Ask and Answer Questions - 50 Basic English Questions

Questions. John Lund DigitalVision

One of the most important tasks in speaking any language is asking questions. This article will help you learn how to ask and answer these questions to begin having conversations in English. To help you questions are divided into categories with a short explanation. There are 50 basic English questions with responses on this page. These basic questions are among the most important in English. Each question has an appropriate answer or response.

Once you understand these questions try the 50 basic English questions quiz.

Yes / No Questions vs. Information Questions

There are two main types of questions in English: (1) Yes / No questions and (2) information questions. Yes / No questions require only a simple 'yes' or 'no'. These questions are often answered with a short response.

Are you happy today?
Yes, I am.

Did you have fun at the party.
No, I didn't.

Will you come to class tomorrow?
Yes, I will. 

Notice that each of these questions are answered with the positive or negative form of the helping verb. 

Information questions are asked with the question words 'what', 'where', 'when', 'how', 'why', and 'which'. These questions require longer answers to provide the specific information requested.

Where are you from?
I'm from Seattle.

What did you do on Saturday evening?
We went to see a film.

Why was the class difficult.
The class was difficult because the teacher didn't explain things well.


Personal Information

What's your name?

Where are you from? / Where do you come from?
I'm from ... I come from ...

What's your surname / family name?

What's your first name?

What's your address?
7865 NW Sweet Street

Where do you live?
I live in San Diego.

What's your (tele)phone number?

How old are you?
Twenty-five. I'm twenty-five years old.

When / Where were you born?
I was born in 1961 / Seattle.

Are you married? / What's your marital status?
I'm single.

What do you do? / What's your job?
I'm a librarian.

Where did you go?
I went to a friend's house.

What did you do?
We played video games.

Where were you?
I was in New York for the weekend.

Have you got a car / job / house / etc.?
Yes, I've got a good job.

Have you got any children / friends / books / etc.?
Yes, I've got three children - two boys and a daughter.

Can you play tennis / golf / football / etc.?
Yes, I can play golf.

Can you speak English / French / Japanese / etc.?
No, I can't speak Japanese.

Could you speak English / French / Japanese / etc.?
when you were five / two / fifteen / etc. years old?
Yes, I could speak English when I was five years old.

Introducing Yourself / Saying Hello

How do you do?
How do you do. Pleased to meet you.

How are you?
Fine, thanks. And you?


How can I help you? / May I help you?
Yes. I'm looking for a sweater.

Can I try it on?
Sure, the changing rooms are over there.

How much does it cost? / How much is it?
It's $45.

How would you like to pay?
By credit card.

Can I pay by credit card / check / debit card?

Certainly. We accept all major cards.

Have you got something bigger / smaller / lighter / etc.?
Certainly, we've got a smaller sizes as well.

Asking Something Specific

What's that?
It's a cat!

What time is it?
It's three o'clock.

Can / May I open the window?
Certainly. It's hot in here!

Is there a bank / supermarket / pharmacy / etc. near here?
Yes. There is a bank on the next corner next to the post office.

Where is the nearest bank / supermarket / pharmacy / etc.?
The nearest pharmacy is on 15th street.

Who wrote / invented / painted / etc. the ...?
Hemingway wrote "The Sun Also Rises".

Is there any water / sugar / rice / etc.?
Yes, there's a lot of sugar left.

Are there any apples / sandwiches / books / etc.?
No, there aren't any apples left.

Is this your / his / her / etc. book / ball / house / etc.?
No, I think it's his ball.

Whose is this / that?
It's Jack's.

Questions with 'Like'

What do you like?
I like playing tennis, reading and listening to music.

What does he look like?
He's tall and slim.

What would you like?
I'd like a steak and chips.

What is it like?
It's an interesting country.

What's the weather like?
It's raining at the moment.

Would you like some coffee / tea / food?
Yes, thank you. I'd like some coffee.

Would you like something to drink / eat?
Thank you. Could I have a cup of tea?

Asking for an Opinion

What's it about?
It's about a young boy who encounters adventures.

What do you think about your job / that book / Tim / etc.?
I thought the book was very interesting.

How big / far / difficult / easy is it?
The test was very difficult!

How big / far / difficult / easy are they?
The questions were very easy.

How was it?
It was very interesting.

What are you going to do tomorrow / this evening / next week / etc.?
I'm going to visit some friends next weekend.


What shall we do this evening?
Let's go see a film.

Why don't we go out / play tennis / visit friends / etc. this evening?
Yes, that sounds like a good idea.

Once you understand these questions try the 50 basic English questions quiz.