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Doesn't matter what language you say it in, the word: "what" means you want more information.
Hey, everyone. I'm Alex.
Thanks for clicking,
and welcome to this lesson on: "Common 'What' Questions" in English.
So, we are going to look at a bunch of questions that use the word "what".
Now, again, "what" means you're usually looking for more information.
It's one of the most common question words, which is why this lesson is important for
you guys.
Just like the other question lessons, we are going to focus on pronunciation, fluency,
What was that thing?
Pronunciation, fluency, structure.
Definitely the structure.
Very important to make sure the words are in the correct order.
Whew, I'm out of breath, guys.
Okay, let's go.
Here we go.
Number one: "What is your name/email/number/address?"
So, you can ask a person for their name, for their email, for their address, for their
phone number.
You can also say: "What's her name?", "What's his name?", "What's their address?" for example.
So, repeat after me and try to focus on quickness and fluency:
"What's your name?",
"What's her email?",
"What's his number?",
"What's their address?"
You can even ask yourself, for example, if you forget something, like: "What's my password?"
Like for your bank account, or your Facebook, or something you signed up for like many years
ago or you've had the password automatically set, you can say: "What's my password.
Wait. What's my login again?"
So, next, very common: "What's this?", "What's that?"
Many contexts.
I'm thinking of a restaurant, for example, your friend gets something that you have never
seen before and you're like: "Oh. What's that?
That looks delicious."
Or you get a meal and you didn't order it, you'll say: "What's this?"
So please repeat after me, and again, focus on quickness:
"What's this?",
"What's that?"
Very good.
And next, similar to: "What is this?", "What is that?": "What is it?"
Now, this question can be used in many different contexts.
It could be similar to: "What's this?", "What's that?", "What is it?"
It can also be a question you can ask someone if you think something is bothering, like,
your partner or your friend or somebody in your life who you care about,
and you can say: "What's wrong?"
Like: "What is it?"
So, this is a very common question if you want to ask a person you care about, you know,
if something is wrong and what you can do to help.
Like: "What is it?
What's wrong?" Okay?
Next, very common: "What are you doing?"
Now: "What are you doing?" present continuous question can mean:
"What are you doing now?"
Like, you're talking on the phone:
"Hey. What are you doing?
Oh, you're busy?
Okay. Can I call you later?
Yeah, sure? Okay."
You can also use this to talk about the future, like: "What are you doing later?",
"What are you doing tonight?",
"Hey. What are you doing tomorrow?",
"What are you doing this weekend?" for example.
So, it just asking...
You know, it is just asking a person what they are doing in the moment or their plans
for later as well.
All right?
So repeat after me: "What are you doing?"
Very good.
All right, the next three, I'm going to talk about these in the context of asking a person,
you know, like what is new in their life or what is going on, what's happening, what's up.
Those three questions precisely.
So: "What's going on?" or: "What's happening?", "What's up?"
The context I'm thinking of, you're seeing a friend you haven't seen for a while
and you can say: "Hey. What's up?"
or: "Hey. What's happening?",
"Hey. What's going on?"
These questions just ask and they mean, like: "What is new in your life?"
Now, a very common mistake that people make with: "What's up?" specifically new English
speakers is they think that: "What's up?" means: "How are you?"
"What's up?" is not: "How are you?"
So sometimes I hear...
I say: "Hey. What's up?" and a student will say: "Good. You?"
That's not how you answer: "What's up?"
The most common answers for: "What's up?" are: "Not much."
or "Nothing new."
"Nothing much.", "Not much.", "Nothing new is happening."
So, same with: "What's going on?", "What's happening?"
you can say: "Ah, not much.
The same old thing.
You know?"
So: "What's going on?", "What's happening?", "What's up?" you can use these like a greeting.
Now: "What's going on?" and "What's happening?" can also be used when you enter a situation
and you see people everywhere or something has just happened, and you want to know, like:
"What is the situation here?"
So you enter a room and you say: "What's happening?
Why is she crying?
Why is that guy on the floor?
What's going on?"
So you just want to know and be informed of the new situation.
"What's going on?", "What's happening?"
Okay, so repeat after me:
"What's going on?",
"What's happening?",
"What's up?"
Okay, very good.
And the next two: "What are you going to do?" and "What do you do?"
"What do you do?"
a little more common because it asks about your profession, your job, what you do in life.
So: -"What do you do?"
-"I'm a student.", "I'm a teacher.", "I'm a housewife/househusband."
Whatever your job is or whatever you do in life.
So, before that we had: "What are you going to do?"
Now, this could be a friend who is wondering, you know: "What are you going to do now?"
Now, a context for this could be you just lost your job, or you broke up with your boyfriend
or girlfriend, and your friend is very worried and says:
"Oh my god. What...? What are you going to do?
What are you...? What are you going to do now?"
Like: "What is next for you?"
Now, this can also be if you're a bully, maybe if you push someone or you say something rude
to them and you want to act tough, and you say: "What are you going to do?"
Okay? Because you think that they're smaller, not as strong, and you're being very rude, like:
"Hey. What are you going to do?"
And this question usually ends with: "What are you going to do about it?"
"What are you going to do about it?" Okay?
All right, so repeat after me:
"What are you going to do?"
and other context, the first one:
"What are you going to do now?"
And this very common question: "What do you do?"
Or the intonation can also be: "What do you do?"
All right, excellent.
Let's go to the other part of the board.
We have first: "What do you...?"
Now, this can be followed by a number of verbs.
So: "What do you think?", "What do you want?", "What do you need?", "What do you have?"
So think of an action, think of a state, think of a base verb when you have:
"What do you _______?"
Just like here we have: "What do you do?"
Exactly the same construction.
"Very exactly the same", that's not really, like, good English.
I'm sorry, but that is exactly the same structure.
"What do you think?" for example.
Like, if you're sharing an opinion about a movie or something, you can say:
"Hey. What did you think?
Did you like it?"
"What do you want?", "What do you need?", "What do you have?"
Next, if you're in a situation and you want to know: "What is the next step?
What are...?
What are our options, our choices?": "What can we do?", "What should we do?"
So: "What...? What can we do in this tough situation?",
"What should we do in this situation?"
Before next, please repeat after me:
"What can we do?",
"What should we do?"
All right, good.
Next: "What did you do?"
Not: "What do you do?"
but: "What did you do?"
So your friend is telling you a story, and they say:
"All right, I went to the store and someone took my wallet."
And you say: "Oh. What did you do?
Did you run after them?
Did you just stand there?
What did you do?"
Or you come into a room, your friend just killed someone: "What did you do?"
It's a very extreme example, but you know, it's hope...
No, hopefully not possible for you guys.
Never mind.
All right, so you can also say, you know, like just now, that situation when you walk
into a room, like: "What did you do?"
Like just recently, just now.
I'm in shock.
I'm surprised.
Or: "What did you do last night?", "What did you do yesterday?"
And next we have: "What's the point?"
So: "What's the point?" is a question you ask when you don't know the reason or the
purpose of something.
It's like asking: "Why?
Why should we do this?
What's the point?
What is the reason for it?
What will be the outcome, the result?"
I don't see the point of doing it.
I don't see a good reason for doing this.
All right, finally we have four questions that have something in common, which is why
I blocked them off, put a star, and you'll notice they all have the word "like", so:
"What do you like?", "What would you like?",
"What is he like or she like?", and:
"What does he or she look like?"
Now, if you want a fuller understanding of these question types and what they mean, you
can actually check out a video I did on this topic back in 2011 on: "Questions with 'Like'".
Yeah, 2011.
I've been doing this for that long.
All right, so first: "What do you like?"
means, you know: What is your preference in general?
Or... In general.
Right? So: "What do you like to eat?
What do you like to do?"
Next: "What would you like?"
What is your preference in the moment or in the future?
"What would you like to do this weekend?",
"What would you like to have from the menu?"
Next: "What is she like?", "What is he like?"
This means: "Describe this person to me.
What are the characteristics of the person?"
So, you know: "What is she like?
Is she nice?
Is she funny?
Is she friendly?"
And you can also say, you know: "What is it like here?"
to talk about a city, for example,
like: "What is Toronto like?",
"What is Seoul like?", "What is Sao Paulo like?"
All right?
And finally: "What does he look like?" this refers to physical appearance.
All right?
So: "What does he look like?
Is he tall?
Is he blonde?
What's his eye colour?"
That kind of thing.
So, for a fuller understanding of these, you can check out the video I did in 2011.
Now, to end off
I just want to say thank you guys, as always, for making it to the end
of the video.
And those of you who are going to do the quiz now, I just have one piece of advice:
Sometimes in the comments on engVid I see: "I got 10 out of 10."
And I might respond to a person who says: "I got 10 out of 10" with: "Fantastic.
Now use it in a conversation.
Take it to that next level."
The learning shouldn't stop, guys, after the quiz.
The quiz is a way to test that you understand the structure.
And remember the quiz is multiple choice, too, so it's easier than producing language spontaneously.
So make sure after doing the quiz, step away, and say:
"What do I remember?
Can I use that in a conversation?"
So if you enjoyed the video, take that quiz.
After you take that quiz, like the video, comment on it.
Let me know your thoughts, whether, you know, you like this style of video or if you like
other types of videos, or you have other things you wish I would cover in future videos.
I'm very open to that kind of stuff.
And don't forget to subscribe.
Til next time, thanks for clicking.
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The 10 Most Common "WHAT" Questions in English

2022 Folder Collection
Melody Lin published on March 29, 2017
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