5 Types of Questions in English

In this lecture, we focus on 5 types of questions in English. 

When we are learning the English language, it is important to remember that we’re learning it for a reason to communicate with people.

And one of the best ways to communicate with people and improve your English speaking skills is to ask questions.

Particularly if we are in a city for the first time and we’re looking for directions. Or we’re looking for some additional information. Or even if we’re making small talk with people.

We want to know:

  1. how to format the questions
  2. what way we can ask them so we can get the maximum amount of information

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Types of Questions in English

So during this particular session we’re going to look at how to ask questions in English in a lot more detail.

There are 5 types of questions in Englishh that we want to look at.

We’re going to split it into two particular sessions.

Session one of the English Grammar Refresher Course:

1️⃣ Short or closed questions

These are questions that require YES or NO response.

  • Do you like ice cream?
  • Do you live here?

2️⃣ Open or long questions

And when we want to ask a long question, it’s usually because we want to get some or more information.

And we’re using words like what, where, when, how, why, and who.

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Types of Questions in English

Session two of the English Grammar Refresher Course:

3️⃣ Tag questions 

We’ll look at how we format those.

4️⃣ Direct questions

Where is the train station?

5️⃣ Indirect questions

Could you tell me where the train station is?

Let’s start with short or closed questions.

These questions are quite simple in the way that they are asked and the way they are set up.

But it is important at the beginning to know how to format them.

StatementIt is snowing outside.

Closed questionIs it snowing outside?

When we ask the question, we reverse the word order.

When we’re asking short or closed questions, we usually use auxiliary or helping verbs:

Have you any money?

Do you live here?

Is it snowing?

Are they coming?

23 Auxiliary Verbs in English

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When we’re asking questions we can ask them in the Present Simple or in the Past Simple:




Present Simple

When the main verb is in the Present Simple, we form the question with the auxiliary verb DO or DOES

Do you like rock ‘n’ roll music?

Past Simple

When the main verb is in the Past Simple, we form the question with the auxiliary verb DID

Present Simple

Types of Questions in English

⚠️Remember, when we are asking these short questions, it’s usually for a reason.

And the reason is usually that we want to avoid repetition of the question that has been asked.

QuestionIs it snowing outside?

No, it isn’t snowing outside.

No, it’s not.

But if you want to get any information, or you want to have some small talk before a meeting, it would be best to avoid short closed questions.

And that’s why we will then look at long or open questions.

So when we are using long and open questions, we often use the WH words:

who, what, where, when, why, how

  • Where do you come from?
  • What did you have for breakfast?
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have?
  • When did you arrive here?
  • Why did you buy this dog?
  • When did you get a new car?

So you’re using these open questions to get more information.

Open questions are much more likely to get you a good response.

They are also really very important for  some small talk before lunch, before a meeting on a train, even on a plane or in the airport. 

So that’s the end of our first session on 5 types of questions in English

Don’t forget to look at the quizzes and the exercises that we have put in place here.

And then in the next session, we are going to look specifically at the other type of questions, namely a tag questions and direct and indirect questions. So we look forward to seeing you in the next session of our English Grammar Refresher Course.

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More Information

Intermediate English learners! Here is your chance to master English Grammar Tenses so you can speak English fluently and with confidence, sign up for 3 hour English Grammar Rules Refresher Course. Click on the link to read more and enrol.

For more information in English Expressions, English Phrasal Verbs and English Grammar Rules, check ou the following links:

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