Interrogative pronouns assist in forming questions.
There are five interrogative pronouns. Each one is used to ask a specific question or indirect question.
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?
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 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 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 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).