The 5 W’s (and How)

The 5 W’s (and How)

Learning how to use the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why) and How is crucial to learning to speak English naturally.


WHO

Question: Who is speaking?
Long Answer: Kim is speaking.
Short Answer: Kim is.
Notice the word order: Subject + Verb

*****

Question: Who moved my books?
Long Answer: Kim moved your books.
Short Answer: Kim did.
Notice the word order: Subject + Verb + Object

*****

Question: Who moved my books over there?
Long Answer: Kim moved your books over there.
Short Answer: Kim did.
Notice the word order: Subject + Verb + Object + Additional Information (over there)


WHAT

Question:  What is that?
Long Answer:  It is a cup. (It’s a cup.)
Long Answer: That is a cup. (That’s a cup.)
Short Answer: A cup.

 

Question:  What are those?
Long Answer: Those are my car keys.
Short Answer: My car keys.


WHEN

Question:  When did you graduate?
Long Answer: I graduated two years ago.
Short Answer: Two years ago.


WHERE

Question:  Where did you buy your bookbag?
Long Answer: I bought it at the mall.
Short Answer: At the mall.


WHY

Question:  Why did you buy this house?
Long Answer: I bought it because it is beautiful.
Short Answer: Because it is beautiful.


HOW

Question: How was the movie?
Long Answer: It was a lot of fun.
Short Answer: Fun.
(Please note that giving a short answer to a “how” question can be perceived as rude in some circumstances.)

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