Questions to Ask Someone

List of Questions to Ask Someone

Running out of things to talk about with your coworkers? Stuck in an awkward situation again? Can’t think of questions to ask someone?

Well, say no more! We have created this ridiculously long list of questions so that you would never run out of things to talk about. 

From first dates to conversation starter to academic inquiry, we have scoured the internet and compiled some of the best questions to ask someone for different occasions. 

What are the Types of Questions?

If we are talking about general questions per se, there are a lot of types and forms of questions such as multiple choice questions in an exam, likert scale questions on survey, rank scaling question for polls, and many more. 

However, for this article, we would specifically focus on questions that are mostly used in everyday or face-to-face conversations. 

General Questions

This type of question applies to a wide range of topics. It does not necessarily apply to a specific occasion or just the whole vibe of the room. 

Since these are plain and common questions to ask, you can use it to anyone, anytime, and wherever you are. 

We have found some of questions to ask someone from an online journal website called The Internet TESL Journal 

  • Where do young people usually spend their free time?
  • What annoys you about living where you live now?
  • Do you ever get the urge to refurnish your whole house?
  • Have you ever cut your hair really short?
  • What do you like about your community?
  • What do the people in your community do for recreation?
  • What do you like most about your own culture?
  • Do you usually remember your dreams?
  • Have you ever had or heard of a dream that foretold the future?
  • Which country’s food do you like the most?
  • Do you prefer fish or meat?
  • How many meals do you usually eat every day?
  • How often do you go drinking? 
  • What’s your favorite drink?
  • If you are living abroad, what is the food that you miss most from home?
  • Is there any food that you really dislike to eat?
  • Do you think life will be more difficult or easier for our grandchildren?
  • Do you have an idea for an invention?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Which do you prefer, sunrises or sunsets?
  • Would you prefer to live in a house or an apartment?
  • Are there any parks near your home?
  • How often do you travel?
Questions to Ask Someone

Closed-ended

This type of question can only be answered by a single word or by simply selecting from a limited number of options. 

Closed-ended questions do not necessarily require you to elaborate and explain further your answers. 

  • Did you wash the dishes?
  • When is your flight to London?
  • Can you water the plants while I’m gone?
  • Do you want me to switch the light off?
  • Would you like me to add spicy sauce? 
  • Did you take the SAT already?
  • Will you graduate this year? 
  • Who won the soccer game last night?
  • Have you watched the new episode?
  • How much did the repair cost? 
  • Do you allot money for our next trip abroad?
  • Would you like me to book you the flight tickets?
  • Do you like coffee or tea?
  • Is it okay if I turn the volume up?
  • Can you pick up your daughter from school tomorrow? 
  • When is your birthday?
  • Are you feeling better today?
  • Can I borrow your pen?
  • Is the event cancelled?
  • Do you like black tea or jasmine?
  • Would you like some water? 
  • Can I ask you a favor? 

Open-ended 

Unlike closed-ended questions, open ended questions cannot just be answered by a simple yes or no. 

This type of question requires you to further elaborate and explain your answers. 

  • Tell me what am I doing wrong?
  • How do you know about my plan?
  • What will happen next?
  • How did this happen?
  • What made you change your mind?
  • How do you think it could work?
  • What can you do about it?
  • How are these the same?
  • Why do you think I did that?
  • What has happened since we last met?
  • What do you think comes next?
  • What do you think would work?
  • How can I make you feel better?
  • How are these different from the previous one?
  • What does it remind you of?
  • Why do you think this happened?
  • What are the consequences of your action?
  • How did you do that?
  • What else can you do?
  • Why did you still go out last night?
  • What are the good and the bad things that come out of it?
  • Why do you say that to your friend?
  • What concerns you the most?
  • What can you do to make it better?
  • What is the backup plan?
  • How can I help you?
  • Is there another way to the city?

Factual

This type of question is oftentimes simple and straightforward like closed-ended questions. 

The answers are usually based on facts and data so your answers can either be right or wrong only. 

We have compiled some science related questions from the California State University, Northridge’s Science Bowl 

  • What weather phenomenon causes more deaths in the U.S. annually than any other except lightning?
  • What is given to wood whose normal cells have been replaced with mineral deposits?
  • Unlike rodents, the rabbit has how many incisor teeth?
  • What U.S. President was recognized as a world authority on American game animals?
  • How many men have walked on the moon?
  • What wonder drug was used for three years by the Army and Navy before becoming available to the general public in 1944?
  • Which sea is the saltiest natural lake and is also at the lowest elevation on the face of the earth?
  • What invention in about 1450 A.D. revolutionized communication and the world?
  • What mammal lays eggs?
  • What is the name of the largest North American terrestrial rodent, distinguished by its spiny covering?
  • What is another name for the Paleolithic Age?
  • What is the name of the whale that has a long protruding tusk?
  • What is the name for steel alloyed with chromium?
  • What poisonous alkaloid is extracted from tobacco leaves and widely used as an insecticide?
  • Who was known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park”?
  • Which vitamin is called ascorbic acid, meaning “no scurvy”?
  • What is the name of the first man-made spacecraft to orbit the Earth?
  • Who is called the Father of the Nuclear Navy?
  • What creature do the Galapagos Islands take their name from?
  • Who was the first man to hit a golf ball on the moon? 
  • What is the art of growing dwarfed trees in small pots, a technique perfected by the Japanese?

Convergent

This type of question is usually reserved after reading a book, watching a movie, doing an activity, and so on. 

Answers to convergent questions are usually inferences and insights about a certain thing.

  • What are the main reasons why the character died?
  • How did the climax event affect the main character?
  • What is the character’s favorite pastime?
  • Why did the character move to a new apartment?
  • What are the main reasons why the villain did not succeed?
  • What are the common traits of the antagonist and protagonist?
  • How did the conflict begin?
  • What is the main flaw of the main character?
  • How did the character overcome his problem?
  • What other events had led to the conflict of the story?
  • What is the character’s main plan?
  • What is the main idea behind this story?
  • Why did the character do that?
  • What is the main problem in the story?
  • What makes this character the hero of the story?
  • How did the villain meet his end?
  • What is this character’s purpose to the whole story?
  • How did the antagonist meet the protagonist?
  • What are the key takeaways in this event?
  • When did the villain realize his mistakes?
  • Why did the character turn evil?
  • What are the best personification examples in the story?
  • Why did the friend of the main character die?

Divergent

This type of question is the one that makes the other person think and predict what could have happened. 

It is a great question to ask especially if you want to discuss theories or predictions about a film, comics, books, and etc. 

Even though divergent questions feels like a hypothetical question, the answer still needs to follow the logic and reasoning of the film, movies, and so on.

  • What might have happened if the character did not die?
  • Will removing this character greatly affect the story?
  • What are the moral implications if the character chose not to do it?
  • If the character chose the alternative, how would it affect him?
  • What would have happened if there was a second book?
  •  If the character did make that choice, what do you think would have happen? 
  • What is the author trying to say in this part?
  • Will things be different if both characters did not meet?
  • If this theory were to happen, will the character still die? 
  • Will things be different if the character did not move into a new city?
  • What might have happened if the characters were siblings?
  • Will the hero be different if he did not meet this character? 
  • If this character did not exist, who do you think will be the role model of the protagonist? 
  • What might have happened if the protagonist did not meet the mentor? 
  • If the protagonist and antagonist were to become friends, do you think they would get along? 

What are Interesting Questions to Ask Someone?

Questions to Ask Someone

Among friends

We have found some of these questions that can help you start an interesting conversation with your friends. 

These questions were from Greater Good in Action website, launched by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and HopeLab. 

Greater Good in Action is a website that can help your social and emotional well-being. It is based on scientific studies and research-based methods. 

  • Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
  • Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  • Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
  • What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
  • When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
  • If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
  • Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
  • For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
  • If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
  • If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
  • If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
  • Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  • What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
  • What do you value most in a friendship?
  • What is your most treasured memory?
  • What is your most terrible memory?
  • If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
  • What does friendship mean to you?
  • What roles do love and affection play in your life?
  • How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
  • When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
  • What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
  • If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
  • Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
  • Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
  • Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

When Getting to Know Someone

We found these questions from the Michigan State University website that are not too personal questions for a first meeting, especially when you are just in the getting-to-know phase with someone. 

  • Where is the furthest you have traveled from your hometown?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • If they made a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
  • If someone was going to visit your hometown for a week and would never be back ever in their life, what should they do in that week and what time of year should they visit?
  • What is a dish you eat at any holiday that is special to your family?
  • Do you have a secret talent? If yes, what is it?
  • Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
  • Favorite age you’ve been so far?
  • You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world but you have to leave immediately and cannot pack anything. Where are you going to go?
  • If you were a type of animal, what would you be?
  • Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab one inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. What’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno?
  • If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?
  • If you could send a message to yourself 10 years ago, what would you say?
  • Have you ever been admitted to the hospital? If so, what for?
  • What type of music do you like?
  • What would be your dream car?
  • Where is your favorite place to sing?
  • Who do you look up to as a hero and why?
  • What parts of you do you think come from your parents? This can be either physical features or personality traits.
  • What thing do you wish you knew how to do that you don’t understand?
  • What is your favorite song? A group member could even ask each member this secretly ahead of time, put together a playlist and have participants try to guess which song goes with which person.
  • What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
Questions to Ask Someone

To a Colleague

Struggling to make conversation with your seniors at work?  Running out of small talk topics?

We have listed some conversation starters to help you. 

  • What have you been working on lately?
  • What did you think of my presentation? Do you have any points or recommendations?
  • What’s your go-to productivity trick?
  • How do you prefer to start your day?
  • Do you like coffee or tea?
  • What kind of coffee do you like?
  • What energizes you at work?
  • What’s one thing that surprised you about this work?
  • What are your hobbies outside work?
  • Do you cook at home?
  • Where do you usually go after work?
  • Can you recommend some great TV shows?
  • How do you destress?
  • Do you know any interesting online courses lately?
  • Any particular skill that you would recommend to everyone to learn?
  • What was your first job? 
  • What is the best thing about working from home?
  • What is the worst thing about working from home?
  • What is your major in college?
  • What school did you go to?
  • What is your hometown like?
  • Can you recommend some great restaurants from your hometown?
  • What is the best way to relax during weekends?
  • What are some of the best restaurants near the office?
  • Are you a dog person or a cat person (or neither)?
  • How did you come up with the name of your pet?
  • What is most recent movie that you watch?
  • What kind of song do you listen to?
  • Do you have any plans for vacation?
  • What book would you recommend to your friends?
  • What do you think the best age to be is?  

On a First Date

  • What made you want to go on this date?
  • Who’s your closest friend and why?
  • Would you rather spend a night in with your partner or go out in a large group?
  • What’s one of your favorite childhood memories?
  • Why did you decide to move to this city or town?
  • Where is your favorite place in the world?
  • Where is your favorite place in the city we live?
  • What neighborhood do you live in?
  • If you could go out to dinner with anyone in the world, who would it *not* be and why?
  • What are the greatest and worst books you’ve ever read?
  • Do you have a favorite author? If so, who?
  • What’s your favorite movie or television show?
  • What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
  • What’s the best vacation or trip you’ve ever been on?
  • What’s your favorite sports team and why?
  • Where do you work?
  • How long have you been in this profession?
  • What did you study in school?
  • What’s your greatest professional accomplishment?
  • What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you at work?
  • Who is your least favorite colleague and why?
  • Are you an early riser or a night owl?
  • What does an ideal weekend look like for you?
  • What’s your favorite way to relax?
  • How often do you like to exercise?
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • Do you like to relax or explore while on vacation?
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
  • What kinds of things make you the most upset?
  • What do you act like when you’re sad or mad?
  • What makes you happy?
  • How do you communicate your feelings to others?
  • Who do you go to when you need to vent?
  • Do you consider yourself a calm or anxious person?
  • What do you like most about yourself?
  • What was your life like during the COVID-19 quarantine?
  • Do you live to work or work to live?
  • How important is alone time?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What is the hobby you’ve been doing for the longest period of time?
  • What’s a recent hobby that you’ve picked up?
  • What are you looking for in a relationship?
  • What does your ideal partner look like?
  • What do you like most about relationships?
  • What’s the best part of dating you?
  • What was your first impression of me?
  • What stood out about my dating profile?
  • Why did you decide to go on a date with me?

What are the Common Questions to be Ask by Others?

Questions to Ask Someone

During Academic Presentations 

If you are currently in graduate school or just have an upcoming research presentation, then it would be best to look for the answers to these before you present your paper to the committee. 

This way, you would be ready if in case they ask you some of these questions. 

The Northern Illinois University has listed some questions in their website that we thought would be helpful in your academic presentation. 

This would not only prepare you for unexpected questions but it would also help you master your paper from inside out

  • What were the most challenging aspects, or what surprised you the most, in conducting this project?
  • Why did you choose this particular methodology or argument instead of another one?
  • How did you collect the data? Were there any problems in collecting data? What was the sample size?
  • How did you validate your work? Did you validate with a real problem or situation?
  • What are some of the limitations of your work?
  • What recommendations do you have for further exploration in this project?

During Job Interview

To help you land your next job, we have listed some sample interview questions that would help you prepare for your next interview. 

These questions were from the CareerOneStop website that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in working for this company?
  • Tell me about your education.
  • Why have you chosen this particular field?
  • Describe your best/worst boss.
  • In a job, what interests you most/least?
  • What is your major weakness?
  • Give an example of how you solved a problem in the past.
  • What are your strengths?
  • How do others describe you?
  • What do you consider your best accomplishment in your last job?
  • Where do you see yourself in three years?
  • Think about something you consider a failure in your life, and tell me why you think it happened.
  • How do you think you will fit into this operation?
  • If you were hired, what ideas/talents could you contribute to the position or our company?
  • Give an example where you showed leadership and initiative.
  • Give an example of when you were able to contribute to a team project.
  • What have you done to develop or change in the last few years?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
Questions to Ask Someone

During Networking Events or Meetings

If you are planning to attend a conference or have a business meeting with someone, then it would be best to prepare some answers for these questions or even use some of the questions to effectively network with professionals in your field. 

These questions are from the Harvard Law School, however, we though you could use some of these questions in other fields as well. 

  • What are your primary job responsibilities?
  • What experience did you have to get your job?
  • How long have you worked here?
  • What is your own background and experience?
  • What is a typical work day like?
  • How long is your work day?
  • How much variety is there in your work?
  • How much training/supervision do or did you receive?
  • How much client contact do you have?
  • How much contact and what kinds of interactions do you have with individuals or groups outside the office or organization?
  • Does your job require that you travel?
  • What do you like/dislike most about your work?
  • What are the toughest problems and decisions you handle?
  • What do you wish you had known about your position/the field before you started?
  • What type of professional and personal skills does it take to succeed at this type of work?
  • What is the size and makeup of your organization?
  • What is a typical starting salary for someone with my experience?
  • What do you see as the major issues/ trends in the field today?
  • What books or journals would you recommend that I read?
  • Which professional associations should I join?
  • Do you recommend that I enroll in any particular classes (clinical or otherwise)?
  • What opportunities for advancement are there in this organization or in the field?
  • What would be a typical next career move for someone in your position?
  • What recommendations do you have for me regarding a job search strategy?
  • What other people do you recommend that I talk with? May I tell them that you referred me to them?

Conclusion

We hope these questions are enough to help you start an interesting and meaningful conversations with someone. 

To briefly recap, we compiled several questions based on different occasions

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!

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