yes or no question

Flooooooooor

Senior Member
English - USA
Hi all,

English has a term for close-ended questions that expect one of only two possible answers: "yes" and "no".

"Did Harry ever speak with you about the new policy?" O
"What is your favorite color?" X

English speakers, including children, call these types of questions "yes or no questions" and use this term in daily life, such as when playing riddle-based games like 20 questions.

A: "Ask me a yes or no question."
B: "What is your favorite color?"
A: "That's no a yes or no question!"

There are clearly ways to describe these types of questions in Korean also. The Korean page for 20 questions describes them as "예·아니오로 대답할 수 있는" 질문, but I am curious if there is a set phrase used daily life that refers to this kind of question. Thanks for any thoughts!

As a followup: Even if there is no set term for "yes or no questions" in Korean, I assume that native speakers are familiar with the difference between them and open-ended questions that start with "who", "what", "when", and so on. Native speakers, if you for some reason wanted to talk about these two types of questions at a casual setting like a restaurant with some friends, how would you naturally describe them?
 
  • pcy0308

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello Flooooooooor,
    Yes, there definitely exists a Korean equivalent of 20 questions: "스무고개". Literally translated, it means "20 hills" (each question "metaphorically" expressed as a hill). As for your question concerning close-ended questions, the closes equivalent in Korean would be either "폐쇄성 질문" or "단답형 질문". Of course you could literally translate it as "예, 아니오 질문", and whoever you are talking to will get your point across though it may just be a jumble of words directly translated into Korean. "단답형 질문" literally is in fact translated as "short-answer question", so "폐쇄성 질문" would be the closest and the most accurate Korean equivalent. Hope this helps.
     

    Flooooooooor

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Hi pcy0308,

    Thank you for this explanation. As a follow-up, could terms like 개방성 질문 or 장답형 질문 be used to express open-ended questions and long-answer questions? These are just my guesses for picking opposite-sounding words, so these might not be the true terms that native speakers use.
     
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    pcy0308

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello Flooooooooor,
    A quick search on Naver yields "개방질문" is the actual term used. "장답형 질문" is also used but not all too frequently. I'd say for questions without much restriction of word count (or those that necessitate yes or no response), "주관식 질문" will do the trick. Hope this helps.
     
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