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Interrogative Pronouns

What Is an Interrogative Pronoun?

An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun which is used to make asking questions easy. There are just five interrogative pronouns. Each one is used to ask a very specific question or indirect question. Some, such as "who" and "whom," refer only to people. Others can be used to refer to objects or people. Once you are familiar with interrogative pronouns, you'll find that it's very easy to use them in a variety of situations.

Interrogative pronouns can also be used as relative pronouns, which may be found in questions or indirect questions. You'll know for certain that a pronoun is classified as an interrogative when it's used in an inquiring way, because interrogative pronouns are found only in question and indirect questions.

The five interrogative pronouns are what, which, who, whom, and whose.

  • What - Used to ask questions about people or objects. Examples:

    • What do you want for dinner?
    • I wonder what we're doing tomorrow.
    • What is your friend's name?
    • What time are we supposed to be there?
  • Which - Used to ask questions about people or objects. Examples:

    • Which color do you prefer?
    • Which of these ladies is your mother?
    • She asked which train to take.
    • Which seat would you like?
  • Who - Used to ask questions about people. Examples:

    • Who is that?
    • Who was driving the car?
    • I'm wondering who will be at the party.
    • Who is going to take out the trash?
  • Whom - This interrogative pronoun is rarely seen these days, but when it shows up, it is used to ask questions about people. Examples:

    • Whom did you speak to?
    • Whom do you prefer to vote for?
    • You should ask whom to call.
    • Whom do you live with?
  • Whose - Used to ask questions about people or objects, always related to possession. Examples:

    • Whose sweater is this?
    • Whose parents are those?
    • I wonder whose dog knocked our garbage can over.
    • Whose phone is that?

In some cases, interrogative pronouns take on the suffix –ever. A few can also take on the old-fashioned suffix –soever, which is rarely seen in writing these days. For example:

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

Interrogative pronouns are very easy to remember and use. Memorize them to make things even simpler.

Examples of Interrogative Pronouns

Sentences containing interrogative pronouns are always questions, so they always end with a question mark. In the following examples, interrogative pronouns have been italicized for ease of identification.

  1. What do you want for your birthday?
  2. Which shirt do you think looks better on me?
  3. Who do you think will win the playoff game?
  4. To whom are you speaking?
  5. Whose socks are those?