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Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives (also regarded as interrogative determiners) change nouns and pronouns in the same way that all adjectives do.

What, which, and whose are the main interrogative adjectives in English Grammar. They are referred to be "interrogative" since they are typically employed to ask questions.

Interrogative Adjectives

As an example:

  1. "What document are you starting to read?
  2. "Which sweater are you planning to order?"
  3. "Whose desktop is this?"

In each instance, the interrogative adjective alters the noun it precedes: document, sweater, and desktop.

Interrogative Adjectives: How to Use Them

What and which are interrogative adjectives that are frequently used interchangeably, although whose is quite distinct.

Interrogative Adjectives

Let's have a look at when each should be used:

Which vs What

While what and which are frequently used interchangeably, there is a distinction between the two.

Usually, we use the adjective "what" whenever the number of possible answers is uncertain or unlimited, and we use the adjective "which" whenever we either recognize how many options there are or we take into account the choices to be more confined.

Consider the difference between the following two sentences:

  1. "What gift do you think you will get for your birthday?"
  2. "Which gift do you think you will get for your birthday?"

In the first statement, the person speaking does not have any clue how many possible gifts there are. The speaker appears to have a notion of what the presents might be in the second statement and that the options are restricted.

Consider the following example:

  1. "What film do you wish to see?"
  2. "Which film do you wish to see?"

Again, the alternatives appear to be limitless in the first example. In contrast, in the second statement, the speaker might have discussed two or three films with the listener and attempted to make the final decision.

In most cases, we can choose either adjective what or which without confusing the reader. However, if there are clearly only a few possibilities, which is the appropriate interrogative adjective to employ?


Whose is a possessive adjective that signifies ownership or belonging.

We can use it to find out who owns an object or is the owner of the thing/item.

As an example:

  1. "Whose shoes are on the slab?"
  2. "Whose novel is this?"
  3. "Whose responsibility is it?"

In these situations, the speaker is attempting to determine who owns the shoes, novel, and responsibility.

Interrogative Adjectives

Direct questions

In regular straightforward questions, interrogative adjectives occur at the start of the phrase and are followed quickly by the noun that they alter. All of the instances we've explored up to this point have been straight queries. On the other hand, interrogative adjectives do not just appear in direct queries.

Indirect questions

Indirect questions might also contain interrogative adjectives. When this occurs, they occur in the midst of the phrase but quickly precede the changed noun. A few indirect questions are often used to showcase politeness:

  1. "Can you tell me whose shoes are on the slab?"
  2. "Would you please tell me which way is east?"
  3. "Do you remember what day it is?"

Similar indirect queries are used to seek clarification or for expressing surprise:

  1. "You would like to have which laptop for Birthday?"
  2. "You are dining with whose sister?"
  3. "John wants to see which movie?"

In such circumstances, the interrogative adjective is emphasized-we can feel the emphasis on the terms when we speak these statements aloud.

In reported questions

Interrogative adjectives also show up in the midst of reported questions. Reported questions are likewise indirect in the sense that they inform us about queries.

As an example:

  1. "He is curious to know whose shoes are on the slab."
  2. "He inquired which way was east."
  3. "She inquired what day it was."

In each of the instances, the speaker is reporting or explaining previously asked questions instead of asking new ones.

Other statements

Interrogative adjectives are occasionally employed in sentences that are not questions at all: they don't pose questions directly or indirectly, but they nonetheless similarly change nouns.

As an example:

  1. "I can't recollect whose shoes they are."
  2. "I don't know which direction is east."
  3. "I remember what day it is."

Where should you place an interrogative adjective in a phrase or statement?

Interrogative adjectives are typically the first term of a statement since they are frequently used to introduce questions:

  1. What city did they relocate to?
  2. Which film are you most interested in seeing?
  3. Whose club are we heading to?
Interrogative Adjectives

Interrogative adjectives, on the other hand, can occur in the middle of a sentence when employed in indirect questions:

  1. I failed to ask her which gown I should get.
  2. Did he inquire as to whose vehicle is parked on the lawn?

Best practices for interrogative adjectives

There are numerous aspects to look out for when it pertains to interrogative adjectives.

1. As previously stated, what, which, and whose are not employed as comparative or superlative adjectives. It makes no sense to refer to something as "whicher" or "the most whose."

2. When employed as interrogative adjectives, the words what and which have somewhat distinct meanings.

When we pose an open-ended question, or there are no possible answers, we usually use the term what. When particular possibilities are presented or implied, we often use the word which.

As an example,

  1. What college did you attend? (The questioner is not restricting the options; any college is a viable option.)
  2. There are four buildings on this road. Which of these buildings is yours? (The asker has narrowed down the available replies to one of four buildings.)

3. A typical mistake is spelling the term whose as who's.

Whose is a possessive (interrogative) adjective that implies to ownership. Who's is an abbreviation that means "who is" or "who has."

The following two sentences demonstrate how to utilize these two words properly:

  1. Whose jersey is this?
  2. I do not understand who's (who is) going to be at the marriage ceremony.

4. The only interrogative adjectives include the terms whose, what, and which.

The interrogative terms why, when, where, and how are adverbs rather than adjectives when employed in inquiries.

These terms are not frequently employed to modify nouns or pronouns when asked a question. As an example,

Adjective: Which motorcycle should I try riding? (This alters the noun motorcycle.) It is an adjective.)

Adverb: How early were you? (How does the adjective early change? It's an adverb.)

Lastly, the terms what, which, and whose can be used as pronouns in questions. When employed in this manner, they do not function as interrogative adjectives:

Adjective: What tint was the butterfly? (Explain what an adjective that changes the word tint is.)

Pronoun: What is the response? (Explain what a pronoun is. It can exist on its own in this statement.)

Note: If your interrogative does not alter a noun or a pronoun, it is a pronoun rather than an adjective (aka determiner).

Examples of interrogative adjectives in a sentence

The below-mentioned statements demonstrate how to utilize the adjectives whose, what, and which in statements.


Whose dinner is this? (Whose is the modifier for the word dinner.) It is utilized to ask who the dinner relates to.)


What room is the event taking place in? (What alters the noun room. It is used to inquire about the event's location.)


Which suitcase is Katie's? (This changes the noun suitcase.) It is utilized to ask for help in recognizing the suitcase that belongs to Katie.)

Unlike nouns and verbs, adjective groupings are frequently less specified. Several style guides and grammar resources, for example, regard interrogative adjectives as a category of words called as determiners, in which case they may be known as interrogative determiners or simply interrogatives.

Interrogative Adjectives

The interrogative adjectives which, what, and whose, unlike many other adjectives, may also be employed as pronouns, as in What exactly is this? Furthermore, using any of these terms as comparative or superlative adjectives makes no grammatical sense: something can be quicker than something else, but something cannot be "what-er" than another thing.

While these characteristics may justify defining interrogative adjectives as a distinct part of speech, we regard what, which, and whose to be adjectives when used to alter nouns and pronouns. However, not every style guide will embrace this strategy, so don't be shocked if you don't see these words described as a form of the adjective.

Interrogative Adjectives in Sentences Examples

The interrogative adjectives have been highlighted in the sentences below for your convenience.

  1. Whose novel was that?
  2. Which pencil do you prefer?
  3. What novels are you going to purchase today?
  4. Which document on grammar and punctuation do you suggest?
  5. Which group scored the most points in the most recent tournament?
  6. Which contestant did get a fifty today?
  7. What sauce did you choose to make this meal?
  8. Which toy is Williams?
  9. Which music is Ziya listening to?
  10. What item did you buy from them?
  11. Which subjects are more essential for the conversation?
  12. Whose trousers did you order?
  13. Whose smartphone did you utilize you spoke to me?

Forming questions is a skill; one must follow the rules and practices to avoid going wrong with interrogative adjectives.

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