LearnSigns 006: Question Words

Common questions words and phrases used in ASL.

  • Ask/Pray
  • Ask a question
  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • What for
  • When
  • Where
  • How
  • How much
  • How many
  • Which
  • Because
  • Answer

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Word Usage

Usage: Why

Why can be a question or a statement. If it is a question then it is signed like you would naturally think of the word why (touch your forehead with fingertips of the dominant hand and pull out to a y). However, when used as a statement it should be signed like reason (the sign for think or think with an R).

Question: “Why did you eat that?” That is a basic question and the word would be signed like normal.

Statement: “Helping others is why we are here.” Think about this statement like this: “Helping others is the purpose or reason we are here.”

Statement: “Do you know why we are here?” Here the word why is not used as a question (the question word is do). The word why is again used as a statement. This sentence could be signed: “Do you know the reason we are here?”

Many of the question words can also be used as statements. They have a different sign when used this way.