An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun that is used to ask questions and form an interrogative sentence. They can work as the subject or object of a sentence. In English grammar, there are five primary interrogative pronouns. They are: who, what, which, whom, and whose. All these interrogative pronouns replace unknown information (noun) about which the question is asked.
Examples of Interrogative Pronouns
Interrogative Pronouns are extensively used to ask direct, indirect, or reported questions as explained below.
Use of Interrogative Pronouns in Direct Questions
In direct questions, Interrogative Pronouns replace the person or things about which question is asked. Usually, Interrogative Pronouns come at the beginning of the interrogative sentence and acts either as subject or object.
Interrogative Pronouns are easy to identify in a sentence as it takes the grammatical function of nouns.
Some of the examples of Interrogative Pronouns asking direct questions are:
- Who all are coming to the match?
- What is my exact job role?
- Whose is this pen?
- What are you making for lunch?
- What is your favorite game?
- Who is playing that music?
- Whom do you wish to select?
- Whose is that mobile?
Using Interrogative Pronouns in Indirect Questions
Interrogative Pronouns find their application in indirect questions as well. In such cases, Interrogative Pronouns usually appear in the middle of a sentence. They are normally used to question in a polite way. For example:
- Can you tell me what we are doing here?
- Do you know who is that guy?
- Can you tell me whom have they called?
Use of Interrogative Pronouns in Reported Questions
Interrogative Pronouns can be used as reported questions in a sentence. They do not carry the question mark and used in indirect speech form. Some of the examples include:
- She wondered which option to choose.
- Julia asked whom to contact for the discussion.
- I want to know who that guy is.
Other Interrogative Pronouns
There are seven other interrogative pronouns in English grammar. They are used in formal English. These are whoever, whatever, whichever, whomever, whosoever, whatsoever, and whomsoever.
- Whatever did you say is not important?
- Whoever would belive such a story?
List of Interrogative Pronouns
From the above discussion, it is quite clear that there are 12 Interrogative Pronouns in the English language. They are:
- whatsoever, and
Interrogative Pronouns vs Interrogative Adjectives
From the above list, “whose, which, and what” are also used as interrogative adjectives by modifying nouns. So, users have to be careful in differentiating between the two. One rule to understand if it is an interrogative pronoun or adjective is to find if the question word is immediate followed by a noun it modifies. For example,
- Which movie is your favorite? In this example, which is modifying the noun movie. So, in this example, which is an interrogative adjective. Some of the examples are:
- What are you reading? (interrogative pronoun)
- What book are you reading? (interrogative adjective)
Interrogative Pronouns vs Relative Pronouns
In declarative sentences, “who, whom, which, whose, whatever, whoever, whichever” are also used as relative pronouns. In place of being associated with a question, relative pronouns clarify whom or what is sentence is talking about by providing extra information. Examples include,
- Whichever is the fastest route to reach Mumbai? (interrogative pronoun)
- Take whichever route is fastest to Mumbai. (Relative pronoun)
- The computer which belonged to Shyam is very old. (Relative pronoun)
Worksheets on Interrogative Pronouns
By now, you all are aware of the interrogative pronouns. So it’s time to solve some of the interrogative pronoun worksheets given below:
Q1. Fill in the blanks with correct interrogative pronouns.
- (_____) had drawn that picture?
- (_____) would you prefer to have at lunch?
- (_____) book is that?
- (_____) did you inform?
- To (_____) are you talking over the phone?
- (_____) do you feel will win the match?
- I wonder (_____) cat spread the food over there.
- (_____) is in a name?
- I want to know (_____) this is.
- Out of these, (_____) is yours?
Q2. Underline the interrogative pronoun in the below-mentioned sentences and indicate if that is a direct/indirect/or reported question.
- Do you know what she is doing here?
- She was wondering who will be present at the function.
- Whom did you ask regarding Madhu?
- Whoever would want to do such a nasty thing?
- Which one will you choose: apple or mango?
- He is confused regarding which is correct.
- Whatever could I have done to make you angry?
- Which the doctor will see first?
- They’re all fantastic! Whichever will you choose?
- You can choose whichever one you want.