Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions, Premium 3rd Edition (2016)
Part I. PRONOUNS
Chapter 2. Interrogative pronouns
The interrogative pronoun is used to ask a specific type of question. The answer sought is a noun or pronoun (naming either a person or a thing): “Who is in the soundproof booth?” “To whom did you send the poison pen letter?” “Whose dog did this?” “What is this?” “Which do you prefer?”
In Spanish, ¿Qué? often precedes a noun, and ¿Cuál? often precedes a verb or a prepositional phrase. Note that all Spanish interrogative pronouns, with the exception of ¿Qué?, have both a singular and a plural form. The verb must agree in number with this form.
Who? ¿Quién? ¿Quiénes?
When your question is about people, and the answer you seek involves a name or names, you ask “Who?”, as in “Who has the cat? John has the cat.” (“John” is the subject of the answer.) In these cases, in Spanish, use ¿Quién? (or ¿Quiénes? when you are seeking the names of two or more people).
With ser [sing.]
With ser [pl.]
Traducción Translate the following questions into Spanish.
1. Who is she? _________________________________________
2. Who are they [m.]? _________________________________________
3. Who are you [sing.]? _________________________________________
4. Who am I? _________________________________________
5. Who works here? _________________________________________
6. Who watches television? _________________________________________
7. Who speaks Spanish here? _________________________________________
8. Who doesn’t live here? _________________________________________
9. Who writes the book? _________________________________________
10. Who is your friend? _________________________________________
Whom? ¿A quién? ¿A quiénes?
To ask the name of a person who is the recipient of an action (as the direct object of the verb), use “Whom?”, as in the sentence “Whom do you love?” The personal a must be included before the interrogative pronoun ¿quién? (or ¿quiénes? if you suspect that the answer involves more than one name).
Note that the structure for use of the interrogative pronoun is parallel to that of the answer, where the a in the sentence Veo a Pedro Morales is the personal a.
To ask the name of a person who is the indirect recipient of an action (expressed as the object of a preposition), use the preposition a (“to”), as in the sentence “To whom are you writing?” The preposition a (“to”) must be included before the interrogative pronoun ¿quién? (or ¿quiénes?).
The structure for use of the interrogative pronoun is parallel to that of the answer here as well, because the a in the sentence Escribo a Pedro y a Manolo represents the English preposition “to.”
NOTE The personal a is not used with the verbs ser, estar, and tener.
Traducción For the following translations, use the second-person singular form of the present tense verb.
1. Whom [sing.] do you love? _________________________________
2. Whom [sing.] do you see (ver)? _________________________________
3. Whom [sing.] are you watching (mirar)? _________________________________
4. Whom [pl.] are you watching? _________________________________
5. For whom [sing.] are you looking (buscar)? _________________________________
6. For whom [pl.] are you looking? _________________________________
7. To whom [sing.] do you listen? _________________________________
8. To whom [pl.] do you listen? _________________________________
9. Whom [sing.] do you know (conocer)? _________________________________
10. Whom [pl.] do you know? _________________________________
Whose? ¿De quién? ¿De quiénes?
In English, to identify the owner of something, you ask “Whose?” In Spanish, use the phrase ¿De quién? (or ¿De quiénes? if you think that the answer involves more than one name). In simple questions, the phrase—usually followed by a form of ser—is uncomplicated.
However, the use of the phrase does not translate directly in more complicated questions, and it is necessary to rephrase the question. For example, “Whose grandmother lives here?” becomes ¿De quién es la abuela que vive aquí?(literally, “Of whom is the grandmother that lives here?”).
Traducción Translate each of the following questions from English to Spanish, using singular interrogative pronouns unless otherwise indicated. The Spanish syntax is given in parentheses after the question.
1. Whose car is this? (Of whom is this car?)
2. Whose keys (la llave) are on the table? (Of whom are the keys that are on the table?)
3. Whose [pl.] cars are dirty? (Of whom are the cars that are dirty?)
4. Whose [pl.] children [f.] are reading these books? (Of whom are the children that are reading these books?)
5. Whose cat is drinking (beber) the milk? (Of whom is the cat that is drinking the milk?)
6. Whose neighbors (el vecino) live in the blue house? (Of whom are the neighbors that live in the blue house?)
7. Whose [pl.] students are the most intelligent? (Of whom are the most intelligent students?)
8. Whose car doesn’t run (funcionar)? (Of whom is the car that doesn’t run?)
9. Whose coat is this? (Of whom is this coat?)
10. Whose parrot (el loro) speaks Italian? (Of whom is the parrot that speaks Italian?)
11. Whose [pl.] CDs (el disco compacto) are these? (Of whom are these CDs?)
12. Whose backpack (la mochila) is that? (Of whom is that backpack?)
For discussion of another use of “whose,” see Chapter 8.
Which? ¿Qué? ¿Cuál? ¿Cuáles?
To limit a group of items or to ask someone to choose from among a number of items, you use “Which?” or “What?” in your question. In English, “Which?” generally precedes a noun (“Which cookbook do you want?”), while the limiting “What?” usually precedes a verb (“What is the best cookbook for breads?”).
In Spanish, the opposite is often true. If the interrogative pronoun is followed by a noun, use ¿Qué? If the interrogative pronoun is followed by a verb or a prepositional phrase, use ¿Cuál? or ¿Cuáles? In the context of ¿Cuál?+ VERB, ¿Cuál? usually means “Which one?”
Traducción Translate the following questions. Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.
1. Which book is more (más) interesting? __________________________________________
2. Which actor is more popular? __________________________________________
3. Which girl (la chica) is your cousin? __________________________________________
4. Which food has more fat (la grasa)? __________________________________________
5. Which store sells more clothing? __________________________________________
6. Which do you eat more, chicken (el pollo) or fish (el pescado)? __________________________________________
7. Which is more popular? __________________________________________
8. Which ones do you wear more? __________________________________________
9. Which shoes do you wear more? __________________________________________
10. Which hat is more comfortable (cómodo)? __________________________________________
11. Which of the hats is more comfortable? __________________________________________
12. Which program (el programa) do you watch? __________________________________________
13. Which [pl.] of the new programs do you watch? __________________________________________
14. Which ones do you watch? __________________________________________
¿Qué? vs. ¿Cuál?
Whether to use ¿Qué? or ¿Cuál? in Spanish questions confounds many speakers of English. In a nutshell, questions beginning with ¿Qué? ask for a definition, whereas questions that begin with ¿Cuál? ask the respondent to limit his or her answer to one of many possibilities. Consider the following questions and their literal implications as displayed in the answers:
As you can see, ¿Qué? requests a literal answer, and ¿Cuál? asks for a selection from a large pool of possible answers.
To determine whether to use ¿Qué? or ¿Cuál?, consider the following:
♦ Generally speaking, ¿Qué? precedes a noun and ¿Cuál? precedes a verb.
♦ If you want a definition, use ¿Qué?
♦ If there are many possible answers and you want to know the correct answer in a particular situation—that is, the limited answer—use ¿Cuál?
Mark whether you would use ¿Qué? or ¿Cuál? in the following questions. Then translate the questions. Use the second-person singular Spanish form for English you.