It’s not always easy to understand native English speakers, especially if they speak quickly or use slang terms that aren’t easy to look up in the dictionary. And if you’re studying the language in school, it’s essential to learn how to ask and answer questions appropriately – whether you’re trying to make small talk with your classmates or prepare for an exam like the TOEFL or IELTS. The following guide will help you master the art of asking basic English questions, as well as understand what these questions mean when posed by others.
Basic question words
There are a handful of basic question words in English, and they’re essential for forming questions. Here are a few common ones: Who? / Who is it? – whose What? / What’s happening? – which, what, why Where? / Where is it? – where (locative), here (temporal) When?
What are Wh-questions?
Wh-questions, or question words that require more than a yes or no answer (also known as WH questions), are one of two main categories of basic questions in English. Wh-questions are used for requests for information about a person, place, thing, etc., along with how much and why something is happening. These types of questions typically begin with who/what/where/when/why/how). The difference between these two types is that how and why require an explanation. Wh-questions can be used when you need clarification on what you already know. You’re not looking for new information; instead, you want someone to explain what they mean by saying what they said or telling you why they did it.
Who, what, where, when
The more you can limit your sentence structure, especially when asking basic questions, and just by making sure you always use who and what when appropriate, it can make all the difference. Use these four words (Who, what, where, when) in your sentences. By only using who and what at first in order to ask basic questions you will have more words at your disposal once you have learned how verbs work in English.
A question tag is a short phrase added at the end of a statement. It contains what we call an auxiliary verb or verb ending like is, are, or do. Question tags are used in both spoken and written language. Here are some examples
Answers to common questions
If you want someone to ask you a specific question, answer it yourself first. In fact, go ahead and ask one of your own: What is a (noun)? Practice responding with That’s a good question! or I don’t know! Let me think about that for a moment. If you can do these things gracefully, you’ll have no problem appearing open-minded and polite in any conversation.
Questions with who in English
In order to ask who in an interrogative sentence, you need to use who, not whom. However, when using whom in other parts of speech—as a relative pronoun or object of a preposition—it is often acceptable to use whom instead of who. To be safe, though, stick with who unless you know you’re correct in your usage. An exception is formal writing and legal documents.
English questions with when
The simplest way to ask a question in English is by using ‘when’, but be careful not to overuse it. It is not possible for every sentence with ‘when’ as its subject to be used as a question. For example, ‘When will you come?’ and ‘When did he arrive?’ are both questions; however, ‘When you came here yesterday was fine’ and ‘When do you leave?’ are not questions.
English questions with why
Why do we have to go there? Why are you so angry? Why do we need new desks? Are there any particular reasons why you don’t want a promotion at work? It is more common than not that when you ask someone why they will give you some sort of answer that explains their motivation or reasoning. To be clear, asking why is not always appropriate. But in many situations it will elicit important information from your friend, teacher, colleague or acquaintance.
Questions in English with do and does
Do is used when we ask questions about action. Does is used when we ask questions about things and people. Here are some examples: I read books, but my sister reads magazines. Do you read books? (action) She drinks orange juice, but I drink tea. Does she drink orange juice? (things) He is tall, but his brother is not so tall. Is he tall? (people)
Questions in the past tense in English
Regular questions are formed by adding a question mark (?) at the end. You will also need an auxiliary verb to answer them, most commonly ‘do’. Here are some examples: What did you do yesterday? Where did you go? Why did you leave so early? Regular questions are pretty easy.
It’s not just about grammatical knowledge—it’s also about interviewing skills. In any job interview, there are going to be questions asked that you will have heard before (questions about your strengths and weaknesses, for example). To perform well in an interview, you need to not only come up with original answers but present them in a clear and confident manner. Practice basic questions like tell me about yourself with a friend or family member beforehand, until it feels easy.
100 questions in English and Spanish
I’m going to teach you how to ask basic questions in both English and Spanish. It might sound silly, but learning how to form these questions will help you immensely in your language-learning journey. These questions are part of a special category called wh-questions (pronounced wh). Yes, it’s named after a sound we make. Don’t worry; I won’t make you say that sound again!
second part of the list
How do you start a sentence? We can use either what or how. However, these two words are commonly interchangeable and we often see both used in everyday speech. If we want to show more interest, we can use how; if not, we’ll use what. We can also form questions using a question word such as who, when, where or why – as in Where do you live? All of these techniques add variety and spice up our speech! But which one should you choose?