What are Interrogative Pronouns
Before discussing ‘what are interrogative pronouns’, let us first see what pronouns are. A pronoun is a word that is used to replace a noun. Interrogative pronouns are pronouns that are used to ask questions. In a question, the interrogative question represents the unknown factor; it represents the thing that the question is about.
There are five main interrogative pronouns, and each one of them is used to ask a specific question. They are what, which, who, whose and whom. Sentences that contain interrogative pronouns are always questions and end with question marks.
Examples of Interrogative Pronouns
What is your favorite song?
What has happened to you?
What did you do?
Which is the best option out of these four?
Which is worse, losing honestly or cheating?
Which is the correct answer, A or B?
Who called you?
Who do you think will get the award?
Who is looking after your daughter?
Whom will she marry?
Whom did you kill?
To whom am I speaking?
Whose did they take?
There are only two books; whose is missing?
Whose is this?
We can create additional interrogative pronouns by adding the suffix –ever.
E: Whoever, Whatever, Whichever, Whomever
These pronouns can be used to show emphasis or surprise.
Wherever did you park my park?
Whoever told you that?
Whenever did you arrive?
It is important to notice that some interrogative pronouns can belong to other grammatical classifications as well. If you observe the following questions carefully, you’ll note that these words can have different functions.
Whose key is missing?
Which house is better?
In the above sentences, the underlined words act as interrogative adjectives since they modify the nouns key and house. Therefore, they cannot be termed as interrogative pronouns in the above sentences. What, Which and whose are the three interrogative pronouns that also function as interrogative adjectives.
In addition, which can also act as a relative pronoun. For example,
He took me to a café which served excellent coffee.
Read the following sentences and try whether you can identify the interrogative pronouns.
- When did he call?
- What made you suspect him?
- Which one are you going to buy?
- Whoever told you that lie?
- Whose bicycle is this?
- Which is the best option?
- What happened to your brother?
- However did you escape?
(Sentences 1,4,6 and 7 are the only questions that contain interrogative pronouns.)
Interrogative Pronouns – Summary
- An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun that helps to make questions easily.
- Sentences that contain interrogative pronouns are always questions.
- There are five main interrogative pronouns: what, who, which, whose, whom
- Additional interrogatives can be created by adding the suffix –ever to the main interrogatives.
- Which, What and Whose can also function as interrogative adjectives.
- Which can function as an interrogative pronoun, interrogative adjective as well as a relative pronoun.