What’s happening? And other questions obligating complete sentences as responses

Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Harriet B. Klein, Danielle Brates, Nelson Moses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to examine the strength of question types to obligate complete responses from children, and the effect of age and play context. Participants were typically developing children (mean ages 2;8, 3;4 and 4;7), who engaged in play with three speech-language pathologists in play contexts. Questions posed to the children were coded by semantic content (Epistemic, Procedural Action, External State, and Causal). Children’s responses were coded for syntactic complexity (complete or incomplete sentences). The effect of question type on response was analysed. All questions yielded high proportions of complete responses, which increased with age. There were no statistically significant differences between question type and completeness of response except for a significant difference found for External State when multi-verb responses were analysed. The results support the use of these question types in play settings with children to promote expression of complete sentences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalChild Language Teaching and Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • children
  • language sampling
  • typical development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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