Say, you suddenly hear a sound,

Which is the most common question to ask?:

a) Do you hear the sound?
b) What makes the sound?
c) What is that sound?
d) What sound is it?
e) What sounds?

According to Ngram, What sounds and What is that sound? (dark green and light green lines respectively) seem to be the most common forms.

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1 Answer 1


From my experience, the following four would definitely be among the most common ways to say that and they probably would be at the very top of the list:

Did you hear that?

What was that?

What's that sound?

What's that noise?

  • can we change "What's that noise" to "What's that sound?" are they the same?
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 3:38
  • Yes, they're basically the same. Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 3:42

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