Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lesson 7: The 5 W's of English

“The 5 W’s”

The 5 W’s is a term that most students know from studying English in school. The 5 W’s are “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.” These five simple words are used everyday to get information and even to make friends or create business relationships. I want to teach you a little more about these words and how to use them naturally in daily conversation. The pattern to ask a question using one of the 5 W’s is: 5 W word + helping verb + subject + verb. For example, “Who are you dating?” Or “When does the movie start?” The key to making a good question is making sure that you match the correct helping verb, plural or singular, to the subject. Remember, the subject determines whether the helping verb is plural or singular. This pattern can also be used with verbs in action. For example, “What are they buying?” Or you can ask about something that happened in the past such as, “Where did you go last weekend?” It’s obvious that the 5 W’s are good for getting information, but why do you think I said they are also good for making friends or creating business relationships. The answer is because Americans show interest in each other with simple light conversational questions. Questions should never be too personal such as “When will you get pregnant?” or “Why don’t you loose weight?” But good questions can help you find common interests with others that can lead to developing strong relationships. I’ve made some questions below, now you make your own original answers.

Key words:
Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
When are we going to eat?
Where are my socks?
What the heck is that supposed to mean?
How in the world did you get that?
Who told you that?
When can we work this out?
Where is the nearest restroom?
How did you do that?
Are’ya= are you (reduction)
Gonna= going to (reduction)

Here are some situational examples:
Example: Two friends
w Are’ya hungry?
u Yep. When are we gonna eat?

Example: Two co-workers
w You’re an interesting person to deal with.
u What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Example: Manager to boss
w I just bought a new Jaguar.
u How in the world did you get that?

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