Interrogative Pronouns in English! An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun which is used to make asking questions easy. In this lesson, you will learn the definition and a useful list of interrogative pronouns with examples and ESL infographic.
Interrogative Pronoun Definition
Who, Whom, Which and What are Interrogative Pronouns as they are used to ask questions about a person or object that we do not know about. Compounds of these words are made by attaching ‘-ever’ to the words to strengthen the emphasis on the word.
Interrogative Pronouns List
- Which: When you have a limited choice
- What: Asking for general information
- Who: When asking about a person and name
- Whom: Use when asking about a person or name
- Whoever: Used for emphasis instead of “who” in questions, typically expressing surprise or confusion.
- Whichever: Used to emphasize a lack of restriction in selecting one of a definite set of alternatives; regardless of which.
Interrogative Pronoun Examples & Explanation
“Which one would you like?”
- Here, ‘which’ is being used to ask someone to make a choice between different things, instead of naming every single choice that is available.
“What is your name?”
- What is used to ask a personal noun that the speaker doesn’t know.
“Who will be managing the buffet?”
- Who is used to ask about a specific person related to a task.
“Whom did you tell about this?”
- Whom is showing/asking the person who was told something by ‘you’.
“Whoever could have done this?”
- Whoever is the compound of ‘Who’ and it is used here to emphasise the feeling of confusion in the sentence while still asking a question.
“Whichever one will you choose?”
- Whichever is used here to show strong emotion while asking a person’s choice.
In the case of Who and Whom:
- Who is always the subject of the verb. The emphasis is on the identity of the person who did the action.
- Who rang the bell? Here, we can see that the verb phrase rang the bell is secondary and the main emphasis is on the identity of the person ringing the bell.
- Whom is never the subject of the verb. It is used to show the person to or for whom the action is being done. In other words, it is the object of the verb.
- Whom were you meeting with? Here, we can see that the subject of verb or the person who was meeting someone is ‘you’. Whom is the object of the verb or the person ‘you’ were ‘meeting’.
Interrogative Pronoun | Infographic
Useful Interrogative Pronouns in English | Image