Difference Wiki

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

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || 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.
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.
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."
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.
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.

Comparison Chart


Replaces a noun in a question
Modifies a noun in a question

Standalone Usage

Can stand alone in a question
Must accompany a noun


"Who," "What," "Which"
"Which," "What" (when modifying a noun)

Sentence Structure

Often causes inversion of subject and verb
Follows standard syntactic order

Role in Sentence

Acts as subject or object
Acts as a modifier to a noun

Interrogative Pronoun and Interrogative Adjective Definitions

Interrogative Pronoun

Used for inquiring about an object.
Which is your car?

Interrogative Adjective

Specifies the noun being asked about.
Which route should we take?

Interrogative Pronoun

Asks about a person or thing.
Who won the game?

Interrogative Adjective

Modifies a noun in a question.
What time is it?

Interrogative Pronoun

Replaces the noun in a question.
What is your name?

Interrogative Adjective

Determines the focus of the inquiry within a noun phrase.
What color is your car?

Interrogative Pronoun

Can function as subject or object.
Whom did you invite?

Interrogative Adjective

Cannot stand alone in a question.
Which book are you reading?

Interrogative Pronoun

Asks for specific information.
Whose book is this?

Interrogative Adjective

Used to ask for particular information about a noun.
What kind of music do you like?


Do interrogative pronouns change form based on gender?

No, they are gender-neutral.

Can an interrogative adjective stand alone?

No, it must accompany a noun.

Can interrogative adjectives be plural?

Yes, when they modify plural nouns.

Are there any exceptions in using interrogative pronouns?

Their usage is quite straightforward without notable exceptions.

Are interrogative adjectives always followed by nouns?

Yes, they modify nouns directly.

How do interrogative pronouns differ from relative pronouns?

Interrogative pronouns ask questions, while relative pronouns link clauses.

Can interrogative pronouns be used for both people and things?

Yes, they can refer to both.

Is "which" both an interrogative pronoun and adjective?

Yes, its function depends on its usage in a sentence.

How are interrogative pronouns used in indirect questions?

They introduce subordinate clauses in indirect questions.

How does context affect the use of interrogative pronouns?

The context determines whether they act as subjects or objects.

Can interrogative adjectives modify any type of noun?

They can modify most nouns, depending on the context.

Are interrogative adjectives used in formal writing?

Yes, they are appropriate in both formal and informal contexts.

How do interrogative pronouns function in complex sentences?

They can serve as connecting elements in questions within complex sentences.

Are interrogative adjectives used in everyday speech?

Yes, they are common in daily language.

Do interrogative adjectives agree in number with their nouns?

Yes, they match the number of the noun they modify.

Can interrogative adjectives be used in rhetorical questions?

Yes, they can be used rhetorically.

Do interrogative adjectives affect sentence structure?

No, they fit within standard sentence structures.

Can interrogative pronouns be the object of a preposition?

Yes, like in "To whom did you speak?"

How do interrogative pronouns interact with verbs?

They often cause inversion of the subject and verb in questions.

Are interrogative pronouns easy to identify in a sentence?

Generally, yes, due to their distinct function in questions.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons