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English definition of “question”


noun (ASKING)    /ˈkwes.tʃən/
A1 [C] a sentence or phrase used to find out information: The police asked me questions all day. Why won't you answer my question? "So where is the missing money?" "That's a good question." (= I don't know the answer.) There will be a question-and-answer session (= a period when people can ask questions) at the end of the talk.Questioning people and asking questions in generalCuriositySuspecting and questioning A2 [C] in an exam, a problem that tests a person's knowledge or ability: Answer/Do as many questions as you can.Questioning people and asking questions in generalCuriositySuspecting and questioning Grammar:QuestionsA question is anything we write or say which requires a response. In writing, questions are usually followed by a question mark:See moreGrammar:Responding to wh-questionsWh-questions ask for information and we do not expect a yes-no answer to a wh-question. We expect an answer which gives information:See moreGrammar:Adding emphasis to wh-questionsWe can add emphasis to wh-questions in speaking by stressing the auxiliary verb do. We usually do this when we have not already received the information that we expected from an earlier question, or to show strong interest.See moreGrammar:Negative wh-questionsWhen we ask negative wh-questions, we use the auxiliary verb do when there is no other auxiliary or modal verb, even when the wh-word is the subject of the clause:See moreGrammar:Adding a wh-word at the end of a statement to make a questionSee moreGrammar:Intonation and wh-questionsThe intonation of wh-questions is normally falling. The falling intonation is on the most important syllable:See moreGrammar:Prepositions and particles with wh-questionsWe can use wh-words and phrases after prepositions in more formal questions:See moreGrammar:Questions: alternative questions (Is it black or grey?)An alternative question gives a choice of two or more answers in the question and includes or:See moreGrammar:Forming alternative questionsSee moreGrammar:Different types of alternative questionWe can also ask alternative questions using or not? This is a very direct question and sometimes it can express annoyance or impatience:See moreGrammar:Reduced alternative questions (tea or coffee?)See moreGrammar:Responding to alternative questionsWe can answer an alternative question in different ways, but we do not normally answer yes:See moreGrammar:Questions: echo and checking questionsSee moreGrammar:Question: follow-up questionsSee moreGrammar:Questions: statement questions (you’re over 18?)We can use statements (declaratives) to ask yes-no questions. In writing we know they are questions because they have question marks. In speaking we know they are questions because of the context, and often because of their intonation:See moreGrammar:Questions: two-step questionsIn speaking, we sometimes ask two questions together. The first question is just an introduction for the listener. We use these especially when we don’t want to be too direct:See moreGrammar:Two-step yes-no questionsWe sometimes use yes-no questions one after the other. The first question is an introduction to the topic and the speaker usually knows the answer. The second question is more specific.See moreGrammar:Pre-questions in two-step questionsSometimes we ask if we can ask a question. This is very polite:See moreGrammar:Two-step questions that suggest the answerWe also use two-step questions to first ask a question and then suggest an answer with a rising or fall-rising intonation. The speaker is quite sure of the answer and wants the listener to confirm it:See moreGrammar:Questions: interrogative pronouns (what, who)We use interrogative pronouns to ask questions. They are: who, which, whom, what and whose. These are also known as wh-words. Questions using these are called wh-questions:See moreGrammar:Questions: yes-no questions (Are you feeling cold?)Questions that need either a yes or a no answer are called yes-no questions:See moreGrammar:Interrogative pronouns: usesWe use who and whom on their own:See moreGrammar:Questions: short formsIn informal situations, especially in speaking, we can reduce questions rather than using complete clauses. Short questions can be clauses, phrases or even single words:See moreGrammar:Questions: typical errorsSee moreGrammar:Forming yes-no questionsSee moreGrammar:Responding to yes-no questionsOther ways of saying yes and no include yeah, yep, mm, okay, and nah, nope. These are informal:See moreGrammar:Negative yes-no questionsWe usually use negative yes-no questions to check or confirm something we believe or expect to be the case, or when we consider that something is the best thing to do:See moreGrammar:Intonation and yes-no questionsThe intonation of yes-no questions is normally either rising [ri↗sing arrow] or fall-rising [dow↘n u↗p arrow] intonation depending on the meaning. If we do not know the answer, we use rising intonation. If we more or less know the answer and are looking for confirmation, we use fall-rising intonation:See moreGrammar:Questions: wh-questionsWh-questions begin with what, when, where, who, whom, which, whose, why and how. We use them to ask for information. The answer cannot be yes or no:See moreGrammar:Forming wh-questionsSee more
(Definition of question noun (ASKING) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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