Generative AI is widely used by educators – a significant 94% of instructional designers (i.e. teachers) are already using it in their daily work, especially for creating content.

AI is filtering into the classroom via ChatGPT-created lessons and ideas.

Let’s be honest.

AI does it faster and more effectively.

Like a beautiful racehorse, AI has reins and it needs to be controlled to give the correct outcome. It will do the best job if you pull the reins (or ask questions) in the right way.

how to ask AI a question

Here, I explain how to ask AI a question to get exactly what you want, whether you are a teacher, student, or general ChatGPT user. I also tell you what NOT to do.

7 Tips For How to Ask AI a Question

I use ChatGPT all of the time for my blog, so I’ve learned some of the best ways to produce articles quickly without sounding like a bot.

Here are my top tips.  

1. Be Specific

Clearly state what you’re looking for. Being specific with your questions will help AI to give you more accurate and helpful information. Clarity ensures that AI understands exactly what information you’re seeking. Specificity helps in avoiding vague or broad interpretations of your question.

Bad Question: How do I Parent?

Good Question: Can you give me a list of 10 ways I can be a better parent?

how to be a better parent

To help you be more specific with your questions here is a list of do’s and don’ts.


Be clear

Include relevant details

Specify all the parameters you want


Ask vague questions

Assume AI understands your question’s context

Use jargon or abbreviations

Ask overly wordy or complex questions

2. Use Keywords

Include important words related to your question. Think about the key information you want, and make sure those words are in your question.

Consider using synonyms. AI understands synonyms, but it’s helpful to include alternative terms or phrases that describe the same concept. This increases the chances of having AI’s response be more comprehensive.

If a response isn’t as helpful, I often rephrase the question using a synonym for the keyword or topic my question is focused on.

Before asking your question, identify the key concepts or main ideas you want information about. These are the words that capture the essence of your query.

For example, you may want help with becoming a more efficient student. Your keywords could be student efficiency strategies or time management as a student.

Good Question: Can you explain the ways I can learn testing skills and suggest effective test-taking strategies?

Bad Question: Help me be a better test taker.

take a test

By incorporating relevant keywords, you provide AI with the necessary context to generate more accurate and tailored responses. It’s like giving the system signposts to guide it toward the specific information you’re looking for.

3. One At A Time

Ask one question at a time. It helps AI provide more focused and accurate responses. If you have more questions, ask them separately.

Even if the questions are related it is better to ask them one at a time. 

The answer you receive from your first question may also help you formulate a better second question with more context.

Asking one question at a time allows AI to learn more effectively. It can associate your input with a specific response, contributing to the system’s learning process and improving future interactions.

Just think of it like a young child in the classroom. A teacher cannot effectively help a child who asks a dozen questions at once. Slowing down and asking one question at a time will help both the one asking the question and the one answering to have a clearer mind so that helpful answers are delivered.

Good Question: Why do kids ask so many questions?” Wait for a response…then ask, “How can I answer my students’ questions better?

Bad Question: Why do kids ask so many questions and how can I better answer their questions?

kids asking questions

4. Provide Context

Add as much context to your question as you can. Explain the reason behind your question if you want a more relevant answer.

Just think of it like having your child come to you and ask you to help them get their toy back from their sibling. You would want to know a little bit more about the situation before you immediately intervened.

If your child were to give you more context as to what happened and how it made them feel you would be much better equipped to intervene in the situation effectively.

Good Question: I am struggling to get my kids to listen without yelling at them, what are some resources to help me?

Bad Question: How do I stop shouting?

stop shouting

5. Specify Answer Type

Let ChatGPT know if you want a short answer, a detailed explanation, or maybe even a fun fact. Being clear about your expectations helps tailor the response to exactly what you want.

For example, you can ask AI to help you write an introduction for an essay with details about the tone, word count, and reading level you want.

Good Question: Can you help me create an outline for a lesson plan for my first-grade class? It needs to be a 30 minute class on the topic of early American History, and should contain fun facts and activities.

Bad Question: Can you help me create a lesson plan about history for my students?

lesson plan

6.  Practice

I’ve become really good at knowing how to ask AI a question just because I do it daily. The more you practice, the better you get.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with different phrasings. If you’re not getting the desired response, try rephrasing or providing additional information.

You can even ask AI how to phrase your question better so you can get a response that fully answers your question.

7. Use Conversational Tone

Instead of treating an AI chatbot like Google, treat AI like a real person and have a conversation with it. This will help you get more accurate answers.

Don’t be surprised if AI asks you questions back to help clarify your question. 

more positive kids

Key Considerations For How to Ask AI a Question

When trying to ask AI a question it is important to remember that there are lots of platforms, some of which are better than others

ChatGPT uses generative AI and uses natural language processing so that you can ask it a question in ‘natural’ human language without having to code or use AI algorithms.


What Are The Different Kinds of AI?

When it comes to asking questions, Narrow AI is typically what you’ll interact with. Narrow AI is designed for a specific task.

It excels in a particular area and is great for answering specific questions or performing tasks within its designed scope. Within Narrow AI, there are specialized systems for different purposes. For example:

  • Chatbots: These are great for casual conversations and general queries. They often use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand and respond. ChatGPT is an example of a chatbot. This is the most common type of AI you will be asking questions to and having discussions with. Hence the name chatbot.
  • Search Engines: While not traditional AI, search engines like Google use AI algorithms, or a set of rules, to understand your questions and provide a relevant response.
  • Virtual Assistants: As mentioned earlier, virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa fall under Narrow AI and can be excellent for answering specific questions or performing tasks.

The best AI for asking questions depends on your specific needs. If you’re looking for general information, a search engine might be your go-to. For more interactive and conversational experiences, chatbots and virtual assistants are designed to engage in dialogue and provide information.

What Are Questions That AI Can’t Answer?

Here are five examples of types of questions that AI can’t answer:

  1. Subjective Opinions:
    • Example: “What is the best children’s book of all time?”
    • Explanation: AI doesn’t have personal opinions, so questions seeking subjective preferences or judgments are beyond its capabilities.
  2. Future Predictions:
    • Example: “What will the stock market look like next year?”
    • Explanation: AI cannot predict future events. AI responses are based on existing knowledge up to its last training cut-off, which is January 2022 for ChatGPT.
  3. Personal Information:
    • Example: “What is my neighbor’s phone number?”
    • Explanation: AI must respect privacy and cannot provide personal information about individuals unless it’s publicly available.
  4. Ethical or Moral Judgments:
    • Example: “Is it morally right to lie in certain situations?”
    • Explanation: AI doesn’t have personal beliefs or ethical values. Questions seeking moral judgments are better suited for individual reflection or discussions with trusted friends. 
  5. Highly Specialized or Niche Knowledge:
    • Example: “Provide the exact specifications of a classified military aircraft.”
    • Explanation: AI doesn’t have access to classified information or highly specialized, confidential, or proprietary knowledge.

It’s important to note that while AI strives to provide accurate and helpful information, there are limitations to the types of questions it can answer. Always consider the context and ethical considerations when seeking information.


Give these tips a try, and you’ll be getting even better answers from AI in no time.

AI will save you so much time and help you find answers to many questions you may have.

The better you know how to ask AI a question the more benefit you will get out of using AI. As AI becomes more and more a part of our lives it will become much more important to know how to use it and rein it in like that beautiful racehorse.   

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