Please, explain the difference of meaning between these questions.

  1. Where did she go?

  2. Where is she?

How can I explain the difference between them to my student?

  • 2
    The title is almost meaningless and far too vague for future visitors. Please see this guide which explains why a good title is useful for you, the asker, and for users who enjoy answering questions. meta.ell.stackexchange.com/questions/2630/… I would strongly suggest that you change the question title to something more specific. P.S. You also forgot to write she with a small letter.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:52
  • what title would be more appropriate please?
    – ms.crystal
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:56
  • 2
    Well... the one that I had suggested in my edit before you reverted it back. You also changed the personal pronoun in Q2. it's now a "he", before it was a "she"! Not that it makes a huge difference but... still.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:57

4 Answers 4


To explain your student the difference in meaning, compare the following

  1. Where was she?
  2. Where is she?

Question no.1 refers to a particular time in the past, the speaker does not know where the person was. In theory, "was" could refer to any time in the past, but context will tell us if the speaker is talking about ten minutes or ten years ago.

Question no.2 refers to the present, i.e., "now". The speaker does not know the whereabouts of a person at the time of speaking. "She" is not here.

3. Where does she go?
4. Where did she go?

Question 3 is most likely referring to somebody's daily routine e.g.,
Where does she go [on Saturday(s)]?

Question 4 refers to an episode in the specific past that the speaker has in mind e.g.,
Where di she go [on Saturday]?

However, questions 2 and 4 can be used in an everyday situation as shown below

Alice: Is Fiona around?
Bob: No, she's not
Alice: Where is she?
Bob: Out. I saw her leaving.
Alice: Where did she go?
Bob: She didn't say.


Both questions are used when she is not nearby and you're wondering where she is, however there are differences

A) Where did she go?

You know she went to a particular destination and you want to know what the destination was

B) Where is she?

She is at some location, maybe moving to some other place or maybe stationary, and you want to know where she is

If you know A you might ask about B
You may know where she is going (A), but not where she is right now (B).

If you know B you might ask about A
You may know where she is right now (A) but not where she is going (A).

If you know A and B, you can know how far she has travelled towards her destination.
If you don't know either A or B, you're out of luck...


I think

where is she?

means its state.

where did she go?

means its action basically. (The tense doesn't matter here)


Where is she?

Is time specific to now.

Where did she go?

Is not time specific, except that it is in the past. It could be today, yesterday, or last year.

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