As discussed, there are five interrogative pronouns in total. They are which, who, whom, whose and what.
| Name of the interrogative pronouns
| 1. Which
|| Asking for a choice/ any animal or object
We have pineapple and guava- Which fruit would you like to have?
Which is the smallest animal on the earth?
Which planet is nearest to the sun?
| 2. Who
|| Asking for somebody/people
Who is your class teacher?
Who is the man in yellow shirt?
Who is the tallest student in this class?
| 3. Whom
|| Asking for a person
Whom did you eat with?
To whom shall I talk here?
Whom did you see?
| 4. Whose
|| Asking for ownership/possession
Whose pen is this?
Whose shirt is lying on the clothesline?
Whose car did you drive here?
| 5. What
|| Asking for information
What are you talking about?
What is your dog’s name?
What did you eat in lunch today?
Points to Remember:
- Interrogative pronouns are those pronouns which are used to ask questions.
- We generally prefer to use ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’ in English.
- The interrogative pronouns are often called the 5 W’s - who, whom, what, which and whose.
- Pronouns can be used in sentences which are not questions. In such cases, the mentioned pronouns are not interrogative.
- Few pronouns that start with ‘W’ are not interrogative pronouns. Example: When, Why, Where – They start with w but they are not considered as interrogative pronouns.
- The subject of a verb can be expressed with the help of interrogative pronoun ‘who.’
Use of Who and Whom
Sometimes we are very confused regarding the use of who and whom. We can understand their uses better with the help of the following examples:
(Here who is the subject of the verb- gave)
- To whom did you give the food?
(Who is always the subject of the verb, while whom can never be the subject of the verb)
Some examples of Interrogative pronouns are stated under:
a) Who will design the new logo?
b) Who is going to the theatre?
c) Who is sitting beside that girl?
d) Who is the person with a big mustache?
e) Who is smoking in the public area?
a) Which is the tallest building in America?
b) We have Samsung and Nokia sets-Which one do you want?
c) Which is the sweetest fruit in India?
d) Which animal can run the fastest?
e) Which is the biggest river in the world?
a) What is your favorite fruit?
b) What color attracts you the most?
c) What is better- tea or coffee?
d) What is your opinion?
e) What are you doing?
a) Whose chocolate is this?
b) Whose bag is lying here?
c) Whose wallet is missing?
d) Whose hair is brown in colour?
e) Whose pen is with me?
a) To whom should I talk about my problem?
b) Whom do you suggest we nominate for class president?
c) Whom did she go to meet?
d) To whom should I give the money?
Not only does the English Language follow the rules of Interrogative Pronouns. In other languages like French, Russian, Chinese, German, the rules are adhered. In English, since all the interrogatives start with W, so they can be easily remembered. No matter what the language is, the function of the interrogative pronouns remains the same. We use them in the form of a question to understand things that we are not aware of. Once we gain the knowledge of the common rules of the interrogative pronouns, it becomes very easy to use them. The only difficult thing is the use of who or whom. But we can learn their usage as well with regular practice of interrogative pronouns.
Complete the exercise sentences with the right interrogative pronouns (who, whom, whose, what, which).
- ______is the villain here?
- ______ is dancing?
- To _____ did you send the itinerary?
- ______ shoes should I wear with this skirt – my white ones or my black ones?
- ______is the first man to land on the moon?
- ______dog is this?" "It belongs to Jack."
- ______ bike did you borrow?"
- ______do they drink?
- ______of them is the youngest?
- ______ caused the Earthquake?