Interrogative Adverbs in Spanish

Spanish Grammar Tip

Los adverbios interrogativos

Adverbs are words that complement a verb, an adjective or another adverb within the sentence. Among them, los adverbios interrogativos (interrogative adverbs) make up a special category of adverbs whose distinctive function is to act as header of interrogative sentences, that is, questions.

We could say that whenever a question is asked that is different from the ones that are answered by a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, interrogative adverbs are used. It must be taken into account, on the other hand, that such question must be asked directly and there must not be an antecedent.

For these reasons, they are usually placed at the beginning of a sentence and always carry a graphic accent mark.

The interrogative adverbs are the following:

Cuándo refers to a period of time, it is the equivalent of when, in what moment or at what time.

¿Cuándo acabarás? → When are you going to finish?

¿Cuándo naciste? → When were you born?

Dónde enquires about a place and it translates where, in which place.

¿Dónde vives? → Where do you live?

¿Dónde estás? → Where are you?

Por qué examines the cause of why -for which reason– an event occurs or an action is carried out.

¿Por qué me miras así? → Why are you looking at me like that?

¿Por qué has tirado mis zapatos? → Why did you throw away my shoes?

Cómo is employed to ask about the medium or the way an event has come about.

¿Cómo habéis venido?→ How did you get here?
¿Cómo lo habéis pasado? → How did it go / How was it?

Adónde is used with motion verbs to ask about directions.

¿Adónde vas?→ Where are you going to?

¿Adónde piensas ir?→ Where do you think to go to?

Let’s look at some examples:

¿Adónde vas con tanta prisa? → Where are going to in such a hurry?

¿Cómo te llamas? → What is your name? (lit. how/in what way are you called?)

¿Dónde dejé mis llaves? → Where did I leave my keys?

¿Por qué llamas a esta hora? → Why are you calling at this time?

¿Adónde vamos a comer hoy? → Where are we going to eat today?

¿Cómo te sientes? → How are you feeling?

¿Cuándo terminas de trabajar? → When are you done at work?


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