First of all when you search how to form a question, in english in every grammar site it is written: subject verb inversion and wh forms and possible do forms.

WH forms are listed as interrogative pronouns;

However no one underlines these types of questions;

Whose book is this? Which pen will they give us? What CD Sarah likes most?

I guessed they can refer as interrogative adjectives and searched it on Google.Thus found some resources that are belonging to foreign sites that are built to teach English to whom that are not natives.

In Cambridge Dictionary sites the examples I gave considered as using wh forms as noun heads.

Furthermore I have found that there are also interrogative adverbs! How cool is that?

So anyone can explain about this unofficial dilemma?

Ps:To cut it short I have listed like that are they correct?

1.What do you do? What is interrogative pronoun

2.What Cd does Sarah like? ..........  adjective

3.How cool is that? ................ adverb
  • references:grammarmonstericambridge,teachingbanyan,efl,englishcouncil Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 16:50
  • See this link and this link. What is your dilemma? What, which, and whose are interrogative pronouns. How is an adverb. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 17:50
  • @P.E.Dant I guess which and what can also be interrogative adjectives. Am I write? Perhaps he is asking "how to distinguish them". Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 17:59
  • 1
    @Ganesh.R Very astute! Yes, what and which can act as both. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


In English, interrogative pronouns are used when we ask questions. They are:

   • who   • which   • whom   • what   • whose

We also have words called interrogative adjectives that we use in questions, and among them are:

   • what   • which   • whose

The question obviously arises: "How can I tell the difference?"

Interrogative Adjectives

An interrogative adjective, like any adjective, modifies and precedes a noun. When you encounter what, which, or whose in a sentence, first ask the question: "Does it modify a noun?" The answer will tell you whether the word is acting as an interrogative adjective or interrogative pronoun. If the word modifies a noun, it's an interrogative adjective. If it can stand alone, it's an interrogative pronoun.

Below, which is an interrogative adjective that modifies the noun "CD."

Which CD does Sarah like?

Interrogative Pronouns

An interrogative pronoun, like any pronoun, can stand on its own. When you see what, which, or whose in a question and you're not sure whether or not it's an interrogative pronoun, try forming the sentence as a declarative; if the word serves as an object in the declarative form, it's an interrogative pronoun. For example:

Whose is the orange cat?

The declarative form of this sentence is:

The orange cat is whose.

We know that whose is an interrogative pronoun in the original sentence because it serves as a direct object in the declarative sentence.

Here are some more example sentences:

Whose book is this?    ☜ whose modifies book; Interrogative adjective
Which does Sarah like?    ☜ which is the object of like; Interrogative pronoun
What CD does Sarah like most?    ☜ what modifies CD; Interrogative adjective
What are you up to?    ☜ what is the object of the prepositional phrase up to; Interrogative pronoun.

  • Hmm, there are several good points here. BTW, First, I often confuse the conjunction "where" with pronouns. Second, I think you could mention the subject role of those pronouns in interrogative questions like "Whose are these books."
    – Cardinal
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 23:06
  • @Cardinal I'm glad you find it useful. Hopefully, the OP will also find some value in it. It's hard to tell! ("Whose are these books" is a plural form of my example sentence above. In "Whose are these books," the subject is books, not whose. The declarative form is These books are whose, and whose is an interrogative adjective.) Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 23:36
  • @ P.E. Dant ,So what about how? Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 10:28
  • As I understand How can be classified as only an interrogative adverb.link Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 10:32
  • Finally I listed them; Inter. Pronoun : • who • which • whom • what • whose; Inter. Adjective :Whose, What, Which; Inter. Adverb :Why, Where,When, How Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 10:43

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