Interrogative word


Interrogative word

In linguistics, an interrogative word is a function word used for the item interrupted in an information statement. Interrogative words are sometimes also called wh-words because most of English interrogative words start with "wh-". In English, they are used in questions ("Where is he going?") and interrogative content clauses ("I wonder where he is going"); their forms are also used as relative pronouns in certain relative clauses ("The country where he was born") and certain adverb clauses ("I go where he goes"). These uses are all found in various other languages as well.

List of interrogative words in English:
* interrogative determiner
** "which", "what"
** "whose" (interrogative possessive determiner)
* interrogative pro-form
** interrogative pronoun
*** "who", "whom" (human)
*** "what", "which" (nonhuman)
** interrogative pro-adverb
*** "where" (location)
*** "whence" (source)
*** "whither" (goal)
*** "when" (time)
*** "how" (manner)
*** "why", "wherefore" (reason)
*** "whether" (choice between alternatives)

A frequent class of interrogative words in several other languages is the interrogative pro-verb:

Korean: Nalssi-ga eotteoh-seumni-kka? Weather-"nominative" be_how-"politeness fifth level"-"interrogative suffix" "How's the weather?"

Mongolian: Chi yaa-vch jaahan huuhed bish gej bi bod-jii-ne You do_what-"concessive" small child not that I think-"progressive"-"nonpast" "Whatever you do, I think you’re not a small child." (Example taken from an Internet forum)

ee also

*Wh-movement
*Question
*Five Ws


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  • Interrogative mood — In linguistics and grammar, the interrogative mood (abbreviated int) is an epistemic grammatical mood used for asking questions by inflecting the main verb.[1] Its occurrence is rare. Contents 1 Examples of languages with an interrogative mood …   Wikipedia

  • interrogative — I UK [ˌɪntəˈrɒɡətɪv] / US [ˌɪntəˈrɑɡətɪv] adjective 1) formal used for asking a question an interrogative look 2) linguistics an interrogative word or phrase is one that you use for asking a question an interrogative adverb Derived word:… …   English dictionary

  • interrogative — 1. adjective /ˌɪntəˈrɒɡətɪv/ Asking or denoting a question; pertaining to inquiry; questioning: as, an interrogative phrase, pronoun, or point; an interrogative look or tone of voice. The regular place of the interrogative word, of whatever kind …   Wiktionary

  • interrogative — in•ter•rog•a•tive [[t]ˌɪn təˈrɒg ə tɪv[/t]] adj. 1) of, pertaining to, or conveying a question 2) gram. forming, constituting, or used in or to form a question: an interrogative pronoun; an interrogative sentence[/ex] 3) gram. an interrogative… …   From formal English to slang

  • interrogative — /ɪntəˈrɒgətɪv / (say intuh roguhtiv) adjective 1. relating to or conveying a question. 2. Grammar (of an element or construction) forming or constituting a question: an interrogative pronoun; an interrogative sentence. –noun 3. Grammar an… …   Australian English dictionary

  • interrogative — interrogatively, adv. /in teuh rog euh tiv/, adj. 1. of, pertaining to, or conveying a question. 2. Gram. forming, constituting, or used in or to form a question: an interrogative pronoun, suffix, particle, or sentence. n. 3. Gram. an… …   Universalium

  • interrogative — adj. & n. adj. 1 a of or like a question; used in questions. b Gram. (of an adjective or pronoun) asking a question (e.g. who?, which?). 2 having the form or force of a question. 3 suggesting enquiry (an interrogative tone). n. an interrogative… …   Useful english dictionary

  • interrogative — [ˌɪntə rɒgətɪv] adjective having the force of a question. ↘Grammar used in questions. Contrasted with affirmative and negative. noun an interrogative word, e.g. how or what. Derivatives interrogatively adverb …   English new terms dictionary

  • Interrogative — In ter*rog a*tive, n. (Gram.) A word used in asking questions; as, who? which? why? [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English