Ever Heard of 5 Ws and 1 H Questions?

Questions may be close-ended or open-ended. Close-ended questions are only answered by Yes or No, which give a very limited information. To acquire a lot of elaborate details, open-ended questions serve very usefully. These are the WH-Questions, also known as Information Questions.

5 Ws and 1 H

These are the big 6 of information questions. Each one elicits details of a particular area.

Who

  • The answer is a human or a character given with human attributes.

What

  • The answer is non-human, be it a living thing, inanimate, or abstract.

Where

  • The answer is a location or condition.

When

  • The answer is a time or an occasion.

Why

The answer is a reason.

How

  • The answer tells about manner, means, or degree.

Furthermore, there are other wh-questions that answer a separate area of details.

Which?

  • The answer is one of the provided group, classification, or category.

Also, a variety of information can be deduced from derivatives of How questions.

Whom?

  • The answer is the receiver of the action.

 How much?

  • The answer will be connected with an uncountable noun.

How many?

  • The answer will be connected with a countable noun.

How often?

  • The answer will indicate frequency.

Deconstructing the WH-Questions

Observe the following sentence below:

King Edward threw a grand party for his sister, Princess Lucy, when she arrived at Cair Paravel palace.

Who threw a party for his sister?

King Edward

For whom Edward threw a party?

Princess Lucy

What did King Edward do for his sister?

Threw a party

What kind of party did King Edward throw for his sister?

A grand party

When did King Edward throw for his sister?

When she came back to Cair Paravel palace

Where did Lucy arrive?

Cair Paravel palace.

Formulating the 5W1H Questions

If the subject of the sentence answers who, what, or which, the question follows the normal order of the statement.

  • Sentence: Baguio is beautiful.
  • Question: What is beautiful?
  • Sentence: The spiky fruit stinks.
  • Question: Which fruit stinks?

  • Sentence: My mom invited my best friend on her birthday.
  • Question: Who invited my best friend on her birthday?

If whom/who, what and which represent direct objects, the question starts with these wh-words and followed by do, does, or did.

  • Statement: He buried the treasure.
  • Question: What did he bury?
  • Statement: The teacher scolds the tardy student.
  • Question: Who (Whom) does the teacher scold?
  • Statement: The ladies admire the newly-released heels.
  • Question: Which heels do the ladies admire?

A modal (e.g., can) cannot be substituted by do, does, or did, but the do-verb takes place of the main verb.

  • Statement: My parrot can sing.
  • Question: What can my parrot do?

Uses of 5W1H Questions

Some common wh-questions are useful for socialization.

  • Introductions: How do you do?
  • Greetings: How are you?/ How have you been?/What’s up?/ What’s new?
  • Asking for opinions: How was the movie?/How about you?/ What do you think?
  • Suggestions: Why don’t you make a research? How about a date?
  • Response to a suggestion: Why not?
  • Exasperation: What now?
  • Challenging an opinion: What for?/ How come?/ Since when?
  • Confusion: What to do?
  • Clarification: What about it?

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