How to Ask and Answer Basic English Questions
Yes and No Questions vs. Information Questions
There are two main types of questions in English: questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no, and questions that require a more detailed response.
Yes and No Questions
|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.|
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.Notice that each of these questions are answered with the positive or negative form of the helping verb.
|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.|
Questions With Greetings: Saying Hello
Start the conversation with a greeting. Examples include:
- How are you? (formal)
- How’s it going? (informal)
- What’s up? (informal)
- How’s life? (informal)
- Mary: What’s up?
- Jane: Nothing much. How are you?
- Mary: I’m fine.
Using Questions to Exchange Personal Information
Here are some of the most common questions used when asking for personal information:
- What’s your name?
- Where are you from?
- What’s your surname / family name?
- What’s your first name?
- Where do you live?
- What’s your address?
- What’s your telephone number?
- What’s your email address?
- How old are you?
- When / Where were you born?
- Are you married?
- What is your marital status?
- What do you do? / What’s your Job?
General questions are questions we ask to help us start a conversation or keep the conversation going. Here are some common general questions:
- Where did you go?
- What did you do [next]?
- Where were you?
- Do you have a car / house / children / etc. ?
- Can you play tennis / golf / football / etc.?
- Can you speak another language?
Using “Like” to Ask Questions
Such questionsare very common, but they can be a little confusing. Here is an explanation of each type of question with “like.”
What do you like? Use this question to ask about hobbies, likes and dislikes in general. What does he look like? Ask this question to learn about the physical characteristics of a person. What would you like? Ask this question to find out what someone wants at the moment of speaking. What is she like? Ask this question to learn about a person’s character.
John: What do you like doing in your spare time?
Susan: I like hanging out downtown with my friends.
John: What does your friend Tom look like?
Susan: He’s tall with a beard and blue eyes.
John: What is he like?
Susan: He’s very friendly and really intelligent.
John: What would you like to do now?
Susan: Let’s go hang out with Tom!