How to Ask the Right Questions in English


Whether you are in the midst of a conversation, or addressing someone in an empathetic manner, it’s important to know what you are asking. In particular, women should be aware of how to ask questions that will reveal the most about them and their lives. For instance, what are your favorite memories, pets, and other things? This type of question will help you develop better communication skills and gain insight into other people’s lives.

The phrase “what are you up to?” is a common greeting in English. It’s often asked by a family member or friend, and is an invitation to have a conversation. This informal, yet highly respectful, approach is also a good way to learn how to use the language more fluently. For example, when you ask a friend “how is it going?”, the person answering is likely to say “not much” because it’s a casual greeting. However, when you ask a friend a direct question, such as “What are you up to?”, the person you’re speaking to might be referring to a particular situation or problem that they are currently dealing with. You can ask someone “What have you been up to since we last talked?” to inquire about a specific time or event, or “What would you like to talk about?” to ask about a subject that’s important to you. You may ask a student to “What are you up to in school?” if you want to know their experience as a student.

Historically, you was used only in the dative case. In the 17th century, you began to be used in the nominative case, as well. Then, in the 18th century, you began to lose its respectability. Instead of using you for singular, people started using ye or thou to mark a person’s relationship to other people. In some dialects, the familiar thou remains in use. In more formal speech, youse is a rarely used form of you. It’s an Irish-American form that’s mostly found in urban centers in the North.

In addition to the nominative and dative you forms, you can be the subject of a verb, or the object of a preposition. For instance, you can ask a person how they’re doing, or ask a group of friends what they’re up to. The same is true of numbers, such as how many students are in a class.

In American English, you is most frequently the subject pronoun, and is often substituted for the formal indefinite pronoun one. You is sometimes replaced by the passive verb you-all, or you-all’s, although it’s not standard. In some regional varieties, y’all is used for second-person singular in the nominative. In African-American Vernacular English, y’all is also used in the second-person singular, but this is less common.

You guys is a more informal, plural form of you, and is a form that’s more widely used in some populations. You guys is often used when speaking to men, but it’s possible to use it to refer to any group. In the 1990s, some people began to adopt a gender-neutral you guys. They could use it to refer to women, but it’s more common for them to be used to refer to any group, with or without sex.