List of question words

Question words
Question word Asking for / about Example
What? information, type What’s your name?
What is an oak – a tree or a plant?
When? time, day, year, etc. When were you born?
When are you coming – today or tomorrow?
Why? reason Why are you so tired?
Why don’t you go to bed?
Which? choice We have fruit tea and green tea – which would you like?
Who? a person, a name Who wrote War and Peace – was it Tolstoy?
How? method, quality, condition How do you travel to work – by car?
How was the soup?
How are you today?
Whose? possession, owner Whose is this pen? Is it yours?
Whom? (formal) a person, name Whom did you see? (formal, less common)
Who did you see? (more common)

Whom is very formal and is not often used in spoken English. Most native speakers use who:

  • Whom did you see? [formal written, formal spoken English]
  • Who did you see? [standard spoken English]

Practise this grammar in an exercise

Question words / interrogative pronouns (1)

Question words / interrogative pronouns (2)