How to Ask Questions in Spanish [Audio + Exercise]
After learning common vocabulary to introduce yourself in Spanish, it is very useful to learn how to ask basic questions.
In Spanish, we use words that are called pronombres interrogativos (interrogative pronouns). These words have more or less the same use in English as in Spanish. Let's take a look:
Interrogative pronouns in Spanish
Qué = what
Cuál/cuáles = which
Quién/quiénes = who
Cómo = how
Dónde = where
Cuándo = when
Cuánto (-a)/Cuántos (-as) = how much / how many
Por qué = why
Now, let's use each of these words in a sentence:
¿Qué te gusta hacer los fines de semana? = What do you like to do on the weekends?
¿Cuál es tu habitación? = Which is your room?
¿Quién es tu mejor amiga? = Who is your best friend?
¿Cómo estás? = How are you?
¿Dónde vive tu madre? = Where does your mother lives?
¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? = When is your birthday?
¿Cuánto cuesta esta camiseta? = How much does this shirt cost?
¿Por qué estás triste? = Why are you sad?
In Spanish, we can also ask questions without an interrogative pronoun. Those types are called “yes” or “no” questions. But, unlike English, Spanish is not a language that uses auxiliary verbs for making questions (neither negative sentences) so forget about trying to translate the “do” or “did” forms in your English questions and observe these examples:
Yes and No Questions in Spanish
¿Quieres ir al parque hoy? = Do you want to go to the park?
Quieres ir al parque hoy = You want to go to the park today
As you can see the examples 1 and 2 are exactly the same. So how can you differentiate a question from an affirmative sentence if we don’t have an auxiliary verb (like in English)?
Firstly, when writing, we use this symbol: “¿” at the beginning of the question.
Secondly, when talking, intonation is key. Similar to English, questions in Spanish have an upward inflection at the end. Listen to the following examples and pay attention to the pronunciation.
¿Te gustaría ir a tomar un helado? = Would you like to go for ice cream?
¿Sabes dónde está mi lápiz? = Do you know where my pencil is?
¿Te puedo hacer una pregunta? = I can ask you a question?
¿Tienes un papel para prestarme? = Do you have a paper I can borrow?
Now is your turn, write down the questions form that you are not familiar with, and you can leave them in the comments so we can give you feedback. Also, try to use them in a sentence or in your next conversation with a friend or family.