English Question Words

Question Words Explained

Question words are used to ask about specific qualities, times, places, people, etc. They are different from yes / no questions (Do you live in France?). This chart provides question words, the use and example sentences. Study the question words, understand the uses and then look at the examples. Try to think of a few examples of your own. At the end, take the quiz on the next page testing question words.

Who

Use: Asking about people

Examples:

Who do you like?
Who studies Russian?

What

Use: Asking about things or activities

Examples:

What does he do at weekends?
What is that?

What kind of / type of

Use: Asking about specific things or characteristics

Examples:

What type of car do you drive?
What kind of person is he?

What time

Use: Asking for a specific time

Examples:

What time is it?
What time does the show begin?

What ... like

Use: Asking about characteristics

Examples:

What was the weather like?
What is Mary like?

When

Use: Asking about general or specific times

Examples:

When do you like going out?
When does the bus leave?

Where

Use: Asking about places

Examples:

Where do you live?
Where did you go on vacation?

How

Use: Combined with many words to ask questions about specific characteristics, qualities, quantities, etc. For example: How much (price, quantity), How long (length), How often (frequency)

Examples:

How often do you go to the movies?
How long was the film?
How much does it cost?

Which

Use: Asking to specify a thing or person from a number of things or people

Examples:

Which book did you buy?
Which boy won the race?

Provide the missing question word. When you have finished, check the answers on the answer page.

  • ____ is the weather like in July?
  • ____ much is the chocolate?
  • ____ did you get up this morning?
  • ____ team won the World Cup in 2002?
  • ____ does Janet live?
  • ____ food do you like?
  • ____ does it take to get to New York from Albany?
  • ____ does the movie begin this evening?
  • ____ is your favorite actor?
  • ____ house does he live in?
  • ____ is Jack like?
  • ____ does she study English with?
  • ____ do the people in your country go for vacation?
  • ____ do you play tennis?
  • ____ sports do you play?

ANSWERS to the Question Word Quiz:

  • ____ is the weather like in July? ANSWER: What
  • ____ much is the chocolate? ANSWER: How
  • ____ did you get up this morning? ANSWER: What time / When
  • ____ team won the World Cup in 2002? ANSWER: Which
  • ____ does Janet live? ANSWER: Where
  • ____ food do you like? ANSWER: What kind of / What type of
  • ____ does it take to get to New York from Albany? ANSWER: How long
  • ____ does the movie begin this evening? ANSWER: What time / when
  • ____ is your favorite actor? ANSWER: Who
  • ____ house does he live in? ANSWER: Which
  • ____ is Jack like? ANSWER: What
  • ____ does she study English with? ANSWER: Who
  • ____ do the people in your country go for vacation? ANSWER: Where
  • ____ do you play tennis? ANSWER: How often / When
  • ____ sports do you play? ANSWER: Which / How many