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Present Tense Question Words + Be Verbs

We can also make questions with question words. The question words are who, what, where, when, why, and how.
  • "Who" asks about a person.
  • "What" asks about a thing.
  • "Where" asks about a place.
  • "When" asks about a time.
  • "Why" asks about a reason.
  • "How" asks about a condition or state.
Note: "How" can have other meanings, but in this lesson, we will only look at "how" with the verb "to be".

To make a question word with one of these words, just use the following patterns.

Question Word + be verb + noun?
  • What is it?
  • Who is he?
  • When is the show?
Remember that the verb "to be" changes in English depending on the subject. In these questions, it changes based on the noun at the end of the sentence. Look at a few examples.
  • What is his name?
  • What are their names?

  • What is it?
  • What are they?

  • Where is the book?
  • Where are the books?

  • How are you?
  • How is he?
  • How is Tina?
  • How are Chris and Jim?

  • How is the pizza?
  • How are the chips?
"Why" questions follow this pattern. The "be verb" changes depending on the subject.

Why + be verb + subject + noun/adjective?
  • Why are you tired?
  • Why is he a manager?
  • Why are they happy?
  • Why is he happy?
  • Why is Mark sad?
You can also make questions with "which + noun" and "what + noun".

What + noun + be verb + adjective?

The "be verb" changes depending on the noun.
  • What food is spicy here?
  • What movie is good?
  • What car is fast?
  • What snacks are delicious?
  • What animals are deadly?
  • What time is it?
  • What day is it?
  • What book is that?
  • What TV is this?
Which + noun + is + adjective/noun(s)?

Use "which" when you want a person to pick one among a group. When "which" is used in this kind of question, it is also used with "is" because we are asking the person to pick one thing.
  • Which movie is good for kids?
  • Which one of these books is good for you?
  • Which country in Europe is your favorite?
  • Which car is your car?
Here are some examples of how to answer these questions.

A) Who is he?
B) He is my brother.

A) What is your name?
B) My name is Jacob.

A) Where is their company?
B) Their company is downtown.

A) When is the concert?
B) The concert is tomorrow.

A) Why is it wet?
B) It is wet because it is rainy.

A) How is the food?
B) It is great.

Example Questions
  • Who is she?
  • Who is your boss?
  • Who is the leader?
  • Who is the best player?
  • Who is the manager?

  • What is your name?
  • What is her name?
  • What is his job?
  • What is smelly?
  • What is it?

  • Where are you now?
  • Where is our car?
  • Where is the store?
  • Where is the restroom?
  • Where is my family?

  • When is the game?
  • When is the meeting?
  • When is the concert?
  • When is your birthday?
  • When is her wedding?

  • Why is it good?
  • Why is it cold?
  • Why are you tired?
  • Why is she angry?
  • Why are they happy?

  • How are you today?
  • How is she these days?
  • How is your new car?
  • How is that book?
  • How is the weather today?

  • What book is yours?
  • What sport is that?
  • What city are you from?
  • What time is it in Tokyo right now?
  • What day is your birthday?

  • Which coat is yours?
  • Which bag is mine?
  • Which car is his?
  • Which house is Carl's house?
  • Which one is cheap?
English Conversation 1

A) How is your new job?
B) It is pretty good. My boss is a little annoying.
A) Why is your boss annoying?
B) He is very talkative. He is never quiet.

English Conversation 2

A) What is your name?
B) I'm James. And you?
A) I'm Tina. What is your job, James?
B) I am an engineer at a car company.
A) Where is your company?
B) My company is in Korea. I am here on vacation.

Learn to speak better English and improve your English grammar by simply doing this basic practice exercise. First, complete the questions with your own answers, and then practice making your own questions. Finally, try using this grammar in real life.

Tip: Say the questions aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your pronunciation and fluency.

What is _______________?
What are _______________?
Where is _______________?
Where are _______________?
Who is _______________?
Who are _______________?
When is _______________?
When are _______________?
How is _______________?
How are _______________?
What book is _______________?
What countries are _______________?
What day is _______________?

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