Question Words in Spanish

Much like English, Spanish often makes it clear that a question is being asked by beginning the sentences with a "question word" like qué ("what"), or by using a word order that is not standard for direct statements.

Spanish, unlike English, signals questions by placing an upside-down question mark (¿) at the beginning of the sentence.

These are the question words, or interrogatives:
¿Quién(es)? = Who?
¿Qué? = What?
¿Cuándo? = When?
¿Dónde? = Where?
¿Adónde? = To where?
¿Porqué? = Why?
¿Cómo? = How?
¿Cuántos/as? = How many?
¿Cuánto/a? = How much?
¿Cuál(es)? = Which?

These words are so important to memorize!! You really can't have a conversation without them, can you?

Sometimes these words are translated by different words in English. You will be able to understand by the context.

Notice that all question words have an accent mark. This is to differentiate from their use in statements, where they are written without accents.

Also, notice that quién(es), cuántos/as, andcuánto/a agree in gender and/or number with the nouns they are asking about. So, if you are asking who a group of people are, use quiénes (because the people are plural); if you are asking how many flowers you have, use cuántas(because flores is feminine and plural.)

Typically, these question words are followed by verbs. In many cases, the question word serves as the subject of the sentence.

¿Dóndeestátu casa? (Where is your house?)
¿Quiénes son estásseñoras? (Who are those ladies?)
¿Cuándovamos a la escuela? (When are we going to school?
If the question needs to include a subject other than the question word, it comes after the verb.
¿Cuándovaella a la escuela? (When is she going to school?)
¿Cuántoscasastiene Donald Trump? (How many houses does Donald Trump have?)

In English, if we don't use a question word, we invert the subject and verb, putting the verb in front of the sentence. That is true in Spanish, as well, but Spanish can also be more flexible. The subject can come at a later point in the sentence, and it is still grammatically correct.
¿Tienequeir Lupe a la escuelatambién? (Does Lupe have to go to school, too?)
¿Está en el garaje mi coche? (Is my car in the garage?)

Spanish does not use any auxiliary verb (such as "do") to form questions - the exact same word forms are used in sentences, just the word order is different when forming a question.

As in English, it is possible to make a question simply by raising your tone at the end, without changing the words in anyway. Imagine how this sentence and question would be different.
éles professor. (He's a teacher.)
¿éles professor? (He's a teacher?)

Lastly, if only part of a sentence is a question, only put question marks around that part.
Me llamo José, ¿y tú? (My name is José, and you?)

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