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Getting Smarter through Language

Question Words Who, What, When, and Where

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Lesson objectives: Learn question words in English.

Goals: Learn how to ask questions using question words to refer to people, places, things, times, choices, manner or process, possession, and so on.

Prerequisite: Lesson requires a basic understanding of the verb to be in the present.

Level

 basic

Who?

“Who” asks for specific information about people. For example, there are two people in the following sentence: “Pedro” and “my brother.”

Pedro is my brother.

You can ask two questions using who:

Who is Pedro? — My bother.

Who is your brother? — Pedro.

  • Examples using “Who” to ask about people
  • Who is coming to the party?
  • Who is the president of the United States?
  • Who wants pizza tonight?
  • Who is that man? — Roberto’s father.

What?

“What” asks for specific information about things, ideas, or actions. For example, there is one “thing” in the following sentence: “my computer.”

My computer is in my office.

You can ask this questions using what:

What is in your office? — My computer.

  • Examples using “What” to ask about things
  • What is in the box? — A present for you.
  • What is in the cup? — Coffee.
  • What is that? — Roberto’s retractable knife.
  • Examples using “What” to ask about ideas
  • What is a retractable knife? — It’s a tool used for cutting.
  • What are “oxidizers?” — They’re a kind of chemical.
  • What are you saying? — I’m saying that I love you...

  • Examples using “What” to ask about actions
  • What are you doing? — I’m studying English.
  • What is happening? — The president is speaking on television.

When?

“When” asks for specific information about the time. For example, there is one time in the following sentence: “on Monday.”

The party is on Monday.

You can ask this questions using when:

When is the party? — On Monday.

  • Examples using “When” to ask about the time
  • When are we leaving? — Tomorrow.
  • When is the concert? — August 15.
  • When is a good time to talk to you? — Tuesday afternoon.

Where?

“Where” asks for specific information about a place or location. For example, there are two one time in the following sentence: “in my office.”

My laptop is in my office.

You can ask this question using where:

Where is your computer? — It’s in my office.

  • Examples using “Where” to ask about the place or location
  • Where is Denmark? — In Europe.
  • Where is the concert? — It’s in Los Angeles.
  • Where are your parents? — They're at home.

Practice

Complete this exercise to practice who, what, when, and where.

Other Lessons on Question Words

This list of lessons includes many other question words.