Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
The 5W1H are questions that are commonly used in daily conversations e.g. journalists always use the 5W1H when interviewing people. These questions allow us to understand and clarify situations.
The 5W1H is an acronym for questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
We use who when asking about a person.
- Who is your English teacher?
- Who did you hair?
- Who fixed your car?
- Who are you speaking to?
We use what when asking for specific information about something.
- What do you like to eat?
- What did you do last weekend?
- What is your favourite sport?
- What is your name?
- What is your nationality?
We use where when asking about a location or place.
- Where did you park your car?
- Where do you live?
- Where are you going?
- Where is the supermarket?
- Where do you want to go next Friday?
We use when to ask about the time something took place or will take place.
- When did you move to the UK?
- When did you pass your driving test?
- When did you first start learning English?
- When is your appointment?
- When will you finish work?
We use why when asking about the reasons something happened.
- Why did you go to the shop?
- Why don’t you like dogs?
- Why were you upset yesterday?
- Why didn’t you answer the phone?
- Why won’t you listen?
We use how when asking about the way in which something is done.
- How did you break your arm?
- How long did it take you to learn English?
- How far is the bus stop from here?
- How much does the ticket cost?
- How many bags do you have?
Now let’s look at these in an example conversation between Sandy and Kim.
Sandy: What did you do last week?
Kim: I went shopping.
Sandy: When did you go shopping?
Kim: I went on Saturday.
Sandy: Where did you go?
Kim: I went to Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
Sandy: Who did you go with?
Kim: I went with my friends.
Sandy: Why did you go there?
Kim: We were looking for clothes to buy for our holiday next week.
Sandy: How did you get there?
Kim: We got there by bus.