Questions

Questions in Spanish
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Preguntas

Knowing how to ask questions is essential for making plans, shopping, traveling, getting to know people, and any other activity that requires obtaining information.

 "To ask" = preguntar: e.g.,
"He’s asking why." – Pregunta por qué.
But "to ask a question" = hacer una pregunta.
You cannot say preguntar una pregunta.

There are two different types of questions, and different ways to ask each type in Spanish.

Closed Questions | Yes-No Questions | Simple Questions

Preguntas cerradas | Preguntas de sí o no

Questions which allow a limited selection of answers – a simple "yes" or "no" – are called closed questions. In English, closed questions always start with "do," "be," or "have." There are 3 ways to ask these kinds of questions in Spanish:

1. Form a sentence and put question marks around it (when writing) or raise the intonation of your voice at the end (when speaking).

Por ejemplo…

¿María está aquí? Is María here?
¿(Tú) tienes hambre?* Are you hungry?

2. Invert the subject and verb.

Por ejemplo…

¿Está María aquí? Is María here?
¿Tienes (tú) hambre? Are you hungry?

3. With a question that you’re pretty sure will get a yes answer, you can use one of the following tags at the end:

  • ¿no?
  • ¿verdad?
  • ¿no es verdad?
  • ¿no es cierto?

Por ejemplo …

Tienes hambre, ¿verdad? You’re hungry, right?
María está aquí, ¿no? Maria is here, isn’t she?

Open Questions | WH-Questions | Information Questions

Preguntas abiertas | Preguntas informativas

When you ask for information about who, what, when, etc., you’re asking an open question with a question word.**

1. To make a question with quién, use it as the subject of the sentence with the third person singular form of the verb.

Por ejemplo…

¿Quién tiene hambre? Who is hungry?
¿Quién está aquí? Who is here?

2. For questions with other question words, start with the question word, then add the verb conjugated for the appropriate subject.

Por ejemplo…

¿Dónde estás? Where are you?
¿Cuándo vamos a comer? When are we going to eat?

3. If you want to include the subject (as a noun, name, or subject pronoun), it goes at the end.

Por ejemplo…

¿Por qué llama Miguel? Why is Miguel calling?
¿Qué hacen ellos? What are they doing?

 * Notes

** The question word(s) may be any of the following:

 Related lessons

Learn French En français

Learn Italian In italiano

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