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Using Spanish Interrogatives

Written by tutor Luz L.

One of the challenges many beginner students face when trying to ask questions in Spanish is that beside using an inverted question mark at the beginning of each question, there are several ways to ask the same question, and that the subject and the verbs are inverted.

Like in English, in Spanish you can ask questions by adding a confirmation statement at the end of the sentence.

Examples:

¿Jorge habla español?                Does Jorge speak Spanish?
¿Habla Jorge español? Does Jorge speak Spanish?
¿Habla español Jorge? Does Jorge speak Spanish?


Jorge habla español, ¿no?                 Jorge speaks Spanish, doesn’t he?
Jorge habla español, ¿verdad? Jorge speaks Spanish, right?

Other words (accent mark required) used with interrogatives are:

¿Dónde? Where?
¿De dónde? From where?
¿Cómo? How?
¿Cuál (-es)? What or which?
¿Cuándo? When?
¿Qué? What?
¿De qué? Of what?
¿Quién (-es)? Who?
¿A quién (-es)?       To who?

Other examples- see how the subject and verbs are in reverse order, the subject comes after the verb.

¿Qué come Rosa? What does Rosa eat?
¿Cuándo estudian ustedes?      When do you (all) study?
¿Dónde está tu perro? Where is your dog?
¿Cuánto cuesta la mesa? How much does the table cost?
¿De dónde es Manuel? Where is Manuel from?
¿Cómo está usted? How are you?

There are two different ways to use “cual” and “cuales”:

1-If used with a verb, it means what:

¿Cuál es tu nombre?       What is your name?

2-If it indicates a choice, it means which:

¿Cuáles son tus platillos favoritos?      What (Which) are your favorite dishes?

Put “de” in front of quién and it means whose:

¿De quién es este vestido? Whose dress is this?
¿De quiénes son estas bolsas?       Whose bags (or purses) are these?

More examples of forming questions:

¿Cuándo vamos a comer?      When are we eating? Or, when are we going to eat?
¿Qué piensas? What do you think?
¿Qué haces? What are you doing? Or, what do you do?
¿Quién es Julieta? Who is Julieta?
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