question words

WH Question Words

We use question words to ask certain types of questions (question word questions).

We often refer to these words as WH words because they include the letters WH (for example WHy, HoW).

question word function example sentence
what asking for information about something What is your name?
asking for repetition or confirmation What? I can't hear you.
You did what?
what...for asking for a reason, asking why What did you do that for?
when asking about time When did he leave?
where asking in or at what place or position Where do they live?
which asking about choice Which colour do you want?
who asking what or which person or people (subject) Who opened the door?
whom asking what or which person or people (object) Whom did you see?
whose asking about ownership Whose are these keys?
Whose turn is it?
why asking for reason, asking what...for Why do you say that?
why don't making a suggestion Why don't I help you?
how asking about manner How does this work?
asking about condition or quality How was your exam?
how + adj/adv asking about extent or degree see examples below
how far distance How far is Pattaya from Bangkok?
how long length (time or space) How long will it take?
how many quantity (countable) How many cars are there?
how much quantity (uncountable) How much money do you have?
how old age How old are you?
how come (informal) asking for reason, asking why How come I can't see her?
Josef Essberger, founder Contributor: Josef Essberger, founder of Originally from London, England, Josef is the author of several books for learners of English including English Prepositions List and Learn English in 7.

Reference and Further Reading

  • Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar 2014 Oxford University Press
  • The Penguin Dictionary of English Grammar R.L.Trask 2005 Penguin Books
  • Practical English Usage Michael Swan 2005 Oxford University Press