A question is asked either to seek information or to expect an affirmation or negation (yes or no) on a matter. In each of the cases, the structure of questions varies depending on the function they perform.
Hence questions are of two types: Yes-No Questions, and Wh Questions
These questions are framed differently based on different types of sentences.
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Sentences with an auxiliary verb: If a sentence that turns into an affirmative or negative answer contains an auxiliary verb.
Example: Will they report the accident? Yes, They will report the accident.
(Subject: they; Auxiliary Verb: Will; Answer: Yes)
Sentences without an auxiliary verb: If the auxiliary verb is absent in the sentence, Verbs do, does or did are used before the subject and the original order of the sentence is maintained.
- Did you learn this lesson at school? Yes. I learned this lesson at school.
In such cases, the verbs do, does or did become the question words and do not need an additional Question word before them.
What are WH Questions?
When making a question to ask for information, the auxiliary verb is brought forward in the sentence and a question word is added before it. Such questions are also known as ‘Wh’ questions. They cannot be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
What are Wh-words?
Questions seeking information begin with words such as Who, Whom, Whose, Which, What, Why, When, Where, How, etc, start with ‘Wh’ and they are called Wh-words.
Exception: The word ‘How’ starts with ‘H’ and ends with ‘W’ but it is also called a Wh-word.
Sentence Structure of a WH Question
Structure: (Question word + Auxiliary Verb + Main Verb + Object) / (Question word + Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb)
- Who prepared the breakfast?
- Whose is this book?
- How are you?
- What do you want?
- What does the girl look like?
Wh Questions with prepositions
When asking for information regarding some location or position, the placement of the preposition determines the formality of the question. (Note: This is not a hard and fast rule.)
Formal Wh Questions with prepositions
Generally, if the preposition is placed just before the question word, it makes the sentence suitable for a formal conversation of inquiry.
- To whom did the girl speak?
- For how many friends did you order?
- From where was the shot fired?
Informal Wh Questions with prepositions
If the preposition is placed at the end of the question statement, it makes the statement acceptable for a casual conversation, although it may not always be grammatically correct.
- Whom did the girl speak to?
- How many friends did you order for?
- Where was the shot fired from?
Yes-No Questions Vs WH Questions
|Statement||Yes-No Questions||WH Questions|
|I do my work.||Do I do?||What do I do?|
|We do our work.||Do we do?||What do we do?|
|You do your work.||Do you do?||What do you do?|
|He does his work.||Does he do?||What does he do?|
|She does her work.||Does she do?||What does she do?|
|They do their work.||Do they do?||What do they do?|
|They did their work.||Did they do?||What did they do?|
|It is done easily at night.||Is it done?||When/How is it done?|
|It was done easily in the evening.||Was it done?||When/How was it done?|
WH Questions Using ‘WHO’
Statement: Tom Hanks played the role of Forrest Gump in the movie.
Question: Who played Forrest Gump in the movie?
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Statement: Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist.
Question: Who was a German-born theoretical physicist?
Statement: Beyoncé is a popular singer and actress.
Question: Who is a popular singer and actress?
Statement: J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter book series.
Question: Who is the author of the Harry Potter book series?
Statement: Serena Williams is a professional tennis player.
Question: Who is a professional tennis player?
Statement: Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician.
Question: Who was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician?
Statement: Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.
Question: Who is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla?
Statement: Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist.
Question: Who was a Polish-born physicist and chemist?
Statement: William Shakespeare was an English playwright and poet.
Question: Who was an English playwright and poet?
Statement: Oprah Winfrey is a media executive, talk show host, and philanthropist.
Question: Who is a media executive, talk show host, and philanthropist?
WH Questions Using ‘WHOM’
Statement: She gave the gift to her sister.
Question: To whom did she give the gift?
Statement: The teacher called on the student in the back row.
Question: Whom did the teacher call on in the back row?
Statement: They hired a new manager last week.
Question: Whom did they hire last week?
Statement: The company awarded the contract to the lowest bidder.
Question: To whom did the company award the contract?
Statement: The boss asked the employee for a progress report.
Question: To whom did the boss ask for a progress report?
Statement: The police officer arrested the suspect.
Question: Whom did the police officer arrest?
Statement: The committee elected John as its new chairman.
Question: Whom did the committee elect as its new chairman?
Statement: The doctor prescribed the medication to the patient.
Question: To whom did the doctor prescribe the medication?
Statement: The customer returned the defective product to the store.
Question: To whom did the customer return the defective product?
Statement: The party guests gave a gift to the host.
Question: Who did the party guests give a gift to?
WH Questions Using ‘WHAT’
Statement: A bicycle is a vehicle with two wheels.
Question: What is a bicycle?
Statement: The capital of France is Paris.
Question: What is the capital of France?
Statement: A triangle is a shape with three sides.
Question: What is a triangle?
Statement: A cell phone is a handheld electronic device used for communication.
Question: What is a cell phone?
Statement: Oxygen is a colourless, odourless gas that is essential for life.
Question: What is oxygen?
Statement: A virus is a tiny infectious agent that can replicate only inside the cells of living organisms.
Question: What is a virus?
Statement: Soccer is a sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players.
Question: What is soccer?
Statement: The Declaration of Independence is a document that declared the United States’ independence from Great Britain in 1776.
Question: What is the Declaration of Independence?
Statement: A microscope is an instrument used to observe objects that are too small to be seen by the naked eye.
Question: What is a microscope?
Statement: Chocolate is a sweet food made from roasted and ground cacao beans.
Question: What is chocolate?
WH Questions Using ‘WHICH’
Statement: The book on the table, which has a blue cover, is mine.
Question: Which book on the table is yours, and what colour is its cover?
Statement: The restaurant, which serves Italian cuisine, is always crowded.
Question: Which restaurant is always crowded, and what kind of cuisine does it serve?
Statement: The car, which was parked outside, is no longer there.
Question: Which car was parked outside, and where is it now?
Statement: The building, which was built in the 19th century, is a historical landmark.
Question: Which building is a historical landmark, and when was it built?
Statement: The movie, which was directed by Steven Spielberg, won several awards.
Question: Which movie won several awards, and who directed it?
Statement: The dress, which was made of silk, looked stunning on her.
Question: Which dress looked stunning on her, and what was it made of?
Statement: The dog, which is a golden retriever, is very friendly.
Question: Which dog is very friendly, and what breed is it?
Statement: The song, which was released last year, topped the charts.
Question: Which song topped the charts, and when was it released?
Statement: The plant, which needs plenty of sunlight, should be placed near a window.
Question: Which plant needs plenty of sunlight, and where should it be placed?
Statement: The laptop, which has a touch screen, is more expensive than the regular one.
Question: Which laptop is more expensive, and what feature does it have that the regular one does not?
WH Questions Using ‘WHY’
Statement: I’m tired because I stayed up late last night.
Question: Why are you tired?
Statement: The cake didn’t turn out well because I forgot to add sugar.
Question: Why didn’t the cake turn out well?
Statement: He missed the bus because he overslept.
Question: Why did he miss the bus?
Statement: She got a promotion because she worked hard and showed dedication.
Question: Why did she get a promotion?
Statement: The store was closed because it was a national holiday.
Question: Why was the store closed?
Statement: I’m happy because I got good news today.
Question: Why are you happy?
Statement: He was late to the meeting because of heavy traffic.
Question: Why was he late to the meeting?
Statement: She’s upset because she lost her wallet.
Question: Why is she upset?
Statement: The project failed because of poor planning and execution.
Question: Why did the project fail?
Statement: He’s on a diet because he wants to lose weight.
Question: Why is he on a diet?
WH Questions Using ‘WHEN’
Statement: The party is tomorrow night.
Question: When is the party?
Statement: The train will arrive at 6 pm.
Question: When will the train arrive?
Statement: She started working at the company last year.
Question: When did she start working at the company?
Statement: They got married in June.
Question: When did they get married?
Statement: The concert starts at 8 pm.
Question: When does the concert start?
Statement: He will be back from vacation next week.
Question: When will he be back from vacation?
Statement: The museum is closed on Mondays.
Question: When is the museum closed?
Statement: The store opens at 9 am.
Question: When does the store open?
Statement: She will finish her project by Friday.
Question: When will she finish her project?
Statement: They met in college.
Question: When did they meet?
WH Questions Using ‘WHERE’
Statement: The party is at John’s house.
Question: Where is the party?
Statement: The library is on Main Street.
Question: Where is the library located?
Statement: She left her phone at the restaurant.
Question: Where did she leave her phone?
Statement: The hotel is near the beach.
Question: Where is the hotel located?
Statement: The keys are on the table.
Question: Where are the keys?
Statement: He works in the city centre.
Question: Where does he work?
Statement: The park is across the street.
Question: Where is the park located?
Statement: The store is next to the bank.
Question: Where is the store located in relation to the bank?
Statement: The restaurant is on the corner of Elm Street and Main Street.
Question: Where is the restaurant located?
Statement: The concert is at the arena.
Question: Where is the concert being held?
WH Questions Using ‘HOW’
Statement: She learned to play the piano by taking lessons.
Question: How did she learn to play the piano?
Statement: The cake was made from scratch.
Question: How was the cake made?
Statement: He won the race by training hard and staying focused.
Question: How did he win the race?
Statement: The company saved money by implementing cost-cutting measures.
Question: How did the company save money?
Statement: She improved her fitness by going to the gym regularly.
Question: How did she improve her fitness?
Statement: He fixed the broken faucet by replacing the washer.
Question: How did he fix the broken faucet?
Statement: The team won the game by playing well and working together.
Question: How did the team win the game?
Statement: She learned Spanish by studying every day.
Question: How did she learn Spanish?
Statement: The car was repaired by a mechanic.
Question: How was the car repaired?
Statement: He finished the project by working overtime.
Question: How did he finish the project?
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