Language Structure #6 – Learning about Question Words

Learning about Question Words

Where do we use QW?  We use them to ask certain types of questions The main question words are:

What (for a thing, when there are many things)
Which (for a thing, when there aren’t many things)
Who (for a person)
Where (for a place)
Why (for a reason)
When (for a time)
How (for a method)
Whose (to ask about possession)

Examples

What is your name?
Which gym do you go to?
Who is your boss?
Where do you hang out at the weekends?
Why do you hate your job?
When is your birthday?
How do you learn English words?
Whose book is this?

But we can also make compound questions by putting together two words.

How often…? (to talk about frequency)
How long…? (to talk about duration)
How much…? (to talk about quantity in uncountable nouns)
How many…? (to talk about quantity in countable nouns)
What kind / What type…?
Which kind / which type…?

 

Examples

How often do you play football?
How long does it take to fly from London to Paris?
How much does a ticket cost?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
What kind of car do you drive?
Which type of sport do you play: team sports or individual sports?

Note! Remember to use the same word order: question word + auxiliary + subject + verb

Please see more examples.

QWEXAMPLE OF QUESTIONANSWERSEXPLANATION
WHEN

When did they arrived?

When will you come?

Yesterday.

Next monday.

When is used to ask questions about tons.
WHERE

Where is she?

Where can I find a pen?

At home.

In that drawer.

Where is used to ask questions about place.
WHY

Why did he leave early?

Why aren’t you coming with us?

Because he’s ill.

I’m tired.

Why is used to ask questions about reason.
HOW

How did you come to school?

How does he drive?

By bus.

Carefully.

How generally asks about manner.

How much money does it cost?

How many people came?

Ten dollars.

Fifteen.

How is used with much and many.

How old are you?

How cold is it?

How soon can you get there?

How fast were you driving?

How long has he been here?

How often do you write home?

How far is it to Miami from here?

Twelve.

Ten below zero.

In ten minutes.

50 miles an hour.

Two years.

Every week.

500 miles.

How is also used with adjectives and adverbs.

How long asks about length of time.

How often asks about frequency.

How far asks about distance.

WHO

Who can answer that question?

Who came to visit you?

I can.

Jane and Eric.

Who is used as the subject of a question. It refers to people.

Who is coming to dinner tonight?

Who wants to come with me?

Ann, Bob and Al.

We do.

Who is usually followed by a singular verb even if the speaker is asking about more than one person.
WHOM

Who(m) did you see?

Who(m) are you visiting?

Who(m) shoul I talk to?

To whom should I talk? (formal)

I saw George.

My relatives.

The secretary.

Whom is used as the object of a verb or preposition.

In everyday spoken English, whom is rarely used; who is used instead.

Whom is used only in formal question.

Note: whom, not who, is used if preceded by a preposition.

WHOSE

Whose book did you borrow?

Whose key is this?

(whose is this?

David’s.

It’s mine.

Whose asks questions about possession.
WHAT

What made you angry?

What went wrong?

His rudeness.

Everything.

What is used as the subject of a question. It refers to things.

What do you need?

What did Alice buy?

What did he talk about?

About what did he talk? (formal)

I need a pencil.

A book.

His vacation.

What is also used as an object.

What kind of soup is that?

What kind of shoes did he buy?

It’s bean soup.

Sandals.

What kind to asks about the particular variety or type of something.

What did you do last night?

What what is Mary doing?

I studied.

Reading a book.

What + a form of do is used to ask questions about activities.

What countries did you visit?

What time did she come?

What color is his hair?

Italy and Spain.

Seven o’clock.

Dark brown.

What may accompany a noun.

What is Ed like?

What is the weather like?

he’s kind and friendly.

Hot and humid.

What + be like asks for a general description of qualities.

What does Ed look like?

What does her house look like?

He’s tall and has dark hair.

It’s a two-story, red brick house.

What + look like asks for a physical description.
WHICH

I have two pens. / Which pens do you want?

Which one do you want?

Which do you want?

The blue one.

Which is used instead of what when a question concerns choosing from a definite, known quantity or group.
Which book should I buy?That one.

Which countries did he visit? What countries did he visit?

Which class are you in? What class are you in?

Peru and Chile.

This class.

In some cases, there is tittle difference in meaning between which and what when the accompany a noun, as shown in the examples.

Now, can you create your own questions? See you in our next lesson.

Source: EBuzz Module for Young Learners