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8 Key Spanish Phrases to Assist You Pose Significant Questions

You’ve mastered a couple of fundamental questions in Spanish and also you’re questioning tips on how to take your conversations and transactions to the following degree. The important thing to going “off-script” and contributing absolutely to a dialog is the flexibility to kind your personal questions. Whereas it’s positively doable to ask sure and no questions in Spanish with out having to make use of interrogative phrases, life will get rather more fascinating if you’re in a position to dive into the specifics! To take action, you’ll have to know these eight elementary phrases and phrases: 

  1. Qué (What)
  2. Cómo (How) 
  3. Dónde (The place)
  4. Cuándo (When)
  5. Por qué (Why)
  6. Quién (Who)
  7. Cuánto / Cuántos (How a lot / What number of) 
  8. Cuál (Which)

Beneath, we’ll check out the utilization of every phrase and supply a listing of phrases for every. If you wish to increase your Spanish abilities—with out memorizing lengthy vocabulary lists—Rosetta Stone’s uniquely immersive classes are a tremendous software for enhancing your data. Whether or not you’re desirous about studying Latin American Spanish or Peninsular (Spain) Spanish, Rosetta Stone has all the pieces it’s essential to really feel conversation-ready out of your very first lesson! 

What’s an interrogative phrase? 

Put merely, interrogative phrases are query phrases. They’re used to kind particular informational questions. You may relate this to the English phrase “interrogation,” the place a topic of an interview is requested a sequence of questions. Their grammatical perform within the query could possibly be that of a pronoun, adjective, or adverb. Contemplate the next examples: 

¿Quién es tu hermano?  = Who is your brother?  

That is an interrogative pronoun, as it’s a substitute for the reply, an individual. 

¿Cuántos libros tienes?  = What number of books do you’ve got?  

That is an interrogative adjective, as a result of it’s modifying the noun “books.” 

¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?  = When is your birthday?  

That is an interrogative adverb, as a result of it’s asking for a time. 

Fortunately, when you’re extra desirous about tips on how to ask questions in Spanish than memorizing Spanish grammar guidelines, the translations of those necessary phrases are easy. In some instances the translations can rely on the context or grammar of the sentence.

One necessary rule to bear in mind is that every one Spanish interrogatives carry the accent mark.  You could discover an nearly equivalent phrase in an announcement, but it surely is not going to be a query phrase.

¿Dónde está la profesora?  = The place is the trainer?  

This interrogative phrase carries the accent mark, since it’s asking for data.  

Ella está en la ciudad donde nació.  = She is within the city the place she was born. 

This adverb is just referring to a particular place, so no accent mark is used.  


The most typical Spanish query phrases

1. ¿Qué? 

¿Qué? means “what.” From meal planning to sightseeing, you’ll wish to know what particular nouns ought to be in your checklist.  Listed below are a number of frequent questions you should use to search out out the necessities:

Spanish English
¿Qué?  What? 
¿Qué sitios debería visitar cuando estoy en Málaga?   What locations ought to I go to once I’m in Málaga? 
¿Qué necesito para viajar a Buenos Aires?  What do I want with a purpose to journey to Buenos Aires? 
¿Qué platos son típicos en Costa Rica?  What dishes/meals are typical in Costa Rica? 
¿Qué hay que hacer antes de viajar?  What should be completed earlier than touring? 
¿Qué recomienda usted para desayunar?  What do you advocate for breakfast?   
¿Qué podríamos ver en el parque zoológico?  What may we see on the zoo? 
¿Qué ha dicho?  What did he say?  
¿Qué te gusta comer por la mañana?  What do you prefer to eat within the morning? 
¿Qué sueles llevar cuando gross sales?  What do you usually put on if you exit? 

It ought to be famous that ¿Qué? can imply “what?” usually, but it surely isn’t all the time used the identical means as in English. If you happen to’re in a loud surroundings with a pal, you may yell, “What?” when you don’t hear one thing properly the primary time. You wouldn’t wish to translate this to ¿Qué?, as this could possibly be thought-about a considerably impolite response in Spanish. It’s extra applicable to ask:

¿Cómo?  = What? 

¿Perdón? =  Pardon?

In a proper context, you may say: 

¿(Usted) puede repetir, por favor? = Are you able to repeat, please?

Needless to say que with out an accent mark shouldn’t be a query phrase. It may be the relative pronoun “that” as within the following instance: 

Voy a tomar el café que me recomendaste. 

I’m going to have the espresso that you advisable.    

¡Qué! can also be generally used as an exclamation in fundamental Spanish phrases similar to: 

¡Qué bonito! = How cute! 

¡Qué interesante! = How fascinating! 

One of the fundamental Spanish questions can also be an instance of when “what” wouldn’t be actually translated to ¿qué?  Once we wish to ask, “What’s your identify?” we are saying:

¿Cómo te llamas? = (actually) How do you name your self?

2. ¿Cómo? 

¿Cómo? merely translated means “how.” From getting round a metropolis to making ready meals, you’ll have questions on processes. You may ask for descriptions and traits to get to know individuals and your environment, and you’ll present curiosity by asking how individuals are doing.  Listed below are a number of frequent questions you should use to navigate by way of your day. 

Spanish English
¿Cómo?  How? / What? 
¿Cómo llegas a la estación de metro?   How do you get to the subway station? 
¿Cómo preparas el arroz con leche?  How do you put together the rice pudding? 
¿Cómo se cube ___ en español?  How do you say ___ in Spanish? 
¿Cómo es la escuela?  What’s the faculty like? 
¿Cómo es la vecina?  What’s the neighbor like? 
¿Cómo estás?  How are you feeling? 
¿Cómo te sientes?  How do you are feeling? 
¿Cómo está la sopa?  How is the soup?  (What does it style like?) 
¿Cómo sabes?  How are you aware? 

As you’ll be able to see, ¿cómo? as a query phrase all the time has an accent, and may present extra element or clarification. It can be utilized in generally complicated idiomatic expressions!

¿Cómo no? = Why not?  After all!  (Settlement) 

¿Cómo que no?  = What do you imply “no?”  (Disbelief or shock)  

The addition of the que within the above examples adjustments the which means drastically, so it’s best to study these expressions as full phrases. 

Like ¡qué!, ¡cómo! can be utilized as an exclamation when positioned in entrance of a verb.  

¡Cómo me ha gustado!  =  How I liked it! 

¡Cómo baila! = How he dances! 

If you happen to encounter como with out an accent, the which means will rely tremendously on the context and surrounding phrases, or whether or not it’s a verb, a conjunction, or a part of a phrase, as in these examples: 

  • Lo hago como me enseñó mi mamá. = I do it how my mother taught me. 
  • La niña habla como una mujer. = The little woman speaks like an grownup girl. 
  • Él es tan listo como su hermano. = He’s as intelligent as his brother.  
  • Como a mí no me gusta el frío, no esquío.= Since I don’t just like the chilly, I don’t ski. 
  • Costó como cincuenta dólares. = It value about fifty {dollars}.  
  • Normalmente no como azúcar.  = Usually I don’t eat sugar. 

Within the remaining instance, como (I eat) is the first-person singular (yo kind) of the verb comer (to eat).


3. ¿Dónde? 

¿Dónde? means “the place.” If you wish to know the place an occasion is going on, or the place you can purchase a present, this query phrase will make it easier to find individuals, objects, locations, and occasions.  Listed below are a number of frequent questions you should use to search out what you want: 

Spanish English
¿Dónde?  The place?
¿Dónde está el baño?  The place is the toilet? 
¿Dónde están los servicios?  The place are the restrooms?
¿Dónde queda tu casa?  The place is your own home positioned? 
¿Dónde nos quedamos esta noche?  The place are we staying tonight? 
¿Dónde es la boda?  The place is the marriage happening? 

Like all different Spanish interrogatives, dónde wants an accent mark, even when the query is oblique, similar to: 

Me preguntó dónde estaba. = He requested me the place I used to be.  

It can be used with out the accent, as in these non-interrogative examples: 

Visité la universidad donde estudió mi padre. = I visited the college the place my father studied.  

Todavía no tengo donde dormir. = I nonetheless don’t have a spot to sleep.  

4. ¿Cuándo? 

Cuando means “when.” From the following milestone soccer match to your pal’s birthday celebration, you’ll wish to know when issues are taking place, so you may make it there on time! Listed below are a number of frequent questions you should use for time questions.  

Spanish English
¿Cuándo?  When? 
¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?  When is your birthday? 
¿Cuándo empieza el partido?  When does the match start? 
¿Cuándo debemos entregar la tarea?  When do we have now at hand within the project? 
¿Cuándo aprendiste el italiano?  When did you study Italian? 
¿Cuándo estará disponible?  When will or not it’s accessible? 
¿Cuándo llegaste?  When did you arrive? 

The conjunction cuando (when) can be utilized in examples like the next: 

Duermo bien cuando llueve. = I sleep properly when it rains. 

Avísame cuando llegue. = Let me know when you arrive. 

Not often, you may even see cuando used as a preposition with out an apparent English translation. 

Apaga la llama cuando hervir. = Flip off the flame when boiling (occurs).  


5. ¿Por qué? 

¿Por qué?  means “why?” If rationalization is what you search, look no additional than ¿por qué?  (why?) and its relative, porque (as a result of). Get the solutions to those frequent burning questions and extra, if you ask for causes. You can even make solutions and settle for invites utilizing this useful query phrase. 

Spanish English
¿Por qué?  Why?
Porque As a result of
¿Por qué el vuelo está retrasado?  Why is the flight delayed? 
¿Por qué no aceptan dinero en efectivo?  Why don’t they settle for money? 
¿Por qué decidiste aprender inglés?  Why did you determine to study English? 
¿Por qué no viniste a la reunión?  Why didn’t you come to the assembly? 
¿Por qué cuesta tanto?  Why does it value a lot? 
¿Por qué no vamos al parque?  Why don’t we go to the park? 

When pronounced, ¿por qué? (why?) and porque (as a result of) are equivalent, so it might appear difficult to recollect the variations in writing. Fortunately, the reply is easy:  The query phrase has an accent mark, an area, and a query mark. “As a result of” has not one of the three.  

Like all the different interrogatives, ¿por qué? has an accent mark. That is true even for reported questions, similar to: 

  • Me preguntó por qué llegó tarde. = He requested me why I arrived late.  
  • Pay attention to el porqué (the rationale for). 
  • Me preguntó el porqué de mi elección. = He requested me the cause for my alternative.
  • ¿Para qué? is intently associated to ¿por qué? and has to do with the distinction between por (for) and para (for, with a purpose to). 
  • ¿Para qué sirve esta cosa? = What is that this factor for?  

6. ¿Cuánto?

¿Cuánto? and ¿Cuántos? imply  “how a lot” or “what number of,” respectively. From purchasing and spending to cooking and planning, you’ll wish to ask for portions and quantities. Notice that these two questions phrases should match gender and plurality, and have two different kinds: ¿Cuánta? and ¿Cuántas? Listed below are a number of frequent questions you should use to quantify and calculate. 

Spanish English
¿Cuánto? ¿Cuánta?  How a lot?  
¿Cuántos? ¿Cuántas?  What number of? 
¿Cuánto cuesta el aceite?  How a lot does the oil value? 
¿Cuánto arroz quieres?  How a lot rice would you like? 
¿Cuánta harina necesitamos?  How a lot flour do we’d like? 
¿Cuántos kilos de manzanas compraste?  What number of kilos of apples did you purchase? 
¿Cuántas enchiladas hay en el plato?  What number of enchiladas are there on the plate? 
¿Cuánto pagaste por el billete?  How a lot did you pay for the ticket? 

A easy query you could have realized early on is “How outdated are you?” In Spanish, you’re really asking a query about amount: 

¿Cuántos años tienes?  = How many years do you’ve got? 

As you’ll be able to see in every of the examples above, this Spanish interrogative features like an adjective. It should agree with the noun that it modifies (or replaces) in each gender and quantity.  If one thing is taken into account “uncountable,” you utilize ¿Cuánto? or ¿Cuánta? (how a lot), however whether it is countable, you’d use ¿Cuántos? or ¿Cuántas?,  all the time selecting between the masculine and female kinds. 

¿Cuánto dinero necesito?  = How a lot cash do I want? 

¿Cuántas faldas tienes? = How many skirts do you’ve got? 


7. ¿Quién? 

¿Quién? means “who.”  Additionally, you will see the plural ¿Quiénes? if you’re asking about a couple of particular person. When studying new names or surveying a crowd, discover out who the characters are!

Spanish English
¿Quién?  Who? (the reply is one particular person) 
¿Quiénes?  Who? (the reply is a couple of particular person) 
¿Quién es el presidente de Chile?  Who’s the President of Chile? 
¿Quién hizo el pastel?  Who made the cake? 
¿Quiénes son tus primos?  Who’re your cousins? 
¿Quiénes viven aquí?  Who lives right here? 
¿Quién ganó?  Who received? 

Like all interrogatives, ¿quién? and ¿quiénes? are spelled with an accent mark. With out it, the phrases may perform as a relative pronoun within the sentence, like these examples: 

La persona involucrada, quien robó el banco, ha desaparecido.

The particular person concerned, who robbed the financial institution, has disappeared.   

No dejes entrar a quienes llevan zapatos sucios.  

Don’t let anybody enter who is sporting soiled sneakers. 

8. ¿Cuál? 

¿Cuál? means “which.” It’s also utilized in many instances to specific “what?” Sadly ¿qué? (what) and ¿cuál? are usually not all the time interchangeable. You’ll use this expression often to supply selections, or to tell apart between choices! Listed below are a number of frequent questions you should use to determine between choices. 

Spanish English
¿Cuál?   Which? What? 
¿Cuáles?  Which of them? 
¿Cuál es tu nombre?  What’s your identify? 
¿Cuál es tu numero?  What’s your quantity? 
¿Cuál prefieres?   Which one do you favor? 
¿Cuál es la estación más cercana?  Which is the closest station? 
¿Cuáles son los países con más hispanohablantes en el mundo?  That are the nations with probably the most Spanish-speakers on this planet? 
¿Cuáles son tuyos?  Which of them are yours? 
¿Cuáles son tus comidas favoritas?  What are your favourite meals? 
¿Cuál es tu película favorita?  What’s your favourite film? 

Typically talking, you’d use ¿Cuál? or the plural ¿Cuáles? if you wish to select between a number of choices, even when the choices are nearly limitless. You additionally see this utilization when it’s adopted by a type of ser (to be).  

Take observe that in some Spanish dialects, each of the next questions sound right. 

¿Qué deporte te gusta más? = What sport do you want most? 

¿Cuál deporte te gusta más? = Which sport do you want most? 

Nonetheless, although each are formally accepted, many Spanish audio system solely use ¿Qué? (what) straight in entrance of a noun.  

¿Qué shade prefieres? = What shade do you favor? 

¿Cuál es tu shade favorito? = Which is your favourite shade? 

As soon as once more, it’s possible you’ll come throughout cual as a relative pronoun, which suggests it is not going to have an accent mark.  

El piso en el cual vivíamos period pequeño. = The flat in which we lived was small. 


What are the variations between how questions are shaped in Spanish and English? 

Preposition placement 

Phrase order is usually totally different between languages. Correct preposition placement in Spanish all the time locations the preposition earlier than the verb. There isn’t the tendency, even in informal speech, to finish with a preposition.  

As well as, there are various instances {that a} preposition is perhaps needed in a single language however absent within the different.  

Spanish English
¿De dónde eres?  The place are you from
¿A quién hablabas?  To whom had been you talking?  Who had been you speaking to
¿A qué hora tienes clase?  At what time do you’ve got class? 
¿Desde cuándo vive usted aquí?  Since when do you reside right here? How lengthy have you ever been dwelling right here? 
¿Para quién es el regalo?  Who’s the reward for
¿Adónde vas?  ¿A dónde vas?  The place are you going?  
¿Qué escuchas?  What are you listening to
¿De quién es este coche?  Whose automobile is that this? 


On our checklist of Spanish interrogatives, the one one to require gender settlement is ¿Cuánto? (how a lot – masculine) and ¿Cuánta? (how a lot – female) which should additionally agree in quantity, altering to ¿Cuántos? (what number of – masculine) and ¿Cuántas? (what number of – female).   

Together with an emphatic verb 

Spanish questions don’t use the verb “do” or “does” as an auxiliary verb!  Take a look at these examples and evaluate: 

Spanish English
¿Dónde venden lápices y bolígrafos?  The place do they promote pencils and pens? 
¿Por qué no hablamos mañana?  Why don’t we discuss tomorrow? 
¿Qué usas para servir esto?  What do you utilize to serve this? 
¿Cuánto gano por hora?  How a lot do I make per hour? 
¿Por qué practicas tanto?  Why do you follow a lot? 
¿Cuál prefiere?  Which does she choose? 

In English, we use an emphatic verb to emphasise or affirm the motion of the sentence. 

I do research each morning. He does train properly. It’s nonetheless troublesome. 

In Spanish, this emphasis is achieved with the phrase (sure) in entrance of the verb.

Yoestudio. Él enseña bien. Aún es difícil.  



Whereas English makes use of inversion to vary some statements into questions, Spanish accomplishes this merely by way of the intonation of the sentence.  

Hay tres sillas disponibles. = There are three chairs accessible.  

¿Hay tres sillas disponibles?  = Are there three chairs accessible? 

Inversion in Spanish questions can happen just because the phrase order is much less strict in Spanish.  All of those examples are equally legitimate. 

¿Trabaja ella muchas horas? = Does she work many hours? 

¿Ella trabaja muchas horas? = Does she work many hours? 

¿Trabaja muchas horas ella? = Does she work many hours?

It’s also equally legitimate to omit the private pronoun altogether, if the topic is already identified.  It is because the conjugated verb signifies who’s doing the motion. It’s applicable to incorporate the pronoun if clarification or emphasis is required.  

¿Trabajas muchas horas? = Do you work many hours? 

¿Trabajas tú muchas horas? = Do you work many hours?  

The upside-down query mark  

The charming and distinctive upside-down query mark of Spanish units it aside from different languages! It provides a contact of aptitude to written Spanish, and features similar to the intonation of your voice to point {that a} query is being requested as an alternative of an announcement.  

In informal writing, the inverted query mark is usually omitted to avoid wasting time, however for the reason that 18th century, the Actual Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy) has advisable its use, alongside the inverted exclamation level.  

Different languages, similar to Galician and previously Catalan, have additionally adopted the inverted query mark to be used with longer questions. You may additionally see it written in areas the place individuals have geographical or cultural ties to Peninsular Spanish, or with bilingual audio system of different languages who use it out of behavior.

The inverted punctuation doesn’t all the time start the sentence. There are occasions {that a} query comes later within the sentence, so the punctuation frames solely the query portion of the sentence. 

Hablo tres idiomas, ¿y tú? = I converse three languages, and you

Es hora de cenar, ¿no crees? = It’s meal time, don’t you assume

If a query additionally requires emphasis, 4 symbols can be utilized, with one image on the skin and one on the within. 

¿¡En serio!?  = Severely?! 

Query Tags

Spanish doesn’t use query tags in the identical means as English, as in, “does he?” or “will I?”  To substantiate data, Spanish audio system make use of the tags, ¿no?  or ¿verdad?

Ella canta bien, ¿no?  = She sings properly, doesn’t she?  

Es muy caro, ¿verdad? = It’s actually costly, proper

In these tags, the punctuation frames the tag query, not your complete sentence. 

Type Spanish questions for real-life conversations 

Posing the suitable query makes all of the distinction in turning an on a regular basis encounter right into a significant dialog. Figuring out these easy eight query phrases in Spanish may help you construct worthwhile connections with the individuals round you! 

Able to take the following step in your Spanish studying journey? Rosetta Stone has all the pieces it’s essential to develop your abilities rapidly and successfully—whether or not you’re simply beginning out or snug with extra superior territory. Immersive classes make it easier to study in a enjoyable, participating means, and TruAccent helps you nail your pronunciation each time. Why wait? 

Written by Jamie Edwards

Jamie is a learner and trainer of Spanish and French. When she’s not studying new phrases, you’ll discover her on the soccer sidelines, ski slopes, and observe and area bleachers having fun with the 4 seasons of Western New York.



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