the movies every Saturday. — Where do they go every Saturday?
    He wakes up early. — When does he wake up?
    They sent a letter. — What did they send?

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