WH Questions Words: 8 Basic Question Words with Definition & Useful Examples

Wh question words are an essential part of the English language, used to ask questions about specific qualities, times, places, people, and more. These words are called wh- words because they all contain the letters “wh,” such as what, where, who, whom, which, whose, why, and how. By using these question words, English speakers can gather information and learn more about the world around them.

One way to form wh- questions is by using an auxiliary verb, such as be, do, or have, along with the subject and main verb. For example, “What is your name?” or “Where do you live?” Another way is to use a modal verb, like can, could, may, or might, along with the subject and main verb. For instance, “How can I help you?” or “Who could have done this?”

Learning how to use wh- question words correctly is crucial for effective communication in English. Whether you’re asking for information, making a suggestion, or confirming something, using the right wh- word and sentence structure can help you get your point across clearly and confidently.

Understanding Wh Questions Words

Definition and Importance

Wh-questions are a type of question that starts with a word that begins with “wh.” These question words are used to ask questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer. The importance of wh-questions lies in their ability to help us gather more detailed information about a topic or situation.

Wh-questions can be used in a variety of contexts, including everyday conversation, job interviews, and academic research. In English, there are seven primary wh-words: what, where, when, who, why, which, and how. Each of these words is used to ask a different type of question.

Different Types of Wh Questions Words

  1. What: Used to ask about a thing, object, or idea. For example: “What is your favorite book?”
  2. Where: Used to ask about a place or position. For example: “Where is the nearest gas station?”
  3. When: Used to ask about time or duration. For example: “When is your birthday?”
  4. Who: Used to ask about a person or people. For example: “Who is your favorite teacher?”
  5. Why: Used to ask about a reason or cause. For example: “Why did you choose that job?”
  6. Which: Used to ask about a choice or selection. For example: “Which color do you prefer?”
  7. How: Used to ask about a manner or method. For example: “How do you cook pasta?”

Wh-questions can also be used with auxiliary verbs (be, do, have, will, etc.) and main verbs to form more complex sentences. For example: “Why are you studying English?” or “What did you have for breakfast?”

In addition to the seven primary wh-words, there are also other wh-words that can be used to ask more specific questions. These include whose, whom, and what kind. It is important to use the correct wh-word in order to ask a clear and specific question.

WH Questions Words Examples

Here are the question words and their functions:


‘What’ is used when asking for information about something, as in:

  • What did you do last evening?
  • What would you like for dinner?
  • What did you say when you were caught?


‘When’ is used when asking for the time, as in:

  • When do you arrive?
  • When is the show?
  • When did that happen?


‘Where’ is used when asking for the place, as in:

  • Where do we go now?
  • Where have you kept the book?
  • Where do you go for your tuitions?


‘Who’ is used when asking for identity of person or persons, as in:

  • Who is that?
  • Who wrote Moby Dick?
  • Who called earlier?


‘Whose’ is used when asking about possession, as in:

  • Whose car is this?
  • Whose place are you staying at?
  • Whose are these shoes?


‘Which’ is used to ask about choice, as in:

  • Which flavour of ice cream would you like?
  • Which route do you think we should take?
  • Which of the two is better?


‘Why’ is used when asking for reasons, as in:

  • Why would you say something like that?
  • Why does the food smell bad?
  • Why did you not go for work today?


‘How’ is used when asking about the manner or quality or condition, as in:

  • How did you do that?
  • How was the movie?
  • How is life?

Usage and Application of Wh Questions Words

In Daily Conversations

Wh questions words are an essential part of daily conversations. They are used to ask questions to gather information, clarify doubts, and initiate discussions. The most common wh questions words used in daily conversations are what, where, who, which, when, why, how, and whose.

When using wh questions words in daily conversations, it is important to pay attention to word order, emphasis, and intonation to convey the intended meaning clearly. Repetition or confirmation can also be used to ensure that the information is correctly understood.

In English Learning

Wh questions words are also an important aspect of learning English. They are used to form wh-questions, which are questions that require a more detailed response than a simple yes or no answer. Wh-questions are formed by using an auxiliary verb (be, do, have) or a modal verb (can, could, may, might, should, would) followed by a subject and a main verb.

In English learning, wh-questions are used to practice grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. They also help learners to develop their speaking and listening skills by encouraging them to ask and respond to questions in a natural and fluent manner.

Wh Questions Words Quiz

To practice using wh-questions, here are some exercises:

  1. Fill in the blanks with the correct wh-words:
  • ___________ is your best friend?
  • ___________ did you go on vacation?
  • ___________ is your favorite food?
  • ___________ do you usually go to bed?
  • ___________ is your father’s name?
  • ___________ is the capital of Italy?
  • ___________ is the tallest mountain in the world?
  • ___________ book are you reading?
  1. Answer the following questions with a complete sentence:
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Who is your favorite actor?
  • Why do you like to travel?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • When is your next vacation?
  • How do you like your coffee?
  • Which city do you want to visit next?
  • Whose phone is ringing?

By practicing these exercises, you can improve your ability to ask and answer wh-questions.

Question Words | Infographic

Wh QuestionsPin

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of WH questions?

There are seven commonly used WH question words in English: who, what, when, where, why, which, and how. Each of these words is used to ask a specific type of question. For example, “who” is used to ask about people, while “where” is used to ask about places.

How do you form WH questions in English?

To form a WH question in English, you typically start with a WH question word, followed by an auxiliary verb (such as “do,” “does,” or “is”), the subject of the sentence, and the main verb. For example, “What did you eat for breakfast?” or “Where is the nearest gas station?”

What are some examples of WH questions?

Here are some examples of WH questions:

  • Who is your favorite author?
  • What time is the movie?
  • When is your birthday?
  • Where did you go on vacation?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • Which color do you prefer?
  • How do you make a cake?

Can you give me a WH questions quiz?

Sure! Here are a few sample questions:

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. When did you start working here?
  3. Who is your best friend?
  4. Where did you grow up?
  5. Why did you choose to study English?
  6. How do you get to work every day?
  7. Which book are you currently reading?

What are the most common WH question words?

The most common WH question words are “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” “Which” is also commonly used, but it is more specific and is used to choose between a limited number of options.

What is the importance of using WH questions in communication?

Using WH questions in communication is important because it helps to gather information, clarify understanding, and encourage conversation. By asking questions, we show interest in the other person and demonstrate that we are actively listening and engaged in the conversation. Additionally, asking questions can help to uncover new ideas and perspectives, leading to more meaningful and productive conversations.

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3 years ago

“whom” is missed

Jon Finch
Jon Finch
11 months ago
Reply to  alex

That’s just a different form of “who”

3 years ago

papa con arroz y huevo

3 years ago
Reply to  papa


3 years ago

and what is the structure of WH questions???

Maria Malik
Maria Malik
3 years ago

Good article 👍

2 years ago


Jon Finch
Jon Finch
11 months ago

Can mentalists read minds?

Does David Blaine still practice magic?

Did Harry Houdini do card tricks?

Will magicians ever wear tuxedos again?

Would you rather perform one magic trick for a hundred audiences, or a hundred magic tricks for one audience?


Last edited 11 months ago by Jon Finch
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