WH-Questions: Learn How to Ask and Respond

In English, there are two main types of questions: Yes/No questions and WH-questions. WH-questions begin with question words such as what, when, where, who, whom, which, whose, why, and how.

Question Words and Their Usages:

  • What
    • Used to ask about things:
      What are you doing?
    • Used to ask about opinions:
      What do you think about the movie?
  • When
    • Used to ask about time:
      When will the meeting start?
    • Used to ask about plans or schedules:
      When are you leaving?
  • Where
    • Used to ask about places:
      Where's my bag?
    • Used to ask about locations:
      Where do you live?
  • Who
    • Used to ask about people:
      Who do you love the most in your family?
    • Used to ask about the subject of an action:
      Who told you that story?
  • Whom
    • Used to ask about people (object of verb):
      Whom did you see in the morning? I saw Mr. Mark, my English teacher.
    • Used to ask about the recipient of an action:
      Whom was Jim talking to? He was talking to Jack, his new roommate.
  • Which
    • Used to ask about choices:
      Which one do you choose? The left or right?
    • Used to ask about preferences:
      Of all the drinks on the menu, which one would you like?
  • Whose
    • Used to ask about possession:
      Whose pencil is this? Is it yours?
    • Used to ask about ownership:
      Whose books are these?
  • Why
    • Used to ask about reasons/causes:
      Why did it happen? I didn't understand.
    • Used to ask about motivations:
      < b>Why is he crying?
  • How
    • Used to ask about manner/process:
      How can you explain this problem? Please tell us.
    • Used to ask about means or methods:
      How can you get here?

How to Form WH-Questions

  1. With an auxiliary
  2. Wh-word + auxiliary + subject + main verb ... ?

    • What do you do for a living?
      What do you do for a living?
    • Why should we read books?
      Why should we read books?
    • When is she coming?
      When is she coming?
  3. Without any auxiliary
  4. (when WH-words replace subjects already)

    • What happened to Peter?
      What happened to Peter?
    • Who won the game?
      Who won the game?
    • Who gave you this present?
      Who gave you this present?

Responding to WH-Questions

  1. What
    • What is it?
      It's a table.
    • What color is your dress?
      It's purple.
    • What is your mom doing?
      She's cooking in the kitchen.
    • What do you think about the party?
      Well, it's fun. I like the music best.
    • What will happen if our team loses this time?
      We'll be out of the game.
  2. When
    • When will the train arrive?
      The train will arrive in 30 minutes.
    • When does she get up?
      She gets up at 6 am.
    • When did the party end?
      It ended before 8 pm.
    • When are you going to visit James?
      I'm going to see him tomorrow.
  3. Where
    • Where do you live?
      I live in Washington D.C.
    • Where are you going?
      I'm going to the zoo.
    • Where's the coffee bar?
      It's between the supermarket and the cinema.
    • Where did you leave my jacket?
      I left it in my bedroom.
    • Where have you been?
      I've been in the library reading books.
  4. Who
    • Who's this?
      She's my new roommate.
    • Who wants to be a scientist in the future?
      My sister does. I don't.
    • Who would you like to travel with?
      I would like to travel with my best friend, Kim.
    • Who told you that secret?
      Jenny did. She told me everything.
    • Who do you like the most in this class?
      I like Henry. He's so friendly.
  5. Whom
    • Whom should we talk to?
      We should talk to the principal. She's responsible for student issues.
    • Whom did you see yesterday?
      I saw Kevin and his girlfriend.
    • Whom would you like to interview?
      I would like to interview Mr. Patrick, the director.
    • Whom do we have to contact?
      We have to contact the representative of that company.
    • Whom did you meet in front of the building last week?
      That was Annie, my secretary.
    • Whom do you know in this class?
      I only know Danny.
    • Whom are you going to invite?
      I'm going to invite all of my classmates.
    • With whom do you agree?
      I agree with Henry's team.
  6. Which
    • Which shirt do you like?
      I like the one with the big yellow star on it.
    • Which color do you choose?
      I choose red.
    • Which part do you like the most in this story?
      I love the 2nd part when the prince came and proposed to the princess.
    • Which is the longest river in the world?
      That's the Nile.
    • Which one is yours?
      Mine is the biggest one.
  7. Whose
    • Whose jacket is this?
      It's my mom's.
    • Whose birthday is today?
      It's Jenny's.
    • Whose pencil is on the floor?
      That's mine.
    • Whose team is better?
      Will's team is much better.
  8. Why
    • Why don't we visit him now?
      It's a good idea.
    • Why did you leave so early?
      Because I didn't enjoy the party.
    • Why do you think that he loves you?
      Because he's given me lots of chocolate on Valentine's day.
    • Why do people celebrate Thanksgiving?
      Because it's a special day.
    • Why can't I go to the cinema now?
      Because you haven't done your homework.
    • Why are you so late?
      Sorry, teacher. I missed the bus.
  9. How
    • How's the weather?
      It's sunny and hot.
    • How do you feel?
      I feel much better now.
    • How did you know him?
      We were old friends.
    • How's your new job?
      It's interesting. I enjoy it.
    • How often do you go to the movie theater?
      I sometimes go there. I'm quite busy.
    • How far is it from your house to school?
      Not too far. I walk to school every day.
    • How much did it cost?
      It cost $4.
    • How many people are there in your class?
      There are 30 of them.
    • How come you lost the game?
      I couldn't answer the first question well enough.
Grammar Lab
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