Questions using ‘what’

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How to Speak English Fluently: Questions Using ‘what’

What’ is used to ask about a subject. A subject can be a noun or a pronoun. In such questions ‘what’ can be followed by words like–‘am, is, are, was, were, have, has, had, do, does, did, can, could, will, would, shall should, may, might and must’. Some questions and responses are given below. You are advised to think of suitable responses depending on the context and situation.

Questions Using ‘what’ with ‘am’, ‘is’ and ‘are’

Q:  What am I supposed to do?
A:  You are supposed to work hard.

Q:  What is this?
A:  This is a laptop.

Q:  What is that?
A:  That is a mall.

Q:  What is your name?
A:  My name is ……………..

Q:  What is her name?
A:  Her name is Sheela.

Q:  What is she doing these days?
A:  She is learning a foreign language.

Q:  What is he reading?
A:  He is reading a nove..

Q:  What is the/your problem?
A:  I lost my pen.

Q:  What is the matter?
A:  The ATM is not working.

Q:  What is the time now?
A:  It is ten o’clock.

Q:  What is this form for?
A:  This is for withdrawing money.

Q:  What are you making?
A:  I am making a cake.

Q:  What are your working hours?
A:  Our working hours are from 9 to 5.

Q:  What are you working on?
A:  I am working on a new project.

Q:  What are we discussing about?
A:  We are discussing about the environmental issues.

Q:  What are we going to eat today?
A:  We are going to eat noodles.

Q:  What are we fighting for?
A:  We are fighting for a pay hike.

Q:  What are they demanding?
A:  They are demanding compensation.

Q:  What are they making for supper?
A:  They are making a pizza.

Q:  What are they building?
A:  They are building a mall.

Q:  What are your friends planning to do?
A:  They are planning to visit a planetarium.

Questions using ‘What’ with ‘was’ and ‘were’

Q:  What was he?
A:  He was a teacher.

Q:  What was she playing?
A:  She was playing tennis.

Q:  What was that?
A:  That was an ambulance.

Q:  What was disturbing you?
A:  The music was disturbing me.

Q:  What was he asking for?
A:  He was asking for a pen.

Q:  What were you eating?
A:  I was eating biryani.

Q:  What were they watching?
A:  They were watching the match.

Q:  What were her problems?
A:  They were related to money.

Questions using ‘What’ with ‘have, has and had

Q:  What have you done?
A:  I’m sorry. I’ve broken a glass.

Q:  What have you eaten in lunch?
A:  I have eaten rice with curry.

Q:  What have you studied?
A:  I have studied a lesson.

Q:  What has he bought?
A:  He has bought a scooter.

Q:  What has happened to him?
A:  He has broken his leg.

Q:  What has she taken with her?
A:  She has taken an umbrella with her.

Q:  What had he written?
A:  He had written a letter.

Q:  What had she stolen?
A:  She had stolen some money.

Questions using ‘What’ with ‘do’, ‘does’ and ‘did’

Q:  What do you want?
A:  I want some tea.

Q:  What do you like in sweets?
A:  I like gulab jamun.

Q:  What do you do for a living?
A:  I work as a salesman.

Q:  What does she play?
A:  She plays the quitar.

Q:  What does he teach?
A:  He teaches English.

Q:  What does it eat?
A:  It eats peanuts.

Q:  What did you do yesterday?
A:  I went to see a film yesterday.

Q:  What did your mother pack for lunch?
A:  She packed some noodles.

Q:  What did he bring with him?
A:  He brought some grapes.

Questions using ‘What’ with ‘can’ and ‘could’

Q:  What can I do for you?
A:  You can help me fill up this form.

Q:  What can I serve you, tea or coffee?
A:  I don’t mind having some tea.

Q:  What can I bring for you from Delhi?
A:  You can get me some dresses.

Q:  What can he do?
A:  He can do anything.

Q:  What can she play?
A:  She can play table tennis.

Q:  What languages can you speak?
A:  I can speak Hindi and English.

Q:  What time can you come?
A:  I can come by 11 o’clock.

Q:  What could she do?
A:  She couldn’t do anything.

Q:  What could they take with them?
A:  They couldn’t  take much with them.

Questions using ‘What’ with ‘will’ and ‘would’

Q:  What will I get from it?
A:  You will get only goodwill.

Q:  What will you do now?
A:  I will go home and rest.

Q:  What will she do if she doesn’t get a job?
A:  She will start some business.

Q:  What will they ask in the test?
A:  They’ll ask some simple questions.

Q:  What will you buy for me?
A:  I’ll buy you some chocolates.

Q:  What would he do when he was young?
A:  He would work in a factory.

Q:  What would he teach?
A:  He would teach history.

Q:  What would you like to have?
A:  I would like to have some tea.

Questions using ‘What’ with ‘shall’ and ‘should’

Q:  What shall I make for you?
A:  You can make anything you like.

Q:  What shall we do tomorrow?
A:  Let us go for a movie.

Q:  What shall I get for you from Delhi?
A:  Anything you like.

Q:  What should I tell him?
A:  You tell him the truth.

Q:  What should they do with him?
A:  They should admit him into the hospital.

 Questions using ‘What’ with ‘may’, ‘might’ and ‘must’

Q:  What may happen to him?
A:  Anything can/may happen to him.
Q:  What may I eat?
A:  You may eat everything.

Q:  What might happen next in the film?
A:  The hero might die.

Q:  What might he ask?
A:  He might ask some general questions.

Q:  What must I do?
A:  You must help him.

Q:  What must they bring?
A:  They must bring some sandwiches.

Questions can also be made with ‘what’ followed by words like–colour, size, shape, part, type, day, time, kind and so on.

Questions with What + color/size/type and so on

Q:  What colour is your dress?
A:  It is sky blue.

Q:  What size is your shoe?
A:  It is number 5.

Q:  What type of job do you want.
A:  I want to work as a technician.

Q:  What day is it today?
A:  It is Wednesday.

Q:  What time is the function?
A:  It is at 8 o’clock.

Q:  What kind of a person is he?
A:  He is a gentleman.

When one wants to ask about the quality, nature and about people, places and things one can use, What …………… like?

Q:  What is the food like in that restaurant?
A:  It is awesome.

Q:  What is Delhi like?
A: It is a wonderful city.

Q:  What does she look like?
A:  She looks very beautiful.

One type of question with ‘what’ can also be made with words ending in–with, about, in, of, on, for and so on.

Q:  What did you eat rice with?
A:  I ate rice with curry.

Q:  What are you talking about?
A:  I am talking about my problems.

Q:  What shall I keep this in?
A:  You can keep it in the fridge.

Q:  What is this made of?
A:  This is made of steel.

Q:  What shall I write on?
A:  You can write on this paper.

Q:  What is he waiting for?
A:  He is waiting for the cab.

Exercise: Write questions and answers which you may have to use in your day-to-day conversations using the above examples.

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Check the meanings of the words in English Oxford Living Dictionaries