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How

How

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How

 

 

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use the question word "how". The question word "how" is used in some common questions, such as "How are you?", "How do you do?", and "How do you feel?". In these questions, the question word how is used to inquire about a state of being.

 

The answers to these questions are adjectives such as "fine, good, bad, happy, sad," or "tired". The question word "how" is also used as a way of inquiring about the manner in which an action is performed. For example, we could ask "How do the children sing?" If the children are good singers, the answer would be "They sing well." or if they are bad singers, "They sing badly.".

 

We use adverbs to answer questions about the manner in which an action is performed. In a future lesson, we will learn about adverbs in detail.  In this lesson, we will concentrate on using the question word "how".

 

Here are some examples of questions about the manner in which something is done.

 

"How does the Olympic swimmer swim? She swims well."

 

"How does the boy run? He runs fast."

 

"How does the student get to school? He gets to school by bus."

 

"How do you get to work? I get to work by car."

 

In the dialog, David and Jennifer are discussing her young cousin James and his activities.

 

David: How old is your cousin?

 

Jennifer: Which one?

 

David: Your cousin James – how old is he?

 

Jennifer: He is five years old.

 

David: How is he?

 

Jennifer: He is happy. He swims, he studies a little, and he plays baseball.

 

David: How does he swim?

 

Jennifer: He swims well. He likes it.

 

David: How does he get to swimming class?

 

Jennifer: He gets to swimming class by bus.

 

Now you have learned the basic usage of the question word "how". Let us take a closer look at the way the question word "how" is used and what kinds of responses it elicits.

 

In David's first question, he asks "How old is your cousin?". "How old" is a question which requires an exact number in response.

 

After Jennifer ascertains "which cousin" David is asking about, she tells David that "He is five years old.".  

 

In David's next question,he asks "How is he?". In the context of the dialog, David has not seen Jennifer's cousin for some time, and he is inquiring into her cousin's well-being. This answer will require an adjective. Jennifer could have answered "He is fine." or "He is sad." or "He is okay.".

 

In David's next question, he asks "How does he swim?". Since David is inquiring about the manner in which something is done, the answer will require an adverb. We have learned several adverbs that would be appropriate. Jennifer might answer "He swims poorly." or "He swims badly." or "He swims fast.".

 

In David's last question, he asks "How does he get to swimming class?" This question will require information about the specific manner in which Jennifer's cousin travels to swimming class. He most common way of answering this type of question is to give the type of transportation which is used.

 

 Jennifer could have answered "He gets to swimming class by bus." or "He gets to swimming class by train.".

 

The question word "how" can be used in many ways – to inquire into someone's condition or state of being, to ask about the manner in which something is done, and in specific phrases, such as "how old", to elicit particular, specific information.

 

Now that you have an idea of the way we use the question word "how", listen to the dialog again. Listen for the ways it is used to find out a person's state of being, manner in which something is done, or specific information.

 

David: How old is your cousin?

 

Jennifer: Which one?

 

David: Your cousin James – how old is he?

 

Jennifer: He is five years old.

 

David: How is he?

 

Jennifer: He is happy. He swims, he studies a little, and he plays baseball.

 

David: How does he swim?

 

Jennifer: He swims well. He likes it.

 

David: How does he get to swimming class?

 

Jennifer: He gets to swimming class by bus.

 

Outstanding work! Your ability to ask questions in English has increased, and now it is time to ask questions in English!