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Interrogative Pronoun vs. Interrogative Adjective: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on January 14, 2024
Interrogative Pronoun is a pronoun used to ask questions, such as "who," "what," or "which." Interrogative Adjective is an adjective used to modify a noun in a question, such as "which" or "what."

Key Differences

nterrogative pronouns are used to replace the noun that is the subject or object of a question. They include words like "who," "whom," "what," "which," and "whose." These pronouns can stand alone in a question. Interrogative adjectives, on the other hand, are used to modify nouns in questions. They are typically "which" or "what" and always appear with the noun they are modifying.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024
An example of an interrogative pronoun is in the question, "Who is coming to the party?" Here, "who" is used to ask about the person attending. In contrast, an interrogative adjective is used as in "Which book did you read?" where "which" modifies the noun "book," specifying the subject of inquiry.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024
Interrogative pronouns are pivotal in forming questions and can stand in for both subjects and objects. "Whom did you see?" uses "whom" as an interrogative pronoun for the object of the verb "see." Interrogative adjectives, however, must accompany a noun and cannot stand alone. In "What time is it?" "what" is an interrogative adjective modifying "time."
Huma Saeed
Jan 14, 2024
The use of interrogative pronouns often requires the inversion of the subject and verb in a question, as in "What are you doing?" Conversely, interrogative adjectives follow the usual syntactic order, as seen in "Which color do you prefer?" where "which" modifies "color" and the sentence follows a standard subject-verb-object structure.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024
Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions about people or things and replace the noun being asked about, while interrogative adjectives qualify or modify nouns in a question without replacing them.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Function

Replaces a noun in a question
Modifies a noun in a question
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

Standalone Usage

Can stand alone in a question
Must accompany a noun
Huma Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Examples

"Who," "What," "Which"
"Which," "What" (when modifying a noun)
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

Sentence Structure

Often causes inversion of subject and verb
Follows standard syntactic order
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

Role in Sentence

Acts as subject or object
Acts as a modifier to a noun
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024
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Interrogative Pronoun and Interrogative Adjective Definitions

Interrogative Pronoun

Used for inquiring about an object.
Which is your car?
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Adjective

Specifies the noun being asked about.
Which route should we take?
Huma Saeed
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Pronoun

Asks about a person or thing.
Who won the game?
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Adjective

Determines the focus of the inquiry within a noun phrase.
What color is your car?
Janet White
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Pronoun

Replaces the noun in a question.
What is your name?
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Adjective

Modifies a noun in a question.
What time is it?
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Pronoun

Can function as subject or object.
Whom did you invite?
Janet White
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Adjective

Cannot stand alone in a question.
Which book are you reading?
Janet White
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Pronoun

Asks for specific information.
Whose book is this?
Aimie Carlson
Dec 15, 2023

Interrogative Adjective

Used to ask for particular information about a noun.
What kind of music do you like?
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 15, 2023

FAQs

Do interrogative pronouns change form based on gender?

No, they are gender-neutral.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

Can an interrogative adjective stand alone?

No, it must accompany a noun.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Can interrogative adjectives be plural?

Yes, when they modify plural nouns.
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

Are there any exceptions in using interrogative pronouns?

Their usage is quite straightforward without notable exceptions.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Are interrogative adjectives always followed by nouns?

Yes, they modify nouns directly.
Huma Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

How do interrogative pronouns differ from relative pronouns?

Interrogative pronouns ask questions, while relative pronouns link clauses.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

Can interrogative pronouns be used for both people and things?

Yes, they can refer to both.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

Is "which" both an interrogative pronoun and adjective?

Yes, its function depends on its usage in a sentence.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

How are interrogative pronouns used in indirect questions?

They introduce subordinate clauses in indirect questions.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024

How does context affect the use of interrogative pronouns?

The context determines whether they act as subjects or objects.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024

Can interrogative adjectives modify any type of noun?

They can modify most nouns, depending on the context.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Are interrogative adjectives used in formal writing?

Yes, they are appropriate in both formal and informal contexts.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

How do interrogative pronouns function in complex sentences?

They can serve as connecting elements in questions within complex sentences.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

Are interrogative adjectives used in everyday speech?

Yes, they are common in daily language.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024

Do interrogative adjectives agree in number with their nouns?

Yes, they match the number of the noun they modify.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Can interrogative adjectives be used in rhetorical questions?

Yes, they can be used rhetorically.
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

Do interrogative adjectives affect sentence structure?

No, they fit within standard sentence structures.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 14, 2024

Can interrogative pronouns be the object of a preposition?

Yes, like in "To whom did you speak?"
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

How do interrogative pronouns interact with verbs?

They often cause inversion of the subject and verb in questions.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Are interrogative pronouns easy to identify in a sentence?

Generally, yes, due to their distinct function in questions.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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