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Spanish interrogative pronouns

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Interrogative pronouns (pronombres interrogativos) are exclusively used in questions. 

Like in English, Spanish interrogative pronouns are generally placed at the very beginning or very near the beginning of a sentence. 

Examples: 

  • ¿Quién es él? (Who is he?)
  • ¿En qué piensas? (What are you thinking about?)

Interrogative pronoun list 

Interrogative pronounEnglish translationExample
adónde

 

where

to where

¿Adónde vas? (Where are you going?)

cómo

how¿Cómo estas? (How are you?)

SING: cuál 

PL: cuáles

which one

which ones

- ¿Cuál prefieres? (Which one do you prefer?)

- ¿Cuáles quieres? (Which ones do you want?)

cuándowhen?

- ¿Cuándo vas al gimnasio? (When do you go to the gym?)

- ¿Hasta cuándo te quedas en Valencia? (Until when are you staying in Valencia?)

SING: cuánto/cuántos

PL: cuánta/cuántas

how much?

how many?

- ¿Cuánto hay? (How much is there?)

- ¿Cuántos? (How many?)

dóndewhere?- ¿Dónde vives? (Where do you live?)
quéwhat?

- ¿Qué haces? (What are you doing?)

- ¿De qué estáis hablando? (What are you talking about?)

SING: quién 

PL: quiénes

who?

whom?

- ¿Quién es ese chico? (Who is that guy?)

- ¿Quiénes son Ustedes? (Who are you?)

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Difference between qué and cuál 

Generally, "¿qué?"  is closer to "what", and "¿cuál?" is closer to "which".

However, this rule is not always true.

Examples: 

  • QUÉ: ¿Qué te apetece cenar esta noche? (What do you want for dinner tonight?)
  • CUÁL: ¿Cuál es la playa más grande de Valencia? (Which is the biggest beach in Valencia?) 

enlightenedCuáles is the plural form of cuál. 

Example: 

¿Cuáles son tus libros favoritos? (What are your favourite books?) 

Structure

"¿Qué?"  is followed by a noun or a verb.

Example: 

  • VERB: ¿Qué quieres hacer? (What do you want to do?)
  • NOUN: ¿Qué móvil te has comprado? (Which mobile phone have you bought?)

"¿Cuál? is followed by a verb or the preposition "de".

  • VERB: ¿Cuál prefieres? (Which one do you prefer?)
  • DE: ¿Cuál de estos verbos es irregular? (Which one of these verbs is irregular?)

Uses

 QUÉCUÁL
When talking about somethingasking for the meaning of somethingasking for the name of something
Example¿Qué son las Fallas? (What Fallas are?)¿Cuáles son las fiestas típicas españolas? (Which are the typical Spanish festivals?)
When picking an element from a grouppicking an element from a diverse grouppicking an element from a homogeneous group
Example¿Qué le compramos, un reloj o un portátil? (What do we buy him? A watch or a laptop?)De todos estos dulces, ¿cuál prefieres? (Among all these sweets, which one do you prefer?)

The accent mark on interrogative pronouns 

Interrogative pronouns always carry the accent mark.

Many of the interrogative pronouns can also be used in indirect questions while retaining the accent mark.

Examples: 

  • DIRECT QUESTION: ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)
  • INDIRECT QUESTION: Estoy preocupada. No sé dónde está. (I am worried. I do not know where he is.)

Exercises

  1. Spanish interrogative pronouns practice quiz
  2. Spanish interrogative pronouns - Fill in the blanks
  3. Exercise on "¿Cuál?" VS "¿qué?"

Spanish interrogative pronouns practice quiz


Spanish interrogative pronouns - Fill in the blanks


Exercise on "¿Cuál?" VS "¿qué?"


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