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Interrogative Adjectives

Spanish for Beginners


As their name suggests, interrogative adjectives are those adjectives that are used in questions. In Spanish, they take the same form as the interrogative pronouns, although only a few of the pronouns can be used as adjectives.

Qué: Qué is the most common interrogative adjective and can be used to mean either "what" or "which" when referring to a noun. Qué does not change with number or gender.

    Examples: ¿Qué zapato quisieras? (What shoe would you like?) ¿Qué equipo ganó? (Which team won?) ¿Qué personas van a salir? (What people are going to leave?) ¿Qué coche prefieres? (Which car do you prefer?)
Cuál: In parts of Latin America, but rarely in Spain and some other parts in Latin America, cuál can be used as an adjective to mean "which" or "what" and thus is interchangeable in some uses with qué. Cuál must match the noun it describes in number. Qué is a safer adjective to use if you wish to avoid substandard grammar in the area you're visiting, as it will always be understood.
    Examples: ¿Cuáles zapatos prefieres? (Which shoes do you prefer?) ¿Mosquito? ¿Cuál mosquito? (Mosquito? What mosquito?)
Cuánto: In singular form, cuánto or cuánta generally means "how much" when referring to a singular noun; in plural form (cuántos or cuántas), it typically means "how many." It must match the noun it refers to in both number and gender.
    Examples: ¿Cuánto dinero tienes? (How much money do you have?) ¿Cuánta nata montada quisieras? (How much whipped cream would you like?) ¿Cuántos años tiene él? (How old is he? Literally: How many years does he have?) ¿Cuántas jirafas hay? (How many giraffes are there?)
Translating "whose": The English interrogative adjective "whose" does not have an exact equivalent in Spanish. Although some thorough dictionaries list the word cúyo (the interrogative form of cuyo), that word is rarely used and is considered antiquated. The English "whose" in questions is usually translated into Spanish using the phrase de quién or de quiénes, literally meaning "of whom."
    Examples: ¿De quién es este coche? (Whose car is this?) ¿De quiénes son esas casas? (Whose houses are those?)
Grammar Glossary

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