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Information Questions (#1), by Dennis Oliver

 

 Information Questions (#1)

 

The answers for simple questions in English are "Yes,"
"No," or "I don't know" (or its equivalent). The answers
for information questions are varied--because they are
used to ask about specific kinds of information.

Information questions are also called "Wh-" questions
because many of the words that are used to ask this
type of question begin with Wh-.

 

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Information Questions:
Common Question Words
 

Use this question word   to ask about
       
  Who*   people (names and
other identifying
information) used
as
subjects*
       
  Whom*   people (names and
other identifying
information) used
as
objects*
       
  What   things (subject
or object)
       
  Whose*
( + noun)
  ownership
       
  Where   locations (places)
       
  When   time (general)
       
  What time   time (specific)
       
  What . . . do   actions (verbs)
       
  Why*   reasons
       
  What
( + noun)
  one part of a group
(when all of the parts
are not known)
       
  Which
( + noun)
  one part of a group
(when the parts
are known)
       
  What kind of
( + noun)
  descriptive names
for categories
       
  What color   colors
       
  How   manner; methods
       
  How many
( + noun)
  number (used with
countable nouns)
       
  How much
( + noun)
  quantity (used with
uncountable nouns)
       
  How long*   duration (periods
of time); length
       
  How far*   distance
       
  How old   age
       
  How ( + adjective
or adverb)
  degree or extent

____________________________________________

 

Special Notes

 

1.   In careful writing and speaking, who is used
for
subjects and whom is used for objects,
but in "relaxed" (casual) speech,
who is
often used for
both subjects and objects.
The difference in meaning is clear, however,
because the grammar for subject and object
questions is different (to be treated later).
     
2.   Whose (for ownership) sounds the same as
Who's ( = Who is or Who has), but their
meanings are quite different.
     
3.  

Two idiomatic "Why" questions are very
commonly heard in everyday conversation:
How come? and What for?

How come does not use question grammar:
it's followed by a statement.

What for can be used alone or with What
at the beginning and
for at the end. Except for
this requirement, it uses question grammar.

     
4.  

How far is normally used in this way:

How far is it . . . . .?

     
5.  

How is also common with adjectives used
in
measurements:

How tall / How heavy / How long (length) /
How wide / How big, etc.

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