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A question is what someone asks, usually when there is something that he or she does not know. In writing, a question mark ("?") comes at the end of a question. However, just because a question is asked does not mean there is an answer.
Types of question
Sometimes a question has a simple answer like "Yes" or "No". Sometimes a question has a more complicated answer like "Maybe", or "I don't know". There are so many types of questions and so many ways of answering questions.
Examples of these questions
People may give a short answer. People may give a long answer. It depends on the question.
- "Guess what?"
- "Can I help you?"
- "Do you speak English?"
- "Is this your bag?"
- "What time is it?"
- "Where are you from?"
- "Why are you doing that?"
- "Who do you want to see?"
- "When will tea be ready?"
- "What did you say?"
- "How old are you?"
- "What time is the football game?"
- "Why do you look so funny?"
- "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
- "Where can I find the nearest subway station?"
- "Why do you allow people to change an online encyclopedia?"
Different kinds of why questions need different kinds of answers. A question like "Why did you do that?" clearly asks for an explanation. What that explanation might be depends on context. This kind of explanation is not right or wrong: it all depends on circumstance. The question and answer may also have to do with "who", "what", "when" and "where".
There are types or forms of explanations, including:
- explanations which are based on a principle or theory.
- Who should I listen to? Answer: Mother knows best.
- explanations which rely on a model or pattern.
- Where does this part go? Answer: The pocket is on the left side of the shirt.
- When did you do that? Answer: I ran away after the dog barked.
- Why are you doing that? Answer: Because I'm going to build a boat.
Many kinds of explanations are made up of more than one type.
- Keil, Frank C. and Wilson, Robert Andrew. 2000. Explanation and cognition. p6
- Elman, Colin. (2001). Bridges and boundaries: historians, political scientists, and the study of international relations, p. 71 "It is often said that a key difference between historians and political scientists is that historians tend to construct narrative-based explanations while political scientists ... tend to construct theory-based explanations".
- Blakesley, David and Hoogeveen, Jeffrey L. 2007. The Thomson Handbook. Blackwell, Oxford, p209. ISBN 9781428205031