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WH- questions (Question Words)

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There are two main types of questions: Yes/No questions and WH- question. WH-questions are questions starting with WH-words including: what, when, where, who, whom, which, whose, why and how.

Question words are used to ask about specific qualities, times, places, people and so on. Below is a list of question words and example sentences:

Question words

Usages

Examples

What

Used to ask about things

- What are you doing?

- What do you think about the movie?

When

Used to ask about time

- When will the meeting start?

 - When are you leaving?

Where

Used to ask about places

- Where’s my bag?

- Where do you live?

Who

Used to ask about people

- Who do you love the most in your family?

- 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.

- 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?

- Of all the drinks in the menu, which one would you like?

Whose

Used to ask about possession

- Whose pencil is this? Is it yours?

- Whose books are these?

Why

Used to ask about reasons/ causes

- Why did it happen? I didn’t understand.

- Why is he crying?

How

Used to ask about manner/ process

- How can you explain this problem? Please tell us.

- How can you get here?

I. How to form WH-questions?

1. with an auxiliary

WH-WORD + AUXILIARY + SUBJECT + MAIN VERB …?

  • Auxiliary verbs are helping verbs (not main verbs).
  • Common auxiliary verbs include be, do, have. Others are will, shall, would, can, could, must, should, may, might, etc.
  • What do you do for a living?
  • Why should we read books?
  • When is she coming?
2. without any auxiliary
(when WH-words replace subjects already)

WH-WORD + MAIN VERB …?

  • What happened to Peter?
  • check
    A bad accident happened to him today.
  • Who won the game?
  • check
    Tio won the game.
  • Who gave you this present?
  • check
    My cousin gave me this present.

II. Responding to WH-questions

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

Wh Questions Test

Choose the correct WH-question words.

1.……..  did you see earlier today?

I saw James, the new football player.

2……….. did you do last weekend?

I watched movies and played hockey.

3………… will you leave?

After the meeting.

4…………… is David?

He’s still fine. Thanks for asking.

5………….. ball is this?

It’s Nick’s.

6……………. gave you this present?

That was my boyfriend, Harry.

7……………. did he not come?

He was busy all day.

8……….. suitcase is mine?

The blue one. The other is Jane’s.

9……….. long did it take to make such a big cake?

It took 2 hours.

10………… was the weather like on Monday?

It was raining a lot.

 

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