Questions in English (Closed-ended and Open-ended Questions) EP.7

In this lesson, we will focus on closed-ended and open-ended questions in the English language.

A question is an interrogative expression often used to find out or confirmation information. There are a lot of different types of questions in English such as object, subject, duration, tag, negative, indirect, open, closed, etc…

Closed-ended questions are questions which can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” or a specific piece of information. They are best used when you want a short, direct answer to a very specific question.
They are less personal in nature and are best used when the person asking wants a quick answer. One closed question asked right after another can make a conversation or discussion feel more like an interview or interrogation.

Open-ended questions are questions that do not invite a simple “yes’ or “no;” they allow the other person to include more information, including feelings, attitudes and understanding of the subject. This allows the questioner to better access other people’s true feelings on a particular subject or topic.

1. Closed-ended questions

When asking a closed-ended question, the questioner is looking for either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response or a specific piece of information.

Closed-ended A: Do you send emails at your company every day?
Questions B: Yes, I do.
Closed-ended A: Where do you come from?
Questions B: I come from Sidney, Australia.
Closed-ended A: What time does the production meeting start?
Questions B: The production meeting starts at 1 o’clock.

2. Open-ended questions

When asking an open-ended question, the questioner is looking for more than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or a specific piece of information.

Open-ended                      A: What did you think about the IT seminar this
Questions B: I thought that it was very informative, useful, and
Open-ended A: How do you like to spend your free time?
Questions B: I enjoy exercising, listening to music, and reading a
good book.
Open-ended A: What did you do today?
Questions                        B: I sent some emails and went to a meeting. I also made some travel arrangements for next week.