February 19


How to Ask Basic Questions When Learning English

By Gordon Gaffney

February 19, 2022

How to Ask Basic Questions When Learning English

The number of people learning the English language in Brazil and other non-English speaking countries is increasing. In the past, people who had a language such as English on their resume or CV stood out, today this is not the case.

Perhaps many of the candidates for the same vacancy you are applying for already have a good level of English. The difference now will be how well you can actually use English in everyday life.

How to Ask Basic Questions When Learning English

It's not enough to have a degree on your resume or CV. Knowing how to communicate and solve situations with a foreign language is essential. We know that some people put conversational English on their resume, but when it comes time to put it into practice, they fail.

You can read about putting your English level on your CV here.

If you want to know the meaning of some basic questions in English and their possible answers to establish a conversation, stick around and find out!

We'll start with the most basic questions in English and their Portuguese translation then go to a more intermediate level.


-What's your name? 


-My name is Bob.

- I am Bob./ I'm Bob. (Informal)


-Where are you from? 


-I am from Brazil. / I'm from Brazil.


-Where do you live? 


-I live in Rio.

Question #4

- Are you married?

Possible answers:

- Yes, I am. (Affirmative)

- No, I'm not. I am single. (Negative)

- I am engaged.

- I have a boyfriend/a girlfriend.

Question #5

- What time is it?

Possible answers:

- It's seven o'clock. 

- It 's seven thirty. (American)

- It's half past seven. (British)

- It's seven fifty. (American)

-It's ten to eight. (British)


- How old are you?


- I am 30 years old. / I'm 30. (Informal)


- How are you doing?

Possible answers:

- I'm ok. / I'm fine.

- Not so good.

- I'm happy/ sad.

If you have studied English before, you will remember that in all the questions above, the verb to be is present. In case you don't remember, this verb can be conjugated in three ways in the present tense: am, is, are.

The verb to be is part of the basic structure of most personal questions. And this is why it is always taught in the early stages of English classes. From it we can tell who we are, where we are from, our age, whether we are married or single, how we feel at the moment.

The questions that we will see below are those that are most often used for a specific purpose, such as answering questionnaires, answering job interview questions, or self-knowledge questions.

What we will show here are possible models of answers that fit the questions, you can take the structure and change a few details by putting in your personal answers.

Let's check:


- What do you do in your free time?

Possible answers:

- I like to read.

- I'm really into sports, so, I usually play basketball with my friends every week.

- I love to travel and appreciate nature.

- I like to stay home, relax and watch TV.


- Where do you see yourself in five years?

To answer this question, it's good to be prepared beforehand so that you don't say something that can harm your chances in a job interview. We know that in this type of question, the evaluator wants to know more about your professional ambitions than your personal ones.

Also, be careful not to mention that you would like to be in a bigger or better company than the one you are interviewing for.

You can say that, in five years, you aim to be more aware of your role in the company, more qualified to be promoted within the team, and that you intend to add, bringing new ideas and ensuring the success of the company and your professional success, for example.

Possible answers:

- One of my future plans for the next five years includes being more capable and competent as a leader. I’d also like to further develop my skills in a way that I can bring innovative ideas to the company, helping the team, and getting everyone involved.

- Within five years, I would like to become an expert and be able to improve and support my colleagues' projects in this company. I believe that teamwork is always good. And I would love to be seen as a leader in my area and also an example for the team. Finally, I would love to be the head of an important project, since I have been preparing myself for that for many years.


- What would you do if you won the lottery?

Possible answers:

- I would travel around the world.

- I would buy a very big house for my family.

- I would invest all my money.

- I would help some people in need.

Question #11

- Do you speak English? / What languages do you speak?

People who study languages can be nervous when answering this question. Normally, in a job interview, if this question comes up and we answer yes, we should know that next we will be tested in some way.

So, be very careful when giving your answer that you don’t exaggerate saying that you have an advanced level when in fact you have basic. In this case, it is better to be honest and say that you are always looking to improve through regular classes.

Possible answers:

- Yes, I do. I speak English, Spanish and I can understand a bit of French.

- No, I don’t. I don’t speak English.

- I can understand English, but I can’t speak it very well.

- I am a beginner, but I’m studying hard to reach an intermediate level in a few months.

Question #12

This last question has a multitude of possible answers. It can appear in different types of environments: among friends, professionals, more formal and more informal. So the answers can be simpler or more in-depth. Here we have some models of more basic answers, taking into account a more direct answer.

- What do you do?

Possible answers:

- I work in a company.

- I am a salesperson.

- I am a teacher.

- I work as a freelancer.

- I do not work yet, I only study.

If you are preparing to be interviewed for a job vacancy, or simply intend to carry on a conversation beyond the entry level, please read this article carefully and save it.

The questions listed in this article will help you come up with some ideas for crafting your own answer.

With the basic questions in this text, you will develop communication without having to worry if you are saying something wrong or out of context.

If you want to go deeper into your answers, it is essential to study the English language, because the more you stand out, the better.

Many people believe that they only need to have a minimum knowledge of a language to get a job but unfortunately this is not true.

We are tested all the time and the more prepared you are for any given situation, the more you will stand out as a competent person who takes your goals seriously. Then all you have to do is reap the rewards of your dedication. Get to work!

You can learn how to write a formal email in English in an article coming soon and how to ask and speak age in English in an article coming soon.

You might also be interested in our video course on sale on Udemy for €29.99/69.99R$ "Eliminate the Mistakes that Portuguese Speakers Make in English". 4 hours of video exclusively for people that speak Portuguese. You can read more about it and watch free videos here.

Our original eBook from 2016 "Eliminate the 63 Most Important Mistakes that Portuguese Speakers Make in English" is on sale here for €6.99, you can read more about the book and its method here and read a free sample here.

Did you already know any of these questions? Which ones do you find most difficult? Leave your answer in the comments below!

Gordon Gaffney

About the author

Gordon is The Irish English Teacher, creator of this blog and many products to help all students learning English as a second language, but with a focus on Portuguese speakers.

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