Short Simple Natural Questions

Short Simple Natural Follow-up Questions

“How can I make a perfect sentence?”

Many students ask this question. They want to speak in perfect sentences. It is more difficult when asking questions.

There’s good news! Native English speakers don’t usually speak in perfect or complete sentences! We have many, many shortcuts that you can learn. Learning these shortcuts makes speaking English easier. It takes time and practice to use some of them, but many can be learned quickly. In fact, you probably already know some of them!

I want to speak “real English.”

This is something I often hear. It is one reason I began this website. There is SO MUCH information I want to share with you about how to speak real English. It’s going to take a long time to share it all. Coming soon: Check out “Real English” daily updates for bite-size lessons from real life conversations and American TV shows.

For now, let’s look at an example of two conversations: one with complete sentences and one with the questions and answers shortened. Notice the differences.

Complete sentences (not the way people really speak)

Elsa: What did you do this weekend?

Ollie: I went to a movie.

Elsa: Oh, yeah? What movie did you see?

Ollie: I saw Black Panther.

Elsa: Cool! I love that movie!

 

Same conversation (the way people really speak)

Elsa: What did you do this weekend?

Ollie: Went to a movie.

Elsa: Oh, yeah? What movie?

Ollie: Black Panther.

Elsa: Cool! I love that movie!

 

Same conversation, the way it really sounds (with reductions)

Elsa: Wuhdja do this weekend?

Ollie: Wento-uh movie.

Elsa: Oh, yeah? What movie?

Ollie: Black Panther.

Elsa: Cool! I love that movie!

 

This conversation introduced one Short Simple Natural Follow-up Question:

“What ___________?”

The ____________ can be completed in many ways, for example:

What game?

What restaurant?

What country?

 

Next, let’s look at a list of the other Short Simple Natural Follow-up Questions

Who

Who with? or With who? (“whom” is disappearing – most people say “who”)

To who? (this is used if someone tells you they are getting married)

What

What kind?     Like what?

Whadja get?   = What did you get? = What grade did you get? or What did you buy? or What did you receive?

Which ____________?     What ____________?

What happened? (A go-to question when someone had a problem!)

What’s wrong? (Another good question is someone has a problem.)

When

When?           When is/was it?          When was this?

Where

Where?          Where in ______________?            Where at?      Where to?       From where?

Where is/was it?                   Where is/was this?

Why

Why?   Why not?       Why is/was that?

How come? = What is the reason/excuse?      ex: “How come he isn’t here?” = “Why isn’t he here?”

What for? = For what reason? ex: “For what reason are you studying English? = “Why are you studying English?”

How?

How?

How so? = In what way?

How many?     How often?     How much?     How long?      For how long?

How far?

The difference between whyhow and how so takes time to learn. It depends on the situation. I explain in more detail on Quora.

This is just an introduction. Next, we will look at more examples from real conversations.

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