Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative Pronouns are one of the seven types of pronouns. Pronouns which help to introduce/ask questions are called Interrogative pronouns.

Who, which, what, whose, whom (whom is the subject form of who) and how are Interrogative pronouns.

All interrogative pronouns begin with ‘Wh’. But, one should know that although words like where, why and when start with wh- they are not Interrogative pronouns.

We should note that these pronouns also can take suffix –ever. Whatever, whichever, whoever etc. are few such examples. Suffix is added to show emphasis or surprise.

These pronouns represent our queries and help to get answers.

Sometimes, Interrogative pronouns (whose, which and what) also act as determiners when they are followed by nouns. Determiners are words functioning in a noun phrase to identify a referent that is denoted without describing or modifying it. Therefore, at times when these interrogative pronouns act as determiners they are called Interrogative adjectives. Interrogative pronouns introduce noun clauses and play a subject role in the clauses they introduce.

The main five Interrogative Pronouns are:

  1. What
  2. Which
  3. Whose
  4. Whom
  5. Who

We should know that all these five words can also be used as relative pronouns. A relative pronoun can be found both in a statement and a question unlike an interrogative pronoun which can only be found in a question. Therefore, sentences having interrogative pronouns always end in question marks. Also, all these five words can be used as both subject and object.

Few Examples:

What is your name?

Who are you searching?

When is Raven leaving?

 

Let us understand them in detail:

What

The pronoun ‘What’ is used to denote animals and non-living things. We use this interrogative pronoun to get some specific answer.

Few Examples:

What are you complaining about?

What is in your bag?

What are you saying?


Which

The pronoun ‘which’ is also used to denote people but it is commonly used to denote animals and non-living things. It is also used to get some specific answer like we use what. But, we use ‘which’ when we want to get an answer from limited choices.

Few Examples:

Which is the correct answer among these?

Which is your pen?

Which student shouted at teacher?


Whose

The pronoun whose is used to refer people.

For Example:

Whose shirt is this?

Whose laptop is that?

Whose plan are we going to follow?


Whom

The pronoun ‘whom’ is used to denote people. It functions as an object of a verb or preposition.

Few Examples:

Whom are you going to scold in the class?

Whom shall she choose for our basketball team?

Whom are you going to trust?

 

Who

The pronoun ‘who’ is used to denote people. It mostly functions as a subject.

Few Examples:

Who is the honest clerk at office?

Who carried the water bottle?

Who broke the vase?