Making Questions Lesson 2: Wh-Questions (Rules & Exercises)

English Level: Low-Intermediate, Intermediate

Language Focus: An explanation of how to form WH-questions (information questions) in English

Grammar Worksheet: asking-wh-questions-worksheet.docx (scroll down to study the exercises online)

Now that we’ve finished our first lesson on Yes/No questions, let’s review how to make Wh-Questions. These questions start with these question words:

WhoUsed to identify a person.E.g. Who is she?
WhatUsed to identify a thingE.g. What is it?
WhichUsed to tell two (or more) things apart.E.g. Which leg hurts?
WhereUsed to identify a place.E.g. Where is Vancouver?
WhenUsed to identify a time.E.g. When is your birthday?
WhyUsed to identify a reason.E.g. Why is she crying?
WhoseUsed to identify possession.E.g. Whose car is that?
What kindUsed to identify a type/kind.E.g. What kind of dog do you have?
HowUsed to explain a way/method.E.g. How did you make the cake?
How long Used to explain length or durationE.g. How long is your hair? How long was your holiday?
How far Used to identify distance.E.g. How far is your house from the station?
How much/many/little/few Used to identify quantity.E.g. How much money do you have?
How often Used to explain frequency.E.g. How often do you brush your teeth?

How do you make a question?

How do you make a question? Let me explain.

Wh-Questions are also called Information Questions because we are trying to get some specific information from another person (not just a  ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer). Read below for an explanation or jump to the exercises if you want to practice.

The Quick Explanation: Wh-Questions about Subjects or Objects

To understand how to make a question, we need to know if we are making a question about the subject or object of a sentence. To explain, look at this sentence:

John     likes        Lisa.

(subj) + verb + (object)

Now, imagine that some information is missing, so we need to ask a question.

___?__  likes Lisa.

Here, the subject is missing, so we need to use a WH-question word for subjects. These words are who and what, generally. Because we are asking about a person, we will use who.

Who likes Lisa?
(John likes Lisa.)

That’s it. We’re done! Making questions about subjects is easy. Now, let’s imagine that the object of the sentence is missing.

John likes __?__.

Here, with the object missing, we need to do two things to make a question.

  1. We have to choose the correct WH-Question word. Because we are talking about a person, we will use ‘who‘ again (Note: You can also use ‘whom’ for questions about objects).
  2. We need to add a helping verb to help us make a question. The sentence “John likes Lisa” doesn’t have a helping verb (no modal or auxiliary verb like ‘will/can/have/is’), so we will add the helping verb ‘do‘ to make the question.

So the question becomes

Who does John like?

Let me explain again and show you the steps.

  1. John likes __?__.  (We need to know the object)
  2. John likes who. (We add the Wh-question word ‘who’ because we are talking about people.)
  3. Who John likes. (We move the Wh-question word to the beginning of the sentence.)
  4. Who does John like? (We add the helping verb “do” because the sentence does not have a helping verb).

Common mistake: Who do John like? (Incorrect)

Remember to conjugate (change) the helping verb so that it agrees with the subject. ‘John’ is the third person singular, so we have to add an ‘s’ to the auxiliary verb. If you’ve added ‘s’ to the helping verb ‘do’ (does), then you don’t need to add it to the main verb.

That is the end of my quick explanation. If you understand, you can jump down to the exercises below. Otherwise, let me give you a few more examples.

In Detail: Wh-Questions about Subjects

Again, when you are asking a question about the subject, you just need to add the correct Wh-question word (who/what/which). Here are some examples:

__?__ can cook well.

-> We are asking about a person, so we will add who.

-> Who can cook well? Answer: I can cook well.

__?__ is expensive.

-> We are asking about a thing here, so we will add ‘what’.

-> What is expensive? Answer: The hotel is expensive.

__?__ has been ordered.

-> What has been ordered? Answer: The flowers have been ordered.

*Notice that we use ‘has’ and not ‘have’ here. When we ask a question about the subject and there is an auxiliary verb (has/do/be), always put the auxiliary verb in a singular form (= has (not have) or do (not does)).

In Detail: Questions about Objects

Structure: Wh-Question word + Helping Verb + Subject + Main Verb

What  do   you   like?

Answer: I like basketball.  (basketball is the object of the verb in the sentence; we are asking about the object.)

To make a question about the object of a sentence, you need a helping verb to put after the Wh-Question word. If the sentence already has a helping verb, then you can use it to make the question. For example,

Peter is doing his homework.

-> The main verb here is ‘doing’, and ‘is’ is the helping verb. If we use the above structure (Wh-Question word + Helping Verb + Subject + Main Verb), the question about the object becomes

What is Peter doing?

Here’s another example.

We can speak Italian.

-> The main verb here is ‘speak’, and ‘can’ is the helping verb. The question about the object becomes

What can we speak?

One more example.

She was washing the dishes.

-> The main verb here is ‘washing’, and ‘was’ is the helping verb. The question about the object becomes

What was she washing?

Reminder: Use ‘Do’ in Questions about the Object without a Helping Verb

Again, if there is no helping verb (auxiliary or modal) in a question about an object, then you should add ‘do’ to make the question.

I bought shoes.

-> The main verb here is bought but there is no helping verb, so to make a question we add ‘do’

What did you buy?

Notice that ‘do’ is changed to ‘did’ because the main verb ‘bought’ was in the past tense. The tense (past simple) is shown in the helping verb, not the main verb.

Note: Do Not Add ‘Do’ with only BE Verb

Do not add ‘do’ to questions about objects (actually it’s called a complement) with the BE verb. Just use the order of Wh-question word + Subject + BE verb.

She is a doctor.

-> What is she?

My birthday is tomorrow.

-> When is your birthday?

Let’s try some exercises.

Exercise #1: Wh-Questions with Helping Verbs

The underlined word is what you want to know. Make a question to match the answer.

  1. Q: ? A:  He will buy wine.
  2. Q:  ? A:  He is playing tennis.
  3. Q:  ? A:  He teaches French.
  4. Q:  ? A:  We should buy tickets.
  5. Q:  ? A:  He has visited Italy.
  6. Q:  ? A:  They are students.
  7. Q:  ? A:  She can come tomorrow.
  8. Q:  ? A:  I ate a salad.


Exercise #2: Wh-Questions about Subjects and Objects

Write the correct question to ask about the underlined word.

  1. Q:  ? A:  Donald Trump said that.
  2. Q:  ? A:  I study English.
  3. Q:  ? A:  December 25th is Christmas.
  4. Q:  ? A:  They went to a party.
  5. Q:  ? A:  My brother is coming.
  6. Q:  ? A: She called her mother.


  1. Q:  ? A: I’m going downtown tomorrow.
  2. Q:  ? A: Nobody knows the answer.
  3. Q:  ? A: The class starts at 1 p.m.
  4. Q:  ? A: Huge means very big.
  5. Q:  ? A:  She was crying because she fell down.



Exercise #3 – Focus on Whose/What kind/How/How long/How Far/Etc

Remember the following:

  • How is used in two ways: 1) To describe something’s condition or state. How is your health? (It’s good.) 2) To describe a method. How did you make the cake? 
  • Whose is used for possession. Whose website is this? (It’s mine.)
  • What kind is used to identify a type of something. What kind of movies do you like? (I like action movies.)
  • How far is used to explain distance. How far is the station from here? (2 kilometres.)
  • How long is used to explain length or the length of time. How long is the movie? (2 hours.)
  • How much is used to identify the quantity of a non-countable noun. How much time do we have? (We have 10 minutes.)
  • How many is used to identify the quantity of a countable noun. How many children are there? (There are eight children.)
  • How often is used to explain frequency. How often do you brush your teeth? (Twice a day.)

Now, try to make a question with the below answers using some of the above Wh-Question words.

  1. Q:  ? A: She has two cars.
  2. Q:  ? A: He was at the library for 3 hours.
  3. Q:  ? A: I write with my right hand.
  4. Q:  ? A: Six people live there.
  5. Q:  ? A: She called me in order to invite me.
  6. Q:  ? A: The trip takes one day.
  7. Q:  ? A: It costs three dollars.



  1. Q:  ? A: Their holiday was relaxing.
  2. Q:  ? A: She exercises twice a week.
  3. Q:  ? A: I like rock music.
  4. Q:  ? A: We can meet on Wednesday.
  5. Q:  ? A: I go to school by bus.
  6. Q:  ? A: John’s bag is on the table.
  7. Q:  ? A: He did poorly on the test.



How did you do? I hope you could understand how to form Wh-questions. If you have a question, please ask it in the comment section below. Also, if you need practice with the difference between how far and how long, please view this page.

– Matthew Barton / Creator of (copyright)

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21 comments on “Making Questions Lesson 2: Wh-Questions (Rules & Exercises)

  1. syed (Posted on 9-19-2017 at 15:18) Reply

    Is the How Long and How far is same? I am very confused about it I wrote about How long from here … but still, I am confused anyone please guide me?

      1. Momin (Posted on 4-9-2019 at 03:04) Reply

        She has some flowers in her hand. If I underline the word some then what will be the ans?

        1. mb Post author (Posted on 4-9-2019 at 03:25) Reply

          ‘Some’ is a measure of quantity, so I suppose the question would be: “How many flowers does she have in her hand?”

  2. Sanjida Sara (Posted on 4-3-2018 at 13:11) Reply

    Its an amazing site to improve your grammatical skill…

  3. Anonymous (Posted on 8-5-2018 at 10:51) Reply

    She knows that its a nice day. Make it wh question

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 8-5-2018 at 14:17) Reply

      You should use ‘Please…’; otherwise, you’ve given me a command. Please try it yourself first.

  4. rutu (Posted on 3-22-2019 at 05:08) Reply


  5. Anonymous (Posted on 10-28-2019 at 23:56) Reply

    My home district is Chattogram…
    What is the accurate WH question for this sentence?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 10-29-2019 at 00:30) Reply

      It is either “Where is your home district?” or “Which home district is yours?” if there are some options to choose from.

  6. Anonymous (Posted on 10-29-2019 at 00:45) Reply

    If any student ans “what is your home district?.. Is it right?
    For the question My home district is Chattogram(the underlined word is Chattogram)

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 10-29-2019 at 13:00) Reply

      That’s okay too.

  7. fyuyeueeh (Posted on 11-20-2019 at 09:38) Reply

    ı don like I’m looking 30 minute but I dont understant

  8. Anonymous (Posted on 1-19-2020 at 05:37) Reply


  9. Anonymous (Posted on 1-24-2020 at 19:33) Reply

    Nice I learned something from here

  10. philip (Posted on 2-3-2020 at 02:26) Reply

    “I am sleeping” .I don’t know how to make questions about this using your method system.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-3-2020 at 23:46) Reply

      Hello. In order to make the question, I need you to indicate which word (I or sleeping) contains the information the questioner wants. The question could be either ‘Who is sleeping?” or “What are you doing”? Regarding more complicated sentences, that is a good suggestion. I will consider adding some more in the future. Thanks for visiting.

  11. philip (Posted on 2-3-2020 at 02:27) Reply

    can you add some more comlipcated sentences using various tenses to make questions?

    1. Laboni (Posted on 4-10-2020 at 10:52) Reply

      He doesn’t (work) now.
      What will be accurate wh-question?

  12. random guy (Posted on 4-5-2020 at 03:58) Reply

    Why is Check answers not working?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 4-5-2020 at 12:34) Reply

      Thanks! There was a problem due to a plug-in. It has been fixed.

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