List of Spanish Question Words: Practice & Uses

List of Spanish Question Words: Practice & Uses
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  • 0:05 What Are Interrogatives?
  • 0:38 Question Words in Spanish
  • 5:11 Review of Question Words
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Garcias-Casas
In this lesson, we will look at the interrogatives, or question words, in Spanish. These are the building blocks to start forming and asking questions. We will follow Juan as he searches for the museum, asking many questions along the way.

What Are Interrogatives?

In this lesson we are going to talk about interrogatives, or question words. These words are essential in forming open-ended questions. Let's look at the 5 W's and their Spanish counterparts:

Who? - Quién?

What? - Qué?

When? - Cuándo?

Where? - Dónde?

and

Why? - Por qué?

We are going to learn these, as well as:

How? - Cómo?

and

How much? - Cuánto?

and more as we start our lesson on the Spanish interrogatives.

What Are the Question Words in Spanish?

Meet Juan. He just flew in from Mexico and is ready to explore the city. Map and camera in hand, he sets off in search of the art museum.

After a bit of walking, Juan begins to think he is lost, and he asks someone, 'Dónde está el museo?'

Dónde? - Where?

Juan continues walking, but still doesn't find the museum. As he is looking at a map, a woman approaches him and asks, 'Adónde va señor?' ('Sir, where are you going?')

'Al museo.' ('To the museum.')

'¡Yo también!' ('Me too!')

Adónde? - Where to?

Since they are both heading to the museum, they decide to go together. She asks Juan, 'Cómo te llamas?' ('What's your name?')

'Me llamo Juan.? Y usted?' ('My name's Juan. And you?')

'Me llamo Sandra. De dónde es?' ('My name's Sandra. Where are you from?')

De dónde? - Where from?

'Soy de México.' ('I'm from Mexico.')

Before Juan and Sandra enter the museum, let's take a quick look at the three question words that include dónde. We use 'Dónde?' by itself to ask about location. Juan wanted to know the location of the museum. For 'Adónde?' we add the 'a,' which means 'to' - and it changes the meaning to ask about destination.

Sandra asked Juan about the direction he was going, or his destination. Finally, she asked him, 'De dónde?' As we learned in another lesson, 'De dónde?' asks about origin. The 'de' asks 'from.' Juan tells Sandra he is from Mexico.

Juan and Sandra finally have made it to the museum, and they are ready to buy their tickets. When they get up to the counter, the man asks them 'Cuántas personas?' ('How many people?')

Instead of asking how many people, he could have also asked how many tickets: 'Cuántos billetes?' ('How many tickets?')

Cuántas? and Cuántos? ('How many?')

Juan responds, 'Dos personas. Cuánto cuesta?' ('Two people. How much does it cost?')

'5 dólares.' ('5 dollars.')

Cuánto? - How much?

Now Juan and Sandra are ready to start their museum tour. They have joined the group as their tour guide starts: '¡Buenas tardes! 'Cómo están ustedes?' ('Good afternoon! How are you all doing?')

'Bien. Así así. ¡Muy bien!' ('Good. So so. Very good!')

Cómo? - How?

They have started their tour and Juan becomes interested in a painting. Juan asks the tour guide, 'Quién lo pintó?' ('Who painted it?')

Quién? - Who?

'Da Vinci.'

If we wanted to ask 'who,' but referring to two or more people, we would use Quiénes?

Juan is busy examining the painting when he realizes his tour group is long gone! He quickly walks through the galleries when a museum security guard asks him, 'Señor, con quién va?' ('Sir, with whom are you going?')

We add the 'con,' which means 'with,' to quién, and we have Con quién?, which means, 'With whom?' Juan frantically searches for his group, and then spots them and tells the security guard, '¡Con ese grupo!' ('With that group!')

He finally catches up to the group, and they have stopped in front of two paintings. The tour guide asks, 'Cuál pintura es de Picasso?' ('Which painting is by Picasso?')

Cuál? - Which?

'¡Correcto!' ('Correct!')

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