Interrogative pronouns

Interrogative pronouns assist in forming questions.

There are five interrogative pronouns. Each one is used to ask a specific question or indirect question.

  • what
  • which
  • who
  • whom
  • whose

Interrogative pronouns 2

What

We use ‘what’ to ask questions about people or things (objects):

  • What is your name?
  • What are your eating?
  • What is the capital of Brazil?
  • What is your sister’s name?

Which

Used to ask questions about people or things (objects) when a choice between two or more options is given or a number of items or responses is expected.

  • Which books did you read when you were at school?
  • Which colour do you prefer – red or blue?
  • Which is faster – a lion or a panther?
  • Which sports do you play?

Who

Who is used to ask questions about people

  • Who wants ice-cream?
  • Who is that woman dressed in black?
  • Who wrote ‘War and Peace’?
  • Who is he married to?

Whom

Whom is used when we refer to the object or a verb or preposition. (see the Quick Tip Video). Although it is used less and less in spoken English it is worth understanding its use in written English.

  • Whom did you talk to at the meeting?
  • To whom is that letter addressed?
  • Ask the receptionist whom to contact.
  • Whom does Maria live with?

Whose

Whose is used to ask questions about possession.

  • Whose keys are these?
  • I didn’t see whose car it was that was damaged in the accident.
  • Whose dog is that outside the shop?
  • Do you know whose number I should call?

Interrogative pronouns + suffix ‘-ever‘ or ‘-soever

  •  

Interrogative pronouns sometimes take the suffix –ever or –soever (not often used in contemporary English).

For example:

  • Whatever
  • Whatsoever
  • Whichever
  • Whoever
  • Whosoever
  • Whomever
  • Whomsoever
  • Whosever

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