As the name suggests, the Interrogative Pronouns are used to form queries, gather information and ask questions.
· Since the basic function of a Pronoun is to take the place of Noun, Interrogative Pronouns are those that perform the function of Noun as the Subject or Object in a sentence and asks queries.
· Often, it has no antecedent since the antecedent is not known and hence the need to ask questions.
There are five Interrogative Pronouns which are used to ask questions of specific nature.
· Amongst these ‘Who’ and ‘Whom’ refer only to people while the rest , i.e. ‘What’, ‘Which’, ‘Whose’ refer to people and objects both.
· The basic premise of Interrogative Pronouns is only to ask questions and indirect questions.
A. WHAT: Asks question about people or objects and serves as the Subject in a sentence.
1. What is your husband’s name?
2. What is the address you live in?
3. What do you want for dinner tonight?
4. What is your class timing?
5. What do you wish to do in life?
B. WHICH: Refers to people and objects both and used as the Subject in a sentence.
1. Which dessert would you prefer?
2. Which of the boys is your son?
3. Which movie do you reckon will be better?
4. Which leader would be a better choice?
5. Which problem should be our primary concern?
C. WHO: Refers only to peoples and used as the Subject in a sentence.
1. I wonder who is coming to the party.
2. Who is taking the class?
3. Who shall we consult in this moment of crisis?
4. Who will help me out of this fix?
5. Who will be the game – changer?
D. WHOM: Rarely used in modern usage. This pronoun is used to refer to only people and the only one to be used as the Object or recipient of an action, in a sentence.
1. To whom are you referring to?
2. Whom would you prefer to be the winner?
3. Whom have you discussed this issue with?
4. Whom are we gifting this to?
5. Whom would you want to take over the seat in the next term election?
E. WHOSE: This pronoun refers to people and object both and it serves as the Subject in a sentence. Its usage is always related to possession.
1. Whose dog littered the driveway?
2. Whose scooter is this?
3. Whose bag was missing earlier in the day?
4. Whose name cropped up in the course of the investigation?
5. Whose brother is responsible for the friction yesterday?
· Difference between WHO and WHOM
The words ‘Who’ and ‘Whom’ are commonly mistaken and it would be quite right, at this juncture to validate their usage based on their separate functions in a sentence.
While the word ‘who’ is an Interrogative Pronoun that is used as the Subject in a sentence, ‘Whom’ should only be used as the Object, whether it be direct, indirect or object of the preposition.
Who is the contender? (Subject)
Whom are we calling first? (Object)
Who told you? (Subject)
Whom did you tell? (Object)
· At times the suffix –ever or its archaic form –so ever is used along with Interrogative Pronouns to frame questions, especially to add an element of surprise or confusion.
Whatever, Whoever, Whomever, Whichever, Whosever.
1. Whoever would to deal with such a murky business?
2. Whatever made her cry?
3. Whichever topic catches your fancy, you are free to choose.
· Please note that these five words also form Relative Pronouns. The only difference being Relative Pronouns might, at times, figure in questions but Interrogative Pronouns are found only in questions and have no other usage.