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Spanish question words ultimate content & practice

Spanish question words ultimate content & practice

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! Asking questions is one of the most frequent practices in human interaction. The need to gather information is inherent to speakers of all languages. Many questions are asked and answered for communication to be possible. With this in mind, we want to share with you everything you need to know about Spanish question words, including premium practice exercises at the end of this article. We’ll learn what Spanish question words are, they types of Spanish question words, and how to ask questions in Spanish without question words. We’ll test your knowledge with some multiple choice exercises at the end of this post.  

Spanish question words are functional words that are used to ask questions. Examples of Spanish question words in context: [1] ¿Qué sucede? (What’s happening) [2] ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) [3] ¿Quiénes vendrán a la fiesta? (Who’s coming to the party?) [4] ¿Con quién estás? (Who are you with?) [5] ¿Para qué se usa esto? (What’s this used for?)  

 

Table of contents

 

What are Spanish question words?

Spanish question words are functional words that are used by Spanish speakers to ask questions. In some textbooks they are called “Qu” words (like “Wh” question words in English). Here are some examples of everyday conversation questions (question words are in bold):

  • ¿Cómo te llamas? /ko’-mo te ya’-mas/ (What’s your name?)
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? /kuan’-tos a’-ños tie’-nes/ (How old are you?)
  • ¿En qué trabajas? /en ke tra-ba’-jas/ (What do you do for work?)
  • ¿Qué estudias? /ke es-tu’-dias/ (What do you study? as in “What are you majoring in?”)
  • ¿Con quién vives? /kon kien vi’-ves/ (Who do you live with?)
  • ¿Cómo estás? /ko’-mo es-tas’/ (How are you? or simply “What’s up!”)
  • ¿Por qué? /por ke/ (Why?)
  • ¿Cuánto es? /kuan’-to es/ (How much is it?)
  • ¿Qué te parece? /ke te pa-re’-se/ (What do you think?)
  • ¿Quién es? /kien es/ (Who is it?)

 

Types of Spanish questions words

From a grammatical point of view, Spanish question words can be used as adjectives, pronouns, adverbs or compound forms. Let’s check them out and see some examples:

Spanish question adjectives 

Spanish question adjectives occur next to a noun. Examples: “qué” and “cuánto”

  • Qué 
  • ¿Qué película viste? (Which movie did you watch?)
  • ¿Qué ciudades visitarás? (Which cities will you visit?)
  • ¿Qué auto te quieres comprar? (Which car do you want buy?)
  • ¿Qué compañeros te caen bien? (Which classmates do you like?)
  • ¿Qué regalo te gustaría para tu cumpleaños?  (What present would you like for your birthday?) 

 

  • Cuánto, -a, -os, -as: 
  • ¿Cuántos amigos tienes en Facebook? (How many friends do you have on Facebook?)
  • ¿Cuántas veces debo repetirlo? (How many times do I have to repeat?)
  • ¿Cuánta azúcar le pones al té? (How much sugar do you put on your tea?) 
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo te costó? (How much time did it take you?)
  • ¿Cuánta leche le pones al café? (How much milk do you put on your coffee?)

 

Spanish question pronouns

Spanish question pronouns take the place of a noun in a question. Examples: 

  • ¿Quién te dijo eso? (Who told you that?)
  • ¿Quiénes vinieron contigo? (Who came with you?)
  • ¿Qué ha pasado aquí? (What happened here?)
  • ¿Cuál falta? (Which one is missing?)
  • ¿Cuáles faltan? (Which ones are missing?)

 

Spanish question adverbs

Spanish question adverbs occur next to verbs and indicate place, time, manner or quantity. Examples:

  • ¿Dónde irás? (Where will you go?)
  • ¿Cuándo te vas? (When are you leaving?)
  • ¿Cómo te vas? (How will you leave?)
  • ¿Cuánto es mucho? (How much is too much?)

 

Spanish compound question forms

Compound question forms contain a preposition next to the question word. Examples:

  • ¿Con quién te irás de vacaciones? (Who are you going on vacation with?) 
  • ¿A qué vas a Chile? (What are you going to Chile for?) 
  • ¿Por qué te pones así? (Why do you get like this?) 
  • ¿Para qué viniste? (What are you here for?) 
  • ¿A quién vas a visitar? (Who are you going to visit?) 

 

Intonation of Spanish questions

All Spanish questions must be pronounced with a rising intonation, just like English Yes/No questions. Examples of same intonation questions in Spanish and English:

  • ¿Te gusta la comida? (Do you like food?)
  • ¿Vas a almorzar? (Are you having lunch?)
  • ¿Eres extranjero? (Are you a foreigner?)

 

Spelling rules for Spanish question words

All Spanish question words carry a stress mark called “tilde” in Spanish (´) only when they are acting as question words. Examples:

  • Qué
  • Quién 
  • Quiénes
  • Cuál
  • Cuáles
  • Cuánto
  • Cuánta
  • Cuántos
  • Cuántas
  • Cómo
  • Cuándo
  • Dónde

  

Questions in Spanish without question words

In Spanish, it is possible to ask questions without question words. These are generally Yes/No questions. They are regular affirmative or negative sentences that have two distinctive features depending on whether the question is written or spoken:

  • Written. The sentence has an upside down question mark (¿) at the beginning and a closing question mark at the end (?). Examples:
    • Affirmative: Te gustan los helados. (You like ice cream.) / Question: ¿Te gustan los helados? (Do you like ice cream?)
    • Negative: No les gusta esta película [a ellos]*. (They* don’t like this movie.) / Question: ¿No les gustan esta película? (Don’t they like this movie?)
  • Spoken. Affirmative and negative sentences have a regular intonation, in which you stress each word according to its emphasis and relevance. All Spanish questions, as we’ve said, have a rising intonation. So, in spoken language, questions and “regular” sentences differ in intonation. Keep this in mind for your speaking practice.

 

Practice Spanish question words (multiple choice)

Instructions: choose the correct alternative (10 exercises). The answer key is at the end of the questions:

Spanish question words: exercise #1

¿________ años tienes? (How old are you?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

 

Spanish question words: exercise #2

¿________ te llamas? (What’s your name?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

 

Spanish question words: exercise #3

¿________ vienes? (Where do you come from?)

  1. De dónde
  2. Con quién
  3. Para qué

 

Spanish question words: exercise #4

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Which one would you like to go to?)

  1. A dónde
  2. A cuál
  3. Con quién

 

Spanish question words: exercise #5

¿________ es? (How much is it?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuánto

 

Spanish question words: exercise #6

¿________ viniste a Argentina? (Why did you come to Argentina?)

  1. Por qué
  2. Con cuáles
  3. De dónde

 

Spanish question words: exercise #7

¿________ te quedas: esos o estos? (Which ones are you keeping: those or these?)

  1. A quiénes
  2. Con cuáles
  3. Hasta cuándo

 

Spanish question words: exercise #8

¿________ tengo que decírtelo? (How many times do I have to tell you?)

  1. Desde cuándo
  2. Para qué
  3. Hasta cuándo

 

Spanish question words: exercise #9

¿________ te sientes? (How do you feel?)

  1. Cómo
  2. Qué
  3. Cuál

 

Spanish question words: exercise #10

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Where would you like to go?)

  1. Quién
  2. Dónde
  3. Cuáles

 

Answer key

Spanish question words: exercise #1

¿________ años tienes? (How old are you?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

Spanish question words: exercise #2

¿________ te llamas? (What’s your name?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

Spanish question words: exercise #3

¿________ vienes? (Where do you come from?)

  1. De dónde
  2. Con quién
  3. Para qué

Spanish question words: exercise #4

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Which one would you like to go to?)

  1. A dónde
  2. A cuál
  3. Con quién

Spanish question words: exercise #5

¿________ es? (How much is it?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuánto

Spanish question words: exercise #6

¿________ viniste a Argentina? (Why did you come to Argentina?)

  1. Por qué
  2. Con cuáles
  3. De dónde

Spanish question words: exercise #7

¿________ te quedas: esos o estos? (Which ones are you keeping: those or these?)

  1. A quiénes
  2. Con cuáles
  3. Hasta cuándo

Spanish question words: exercise #8

¿________ tengo que decírtelo? (How many times do I have to tell you?)

  1. Desde cuándo
  2. Para qué
  3. Hasta cuándo

Spanish question words: exercise #9

¿________ te sientes? (How do you feel?)

  1. Cómo
  2. Qué
  3. Cuál

Spanish question words: exercise #10

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Where would you like to go?)

  1. Quién
  2. Dónde
  3. Cuáles

 

Conclusion

Asking questions is a high frequency language function. Mastering Spanish question words will greatly improve your Spanish. Questions like “¿Cómo se dice…?” (How do you say…?) can save your day if you’re in a Spanish speaking country. Remember that questions words always carry a stress mark or “tilde” (´) and that their intonation is always rising. Also, don’t forget about starting all your questions in Spanish with an upside down question mark. Check out our post about it in the resources section of this post.

 

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By clicking on the share buttons (computer: left side, mobile: bottom), you will help your friends, relatives and social media contacts improve their Spanish. ¡Comparte!

 

Resources

 

 

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Spanish upside down question mark ultimate guide

Spanish upside down question mark ultimate guide

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Spanish upside down question mark.

The Spanish upside down question mark or Spanish inverted question mark (¿) is a punctuation mark that indicates the beginning of a question. Examples: [1] ¿Cuál es tu nombre? (What’s your name?) [2] —¿Qué vamos a comer? —preguntó (—What are we going to eat? —he asked. [3] ¿Dónde está el restaurante? Olvidé mirarlo en la guía. (Where is the restaurant? I forgot to look it up in the guide). The correct use of the Spanish upside down question mark is indicative of a speaker’s knowledge of the rules of the Spanish language. 

In this post , we’ll show how to use the Spanish upside down question mark so you don’t make mistakes when writing questions. 

 

Table of contents

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #1

Unlike other languages like English, question marks ¿? are double in Spanish, just like parentheses () and square brackets []. Therefore, it’s incorrect to omit the inverted at the beginning of questions in Spanish. Keep this in mind, since it’s becoming more and more common to ignore this rule of the Spanish language, especially when chatting or posting on social media. Examples:

  • ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) NOT Cómo estás?
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you?) NOT Cuántos años tienes?
  • ¿De qué país vienes? (What country are you from?) NOT De qué país vienes?
  • ¿Cuál es tu país favorito en Latinoamérica? (What’s your favorite country in Latin America?) NOT Cuál es tu país favorito en Latinoamérica?
  • ¿Prefieres cocinar o salir a comer? (Do you prefer cooking or eating out?) NOT Prefieres cocinar o salir a comer? 

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #2

You also need to know that at the end of a question you MUST use a “regular” question mark (?) and that after this closing question mark you can write any punctuation mark, except a period (.). Examples:

  • ¿Cómo te llamas?, ¿cuántos años tienes? (What’s your name?, How old are you?)
  • Bien, ¿y tú? (Good, how about you?)
  • ¿Desde qué país viene? (Marque con una X). / What country are you from? (Mark with an X).

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #3

When the closing sign is at the end of a sentence, the next word must start with a capital letter. Examples:

  • ¿Tienes frío? Toma mi abrigo. (Are you cold? Take my coat.)
  • ¿Cómo lo hiciste? De verdad quiero saber. (How did you do it? I really want to know.)
  • ¿Qué te pareció? Sé honesto, por favor. (What do you think? Be honest, please.)

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on a Windows computer?

Being able to type the Spanish upside down question mark character on computers and mobile devices is very important. This is how you do it on Windows: type alt + 0191 at the same time

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on a Mac computer?

On a Mac computer, type the following combination of keys: alt + Shift + ?

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on an Android phone?

On an Android device, press and hold the “?” symbol and drag your finger up to select the Spanish upside down question mark.

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on iOS phone?

On an iPhone, press and hold the “?” symbol and drag your finger up to select the Spanish upside down question mark (same procedure as Android).

 

Conclusion

The massive technology boom of our era revealed that the Spanish upside down question mark is an endangered species in the realm of Spanish punctuation marks. This symbol is often omitted by Spanish speakers when chatting or posting comments online, in an informal setting. This is, however, incorrect and shows little care for punctuation rules. In formal, academic and professional professional documents, a question without an inverted question mark at the beginning would greatly diminish the reliability and harm the readers’ perception of such pieces of writing.

Remember you can use any punctuation mark after a question, except a period. Don’t forget that if the question is at the end of a sentence, the next sentence must start with a capital initial letter. Paying attention to all these little details will greatly improve your written Spanish. Writing in another language is a valuable skill in today’s globalized world.   

 

Resources

  • Ortografía de los signos de interrogación y exclamación. Available at https://www.rae.es/consultas/ortografia-de-los-signos-de-interrogacion-y-exclamacion

 

 

 

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