Using an ontology to automatically generate questions for ordinary people requires a structure and concepts compliant with human thought. Here we present methods to develop a pragmatic, expert-based and a basic-level ontology and a framework to evaluate these ontologies. Comparing these ontologies shows that expert-based ontologies are most easy to construct but lack required cognitive semantic characteristics. Basic-level ontologies have structure and concepts which are better in terms of cognitive semantics but are most expensive to construct. © 2014 - IOS Press and the authors.