WH Questions


ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

Questions are a very important facet of language development. Being able to both answer and ask questions is critical for engaging in conversation. But all questions are not created equal! Here is a break down of different types of questions, ranging from easiest to hardest:

  1. Yes/No
    • opinion (ex: “Do you want milk?“)
    • concrete (ex: “Is this a dog?“)
    • abstract (ex: “Is snow cold?“)
  2. Choice Questions
    • choice of two (ex: “Did you go to the zoo or the park?“)
    • choice of three (ex: “Do you want pizza, pasta or rice?”)
  3. Concrete WH (Talking about items in the room)
    • what? (ex: “What is this?”)
    • what have? (ex: “What does Mommy have?”)
    • what doing? (ex: “What is Daddy doing?”)
    • who? (ex: “Who has the ball?”)
    • where? (ex: “Where is your ball?”)
  4. Abstract WH (Requires some background knowledge)
    • when? (ex: “When do we go to sleep?”)
    • why? (ex: “Why does he have an umbrella?”)
    • how? (ex: “How do you build a tower?”)
  5. Higher Level Questions
    • predicting (ex: “What will happen if the paper gets wet?”)
    • perspective Taking (ex: “Why does he feel sad?”)
    • opinion (ex: “What is the best movie of all time?”)
    • biographical (ex: “Who has been your greatest teacher?”)

When setting goals, it is helpful to work through a hierarchy so you can tease out exactly where the child breaks down. If your child is having difficulty answering questions, it might be good to back up a few steps and build from there! How do you tackle working on questions?


-Elizabeth Clark McKenzie, MS, CCC-SLP

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