How to use W5 questions for more interesting conversations

How to use W5 questions for more interesting conversations

Do you want to have longer conversations that are more interesting to you and the person you are speaking with? Would you like to chat with native speakers more often? In this video, I will share some ideas that will help you have better conversations with others. If you follow my advice, I guarantee people will like you more! How do I know? Watch the video and find out.


Hello, I’m David Beckham. No, I’m not. I’m James. This is engVid. This is David Beckham. But you might be thinking right now some interesting questions, as to: Why did I say I was David Beckham instead of James as normal? Well, I wanted to get your attention, I wanted to start a conversation. And a lot of times we do this through asking questions. This lesson is about how to change your questions, because many people learning English like to ask questions with the answer “Yes” and “No”, and frankly, it’s quite boring. It puts me to sleep. Okay? So I’m going to teach you in this lesson how to use W5 questions in order to make a conversation much more interesting, to learn more about the person, and they can learn about you. And when I’m done with you, you’re going to be an excellent conversationalist. That’s a person who is good at making people like them. Are you ready? Let’s go to the board.

Here’s E. “Boring. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yes and no.” Do you think the weather is nice? Yes/no. Do you like your food? Yes/no. Blah, blah, blah. These lead to questions in which people answer “Yes”, and you are forced to continually ask questions, and it sounds more like you’re being interviewed, like a police interview: -“Where were you at last dah-dah-dah?” -“Oh my gosh!” And then there’s these colourful ones. See these nice little balls, all happy and nice? These are W5 questions, because not only are you asking a question, you’re asking about me and asking for my opinion and I want to give it to you, which means I’ll talk to you longer and you’ll get the opportunity to become a better listener and speaker. All right? Let’s go to the board.

Okay, first things first: “W5 Questions for More Interesting Conversations”. What is W5? Because I’ve said it about five times, and some of you will know right off, and some of you are going: “I don’t understand.” W5 are information questions. They… These are the things that we use in English to get information, so you cannot say “Yes” or “No” to these things, you actually have to explain. And by explaining, you give more information which makes it much more interesting for me, the listener, and for you, as the speaker, because you get to explain yourself.

W5, we start off with: “Who?” These are the people. Who are you speaking to? Who are you speaking about? People and persons. Okay? “When?” This is the time. What time did it happen? 12 o’clock, February, 2001. September 11th, ring a bell, anyone? Makes a difference. Okay? “Where?” This is the location. Where did it take place? In my house, at work, in Ireland, in Jamaica, in Japan. “Where?” changes everything. Right? “Why?” What is the reason that we’re having this conversation? Why did you do it? People have reasons, and if you ask them, it’s amazing what they’ll tell you. Most of the times we look for “Yes” or “No” because we want information, but the reason behind somebody did it might explain why the “Yes” or the “No” much clearer to you, and sometimes to them, actually. And: “What?” What are we talking about? What is the subject of the conversation? It’s not always about people. It could be about money, health, politics. “What?” is important to us. All right? The subject of the conversation.

And here’s one in orange, because it’s not really “W”; w, w, w, w. Maybe at the end, but: “How?” “How?” is really useful. I put there is W5, because it’s the method. How did you get there? Like, tell me the steps that you got there. Not your reason, but the way that you did it. Okay? So, why did I go to Japan? Because I love the country, I love the people. How did I get there? By airplane, and then by boat because I wanted to go to Okinawa. That changes the story. Okay?

So, if we put these together… And you’re going to ask in a second: “What do you mean?” because I’ve told you we’re going to be great conversationalists, we’ll go through a sample conversation in a second. Here’s this. Okay? These are often used in English writing. That’s why I’m giving it to you now, because we use it in writing because, in writing, you’re speaking when you write, but there’s… You don’t know your audience. So, a lot of people use these things in their writing to actually get to know who their audience is and maybe make it much more interesting for a person that they don’t know who’s going to read their work later on.