Interrogative Pronouns | Explore Definition, How to Use, Examples and Practice Worksheet

Human beings, both young and old, are inquisitive and love to discover new things every now and then. Asking questions might be one of the most enjoyable things they usually do. Interrogative pronouns help you with your undeniable curiosity. In this article, you will learn all about interrogative pronouns, their usage and the difference between interrogative pronouns and interrogative adjectives. With the examples and practice questions that are included in the article, you will be able to have a clear understanding.

In this article, the following points will be discussed:

What is an Interrogative Pronoun?

An interrogative pronoun, like the name suggests, is used to ask questions. It refers to something or someone. What, which, who, whom and whose are the five interrogative pronouns in the English language.

Definition of an Interrogative Pronoun

There is no particular definition as to what is an interrogative pronoun, but the Cambridge Dictionary defines the term ‘interrogative’ as ‘a word or sentence used when asking a question.’ According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word ‘interrogative’ is a ‘word (such as who, what, which) used in asking questions. So, in a nutshell, an interrogative pronoun is a pronoun that is used to substitute a person or an object when asking a question.

How to Use Interrogative Pronouns? – Points to Remember and Examples

Each of the interrogative pronouns is used to ask very specific questions (direct or indirect) about a particular something or someone. The interrogative pronouns – who, whom and whose refer only to people, whereas the interrogative pronouns – what and which can refer to things/objects or people. You would have noticed that the same words are also used as relative pronouns, often found in complex sentences.

To find out if the interrogative pronoun refers to the subject or the object, you can always try answering the question with the interrogative pronoun.

Example 1: Who was the keynote speaker?

Nick was the keynote speaker.

In the above example, Nick is the subject and the interrogative pronoun ‘who’ can therefore be said to be the subject pronoun.

Example 2: Whom did you speak to?

I spoke to Ms Claire.

In the above example, ‘Ms Claire’ is the object that the subject ‘I’ has spoken to. So it can be said that the interrogative pronoun ‘who’ is an object pronoun.

Example 3: Whose is this black bag?

It is mine.

In the above example, the pronoun ‘it’ refers to the black bag, and so it can be said that the interrogative pronoun ‘whose’ is an object pronoun.

The interrogative pronouns ‘what’ and ‘which’ can be used in multiple ways to refer to both people and things.

For example: What do you want? (Referring to an object)

What do you prefer? Tea or coffee? (Referring to an object)

What did you find on the porch? (Referring to an object)

What is your name? (Referring to a person)

Which is your favourite story? (Referring to an object)

Which is the guy you were talking to yesterday? (Referring to a person)

Which one of you did not do your homework? (Referring to a person)

Which one do you like better? The red one or the yellow one? (Referring to an

object)

Difference between an Interrogative Pronoun and an Interrogative Adjective

Like demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives, interrogative pronouns and interrogative adjectives differ based on the roles they play in a sentence. If the word is used to describe more about the noun in the sentence, it would be an interrogative adjective. On the other hand, if it is used to identify or substitute the noun that acts as the subject or object in a sentence, then it is an interrogative pronoun.

Interrogative Pronoun / Interrogative Adjective

Used as an Interrogative Pronoun

Used as an Interrogative Adjective

What

What are you looking for here?

What do you think about the dish?

Who

Who is the man who stole your purse?

Who’ cannot be used as an interrogative adjective as it always refers to people who are nouns that play the role of a subject or an object.

Whom

Whom did you bring along with you for the wedding?

Whom’ cannot be used as an interrogative adjective as it always refers to people who are nouns that play the role of a subject or an object.

Whose

So many of them had lost their phones that night. Whose did you find?

Whose acting did you like the most?

Which

Which is the book you read last month?

Which one did you decide to buy?

Test Your Knowledge of Interrogative Pronouns – Practice Worksheet

Try this interrogative pronouns worksheet to find out if you have clearly understood the usage of interrogative pronouns.

Identify the interrogative pronouns or interrogative adjectives in the following sentences:

1. Which of these flowers do you like?

2. Who is the guy standing next to Winston?

3. What food would you like to have?

4. Whose keys are these?

5. What are you holding in your hands?

6. Have you decided which movie to watch?

7. Who is your boss?

8. Would you mind telling me which article I should work on next?

9. What did Susan find in the box?

10. I was asking him whose phone that was.

Ready to find out how much you have learnt. Check your answers here.

1. Which of these flowers do you like? – Interrogative Adjective

2. Who is the guy standing next to Winston? – Interrogative Pronoun

3. What would you like to have? – Interrogative Pronoun

4. Whose keys are these? – Interrogative Adjective

5. What are you holding in your hands? – Interrogative Pronoun

6. Have you decided which movie to watch? – Interrogative Adjective

7. Who is your boss? – Interrogative Pronoun

8. Would you mind telling me which article I should work on next? – Interrogative Adjective

9. What did Susan find in the box? – Interrogative Pronoun

10. I was asking him whose phone that was. – Interrogative Adjective

Frequently Asked Questions on Interrogative Pronouns

What is an interrogative pronoun?

An interrogative pronoun, like the name suggests, is used to ask questions. It refers to something or someone. What, which, who, whom and whose are the five interrogative pronouns in the English language.

What is the definition of an interrogative pronoun?

There is no particular definition as to what is an interrogative pronoun, but the Cambridge Dictionary defines the term ‘interrogative’ as ‘a word or sentence used when asking a question.’ According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word ‘interrogative’ is a ‘word (such as who, what, which) used in asking questions. So, in a nutshell, an interrogative pronoun is a pronoun that is used to substitute a person or an object when asking a question.

How do we use interrogative pronouns in sentences?

Interrogative pronouns can be used to ask questions about people or things. The best way to identify if the interrogative pronoun is used correctly is to draw answers to the questions. If you have a noun or a pronoun that acts as a subject or object as your answer, that means you are using it right.

What is the difference between an interrogative pronoun and an interrogative adjective?

Like demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives, interrogative pronouns and interrogative adjectives differ based on the roles they play in a sentence. If the word is used to describe more about the noun in the sentence, it would be an interrogative adjective. On the other hand, if it is used to identify or substitute the noun that acts as the subject or object in a sentence, then it is an interrogative pronoun.

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