Merck Manual

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Testing a Person With Aphasia

Testing a Person With Aphasia

What Type of Aphasia

What the Person Has Trouble Doing

What the Doctor Might Ask

How a Person With Aphasia Might Answer*

Broca aphasia

Answers to questions are given hesitantly but are sensible.

“What is this a picture of?” (dog barking)

"D—d—d—dg, eh, no...d-d... damn...p-p-pet, yeah, yeah, pet, pet, pet...b—b—...makes noise.”

Wernicke aphasia

Answers to questions are given fluently but are nonsensical.

“How are you today?”

“When? Easy for my river runs black boxes wizzel abata on when boobles come.”

Conduction aphasia

Words, phrases, and sentences spoken or written by others cannot be repeated, and people often use the wrong words, although they can speak fluently.

Repeat the following: “No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

“No nifs nand nor but...”


Naming things is difficult.

“What is this?” (pointing to a jacket lapel, watch band, or pen)

“What you wear, thing for time, you write with it."

*Doctors can usually identify the type of aphasia based on how the person answers a few questions. The answers listed are typical for people who have a specific type of aphasia.