Questions Words: How Can I Use How?

How is a very useful question word.  Let’s look at some of the ways it can be used.

How can I Use How?How can I stay healthy?

This question is asking about method—the way you do something.  You would answer in this way:
You can stay healthy by exercising, by eating well, and by getting enough sleep.

How do you use a public bus?
First, you need to buy a ticket.  Then, you wait at the bus stop.  When the bus comes, you put your ticket in the machine next to the driver.  The driver will give you a transfer.  When you want to get off the bus, pull the cord.  Finally, remember to thank the driver!

How far is it to your house?
How + adjective is asking you to say the quantity of the adjective —in this case, distance.  You could answer in this way:

  • It is five miles.
  • It is a mile and a half.

How big is your room?   
This question is asking you how much space it has.  You could answer:

  • It’s huge.  It’s 200 square feet.
  • It’s really tiny.  It’s not much bigger than a bath tub.

How spicy is the food at that restaurant? 
You could answer in this way:

  • It’s really spicy.
  • It’s not very spicy.

You can ask the same type of question with an adverb:
How quickly do you learn new vocabulary words?
You could answer:

  • I learn very quickly.
  • I don’t learn them very quickly.

How long does it take to get to your job each day?
“How long does it take to” + verb is asking about the amount of time needed to do something.
You could answer in this way:

  • It takes an hour.
  • It takes twenty minutes.
  • It takes five minutes.

How long does it take to speak English like a native speaker?
You could answer:

  • It takes years.
  • It takes a life time.
  • It takes many months.

How much does it cost to buy a house in your city?
“How much does it cost to” + verb is asking about the amount of money needed to buy something.
You could answer:

  • It costs half a million dollars.
  • It costs $400,000.
  • It costs an arm and a leg (a lot!).

How much does it cost to go out to eat?
You could answer:

  • For one person, it costs about $10.
  • For a family, it costs around $50. 

Notice how the modifiers about and around mean not exactly—maybe more, maybe less.)

How many people do you know who can speak English?
How + many/much is asking you about a quantity of a noun.
You could answer:

  • I know tons.
  • I know around 5. 
  • I know a few. 

Notice how with a plural count noun (people), you use the word many, which is plural, and your answers are also plural:  tons, 5, a few.

How much fun do you have each day?
You could answer:

  • I have a lot. 
  • I have a little. 
  • I have a bit. 

Notice how with a non-count noun (fun), you use the word much, and your answers are also non-count amounts: a lot, a little, a bit.

How much do you exercise?
How much do you + verb asks you about the quantity of a verb:

  • I exercise a lot.
  • I rarely exercise.
  • I exercise three times a week.

How much do you drink?

  • I never drink.
  • I drink about two glasses of alcohol a day.
  • I drink a lot.

As you can see, “How” questions are very useful.  Practice by answering the following questions.

  1. How could you practice using them?
  2. How confident are you about using them correctly?
  3. How soon will you practice?
  4. How long did it take for you to read this blog post?
  5. How many ways to ask questions with “How” did this post teach you?
  6. How much do you practice every day?