Spanish Question Words

Beginner Spanish - Level A1

Overview

How do question words or interrogatives work in Spanish? The answer to that question, fortunately, is not too complicated. Let's start answering it by looking at the different types of questions.

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Spanish A1

 

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Spanish Question Words

Are you always seeking answers to questions like: Who? What? When? Where? Why? Take a look below to find out how to use these interrogative words in Spanish to find out the details of life that you need to know!

Using interrogative words in Spanish is very similar to the way we use them in English. Here are a few key points to remember when using question words in Spanish:

  • Word order of interrogative sentences in Spanish: interrogative word + verb + subject
  • To indicate that you are asking a question when speaking, you will raise the tone of your voice at the end of the question.
  • To indicate that you are asking a question when writing, you will use an upside-down question mark at the beginning of the question. For example: ¿Cómo estás?
  • When writing these words, remember that their accents must be used when they are written in an interrogative statement.
Take a look at the Spanish interrogative words below:

 

Spanish

English

¿Qué?

What?

¿Quién? (singular)

¿Quiénes? (plural)

Who?

¿Cómo?

How?

¿Cuál? (singular)

¿Cuáles? (plural)

Which?

¿Cuánto(a)? **this interrogative word
agrees in gender with the noun it describes.

How much?

¿Cuántos(as)? )? **this interrogative word
agrees in gender with the noun it describes.

How many?

¿Cuándo?

When?

¿Dónde?

Where?

¿Por qué?

Why?

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To write a question in Spanish, the sentence’s content should be placed within two question marks. At the beginning of the sentence, place an upside question mark and a right-side up at the end.

            Example: ¿Dónde estás?    Where are you?

                            ¿Por qué?            Why?

To indicate your desire to dictate a question in Spanish, make your voice higher at the end of a sentence. (This corresponds to speaking and question formations in spoken English)

 

Easiest Questions to Answer: One Word Response

 

In Spanish, simple statements can be transformed into questions that can give a one-word or simple response (yes, no, maybe, I don’t know). As a beginning Spanish speaker, you will use these the most. However, it is important to understand that some questions indicate a more detailed response.

 

How do you do this?

  • Writing: place question marks around the statement.
  • Speaking: change your tone of voice to a higher octave towards the end of the sentence,

Te gusta el queso.       You like cheese.             ¿Te gusta el queso?         Do you like cheese?           

El habla ingles.           He speaks English.         ¿El habla ingles?            Does he speak English?  

 

Spanish

English

Yes

No

No

Quizás

Maybe

No sé

I don't know

 

The way in which Spanish questions can be re-ordered can shift depending on what words you would like to emphasize. However, the order above is easiest for beginners.

Basic Questions                                                                            

Spanish

English

Qué

What

Quién

Quiénes

Whom

Cómo

How

Cuál

Cuáles

Which/ What

Cuánto/a

Plural Cuántos/as

How many

Cuando

When

Dónde

Where

Por qué

Why

Para qué

Why

 

These question words indicate a necessity for a longer/ more in-depth answer. Unlike the information above, the speaker should give more detail in their response to such questions.

 

Syntax and Correctly Forming a Basic Question in Spanish

Question Word + Verb + Subject + (Object)

English: Where is the house?

Spanish: ¿Dónde (question word) está (verb) la casa (subject)

English: When is the event?

Spanish: ¿Cuándo (question word) es (verb) el evento (subject)?

As you can tell in the Basic Questions chart, some sentences require your question word to match plurality of the subject.

 

How to ASK QUESTIONS in Spanish Question words Interrogative Pronouns in Spanish

Let’s practice!

Fill in the blanks below with the appropriate interrogative word below. Remember you must use the accents on these words when used in questions for them to be correct! Click READ MORE below for the answer key!

  1. ¿__________ carros hay en el garaje? (How many cars are in the garage?)
  2. ¿__________ es el profesor de Español? (Who is the Spanish professor?)
  3. ¿__________ casa es suya? (Which house is yours?)
  4. ¿__________ día es hoy? (What day is it?)
  5. ¿__________ está el baño? (Where is the bathroom?)
  6. ¿__________ cuestan los pantalones? (How much do the pants cost?)
  7. ¿__________ no le gustan los animals? (Why don’t you like animals?)
  8. ¿__________ es tu cumpleaños? (When is your birthday?
  9. ¿__________ son las comidas más saludables en el menú? (Which are the most healthy foods on the menu?)
  10. ¿__________ son sus mejores amigos? (Who are your best friends?)

Answer key: 1. ¿Cuántos?, 2. ¿Quién?, 3. ¿Cuál?, 4. ¿Qué?, 5. ¿Dónde?, 6. ¿Cuánto?, 7. ¿Por qué?, 8. ¿Cuándo?, 9. ¿Cuáles?, 10. ¿Quiénes?

  1. Which word means “how” in Spanish?
    1. Cómo
    2. Dónde
    3. Por Qué
    4. Qué

     

  2. Do question words require a one-word response?
    1. Yes
    2. No

     

  3. What the order taught for structuring a basic Spanish question?
    1. Question Word + Subject + Verb
    2. Subject + Verb + Question Word
    3. Verb + Subject + Subject
    4. Question Word + Verb + Subject

     

  4. _____ Cómo te llamas?
    1. !
    2. ¿
    3. ¡
    4. ?

     

  5. How do transform a basic, declarative sentence into a basic question in Spanish?
    1. Heighten your tone at the beginning of the sentence
    2. Heighten your tone at the end of the sentence
    3. Lower your tone at the beginning of the sentence
    4. Lower your tone at the end of the sentence

     

    Match the Correct Spanish Question Word to the English Phrase

     

  6. How do you say churro? A. Dónde
  7. Where is Sara?B. Cómo
  8. How many friends do you have?C. Quién
  9. When is the birthday party?D. Cuando
  10. Who is she?E. Cuántos

Answers:

1. A, 2. B, 3. D, 4. B, 5. B., 6. B., 7. A, 8. E, 9. D., 10. C.

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