Asking the Right Questions: Understanding ‘5W and 1H’ in English Language

In English language, there are a variety of ways you can ask the right questions when the situation demands. These questions usually begin with any of the 5 Ws or 1 H, i.e., what, why, when, where, who, and how. Together, these are commonly known as WH words or question words.

WH words or question words are used to ask about specific qualities, time, places, people and so on.

Let us take a look at the WH words and how they can be used 👇🏾

1. WHAT?

WhatUsed to ask for informationWhat is going on?
What are they looking for?

2. WHY?

WhyUsed to ask for a reason
or purpose
Why was the movie banned?
Why did you leave so early?

3. WHEN?

WhenUsed to ask about the
time of action/event
When will they arrive?
When will the meeting end?


WhereUsed to ask for location
of action/event
Where is my necklace?
Where did she go?

5. WHO?

WhoUsed to ask about peopleWho is the new President?
Who told you that news?

6. HOW?

HowUsed to ask about mannerHow did you escape prison?
How will you solve the riddle?

How can we form WH questions? 🤨

1. Using auxiliary/helping verbs

WH word + auxiliary verb + subject + main verb + ?

  • Why should we read newspapers?
  • When is he leaving?

2. Without using auxiliary/helping verbs

WH word + main verb + ?

  • Who won the tournament?
  • What happened to my parcel?

Now it’s your turn to play. Try making some questions on your own from the following statements 👇🏾

  1. The banks open at 9 AM.
  2. I left after the meeting.
  3. She is my friend, Rosel.
  4. He was busy all day.
  5. I ordered a pizza for my mother.
  6. He took the train to Pillsbury.
  7. They are going to the movies tomorrow.
  8. She will help you with your problem.


  1. When do the banks open?
  2. When did you leave?
  3. Who is she?
  4. Where was he yesterday?
  5. What did you order for your mother?
  6. How did he go to Pillsbury?
  7. Why are they not coming to class tomorrow?
  8. Who will help me?

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One response to “Asking the Right Questions: Understanding ‘5W and 1H’ in English Language”

  1. […] Check out this article to understand the meaning of ‘5H and 1H’ in detail: Asking the Right Questions: Understanding ‘5W and 1H’ in English Language […]


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