Unit 11.1

Wh- Questions


Wh- questions always begin with one of the wh- question words (interrogative pronouns), which show what kind of information is wanted.

It is very important to place an auxiliary or a modal verb after a wh- question word and before a subject.

The structure of wh- questions is:
Wh- question word + auxiliary/modal verb + subject + verb + …?

The wh- question words are: whatwhenwherewhichwhowhomwhosewhy and how.

  1. What can I do now?
  2. When does she need to wear glasses?
  3. Where did you live 10 years ago?
  4. Which synagogue is yours?
  5. Who listened carefully?
  6. Whom did he call?
  7. Whose lawyer is this?
  8. Why have you got Christian hereditary?
  9. How old were you when you became religious?

We use wh- words when we make questions.

The most common are:

  1. What (to ask for information about something);
  2. When (to ask for information about time);
  3. Where (to ask for information about place);
  4. Which (to ask for information about a preference between two or more things);
  5. Who (to ask for information about people, as a subject);
  6. Whom (to ask for information about people, as an object);
  7. Whose (to ask for information about who something belongs to);
  8. Why (to ask for a reason);
  9. How* (to ask for information about the way something is done, the way something happens).

These questions are also called open questions because the possible answers to them are infinite.

*How does not start with wh-, but it is also considered to be a wh- question.

Wh-questions start with one of the wh- question words: what, when, where, which, who, whom, whose, why and how.

The structure is: When we form a wh- question, we start with the wh- question word followed by the auxiliar or modal verb followed by the subject and the verb (the sentence ends with a question mark).

For example:
— “Where is the toilet?” = Where introduces an open question, because you can give an infinite number of answers.
♦ “Is there a toilet?” = Yes/no questions require short answers followed by yes or no, they are also called closed questions.

NOTE: An auxiliary (be/have) or a modal verb (can/could/would) must be placed after a wh- question and before a subject.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.


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