Questions - How in the Past Tense

Past Tense - Lesson #12

We can also make questions with the word "how". We use the word "how" in a few different ways.

1. Use "how" to ask for the method or way to do something. Use the same pattern as other question words.

How + did + subject + verb…?

A) How did you know the answer?
B) I studied very hard.

A) How did she get here?
B) She took the train.

2. Use "how" to ask about the quality or results of something.

How did your presentation go?
(=How was your presentation?)

A) How did your presentation go?
B) It went well.

A) How did you do on the test?
B) I did pretty well on the test.

A) How did you like the movie?
B) I liked it a lot.

3. Use "how often" to ask about the frequency of an action or event. These questions are asking about things that do not happen anymore. They happened in the past.

A) How often did you study at university?
B) I studied every day at university.

A) How often did you exercise last year?
B) Last year, I didn't exercise at all.

4. "How many" and "How much" are used to ask about a number or quantity. "How many" is used with count nouns. "How much" is used with non-count nouns.

How many/much + did + subject + verb…?

A) How many cookies did you buy?
B) I bought 10 cookies.

A) How much work did you finish yesterday?
B) I finished a lot of work yesterday.

Sometimes, a noun is not needed after "How much". The object is naturally understood, or it is asking for any basic measurement or quantity. Look at a few examples.

A) How much did you drink last night?
B) Nothing. I didn't drink at all.

A) How much did you eat?
B) I ate a lot.

A) How much did you think about it?
B) I thought about it a little bit.

A) How much did it cost?
B) It cost about $10.

5. If the noun is the subject of the sentence, then you do not need "did". Put the past tense verb after the subject. It is the same as when "who" is the subject of a sentence.

How many + subject + past tense verb….?

A) How many people came to the party?
B) Ten people came to the party.

A) How many students passed the test?
B) 20 students passed the test.

Look at the difference.

A) How many people did you call?
B) I called five people.

A) How many people called you?
B) Five people called me.

In the first question, "you" is the subject. In the second sentence, "people" is the subject.Practice these important questions more below and take the quiz at the bottom.

6. Use "How long" to ask about an amount of time. "How long" is the same as "How much time" or "How many + (unit of time).

How long + did + it + take + (subject) + infinitive…?

You can leave out the subject in many cases if it is a general question or the subject already known by both the speaker and listener.

A) How long did it take you to drive there?
B) It took me 4 hours.

A) How long did it take to finish the project?
B) It took a long time.

Example Questions
  • How did you know my name?
  • How did you make this necklace?
  • How did she finish on time?
  • How did Erin do on the test?
  • How did he forget his own name?
  • How did Jon's date go?
  • How did the project go?
  • How did it work?
  • How did they get here?
  • How did the children like the movie?
  • How did they like their hotel?

  • How often did you work late at your old company?
  • How often did you eat out last month?
  • How often did she have to write reports at her old job?
  • How often did Monica cry when she was young?
  • How often did he play sports when he was young?
  • How often did Mark study in high school?
  • How often did the computer break last week?
  • How often did it work?
  • How often did they order our products last year?
  • How often did the students complain about homework last year?

  • How many people did you invite to the party?
  • How many cookies did you buy?
  • How many people did she meet at the conference?
  • How many bags did Erin sell yesterday?
  • How many times did he call you last night?
  • How many hours did Ben watch TV yesterday?
  • How many times did it break yesterday?
  • How many buildings did the company construct last year?
  • How many countries did they travel last month?
  • How many times did Rebecca and Jason move last year?

  • How much of the work did you finish?
  • How much water did you buy at the store?
  • How much time did she spend on this project?
  • How much meat did Maia get at the butcher shop?
  • How much work did he give you yesterday?
  • How much time did Jon need to finish?
  • How much money did it cost?
  • How much time did it waste?
  • How much furniture did they buy last weekend?
  • How much damage did the children cause?

  • How much did Jon eat yesterday?
  • How much did you hear?
  • How much did it cost?
  • How much did it hurt?

  • How many people know him?
  • How many dogs lived on your farm when you were young?
  • How many people attended the meeting?
  • How many students came to the party?

  • How long did it take you to get here?
  • How long did it take to make all of this food?
  • How long did it take to find it?
  • How long did it take to walk around the lake?
English Conversation 1

A) How many people came to your party?
B) About 20 people came to my party. It was a perfect number.
A) I am sorry I couldn't come. I had to take care of my daughter.
B) Is everything okay?
A) Yes, everything is fine. She was a little sick on that day.

English Conversation 2

A) How often did you work late at your previous company?
B) I worked late every single day at my old company.
A) That is terrible. How do you like this job?
A) This job is much better. I worked late last night, but it was the first time this month.

Learn to speak English fluently with these simple exercises. Practice by finishing the questions below and then practice making your own questions. It is a great and simple way to learn English.

Tip: Say the questions aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your English fluency.

How did you _______________?
How did he _______________?
How often did you _______________ when you were in university?
How often did the company _______________ last year?
How did your mother _______________ when you were young?
How many times did you _______________ last year?
How many times did she _______________?
How much coffee did you _______________?
How many people _______________?
How much time did he _______________?
How long did it take you to _______________?