Spanish Question Words

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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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 as well as one at the end.
    • For example: ¿Cómo estás?
    • For example: ¿Cuándo es la fiesta?
  • 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:

SpanishEnglish
¿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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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
Writing:
I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
Reading:
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
Listening:
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.