Spanish question words: how to ask questions
When getting to know someone in Spanish, questions are your best friend. Once you’ve mastered the basic sentence patterns, you can begin forming questions. Not only will you seem more interested when meeting someone, you’ll be able to acquire a lot of new information. So, let’s go ahead and start with all the question words you will need to memorize to be able to ask questions in Spanish.
Spanish question words
¿Qué? = What?
¿Qué es eso? What is that?
¿Quién? = Who?
¿Quién es [ella]? Who is she?
¿Quiénes? = Who? (Plural)
¿Quiénes son [ellos]? Who are they?
¿De quién/De quiénes? = Whose? (singular/plural)
¿De quién es esta casa? Whose house is this?
¿A quién? = Whom?
¿A quién llamas? Whom are you calling?
¿Dónde? = Where?
¿Dónde está tu tío? Where is your uncle?
¿Adónde? = To where?
¿Adónde vas? Where are you going?
¿De dónde? = From where?
¿De dónde eres? Where are you from?
¿Cuándo? = When?
¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? When is your birthday?
¿Cuál? = Which one?
¿Cuál prefieres? Which one do you prefer?
¿Cuáles? = Which ones?
¿Cuáles son tus favoritos? Which ones are your favourite?
¿Cómo? = How?
¿Cómo? is used to ask about a physical state, appearance, manner or a name.
¿Cómo puedo ir a la estación? How can I get to the station?
¿Cómo es ella? What is she like?
¿Cómo se llama? What is his name?
¿Cuánto/a? = How much? (masculine/feminine)
¿Cuánto vale esto? How much is this worth?
¿Cuántos/as? = How many?
¿Cuántas veces has viajado por Europa? How many times have you travelled around Europe?
¿Por qué? = Why?
¿Por qué lloras? Why are you crying?
¿Para qué? = For what?
¿Para qué lo necesitas? What do you need it for?
Accents are important
In spoken Spanish, you won’t hear the accents on the question words, but it is important to use them in writing. Seeing an accent on qué, cómo and so on will automatically make it obvious that they are being used as question words and not as answers.
¿Por qué no te gustan pelis de horror? Porque me dan miedo.
Why don’t you like horror movies? Because they scare me.
Don’t forget the (two) question marks
Think of the Spanish question marks as the equivalent to quotation marks in English. In English, you surround what the person is saying by indicating an opening quotation mark where they begin speaking and a closing quotation mark when they finish speaking. It is the same idea in Spanish. To indicate beginning of a question we need to insert the inverted question mark and once the question is finished, a regular one.
Statements as questions
In Spanish, just as in English, we can also ask questions without using any questions words at all. In this case, you just raise the pitch of your voice at the end.
¿Estás listo? You ready/Are you ready?
¿Te gusta el vestido? You like the dress?
Right? Isn’t it?
Sometimes in English, we add “isn’t it” or “right” at the end to see if someone agrees or disagrees. We can do the same in Spanish by adding verdad or no to the end of a statement.
Hace mucho calor, ¿no? It’s really hot, isn’t it?
Cenamos esta noche, ¿verdad? We’re having dinner tonight, right?
We hope this overview has given you enough confidence to get out there and start asking questions! If you are interested in learning more, check out our Spanish classes in the heart of Barcelona.