Interrogative Adverbs

Interrogative adverbs are words such as 'why' and 'where' that are used to ask questions. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

Interrogative Adverbs in the English Grammar

What Are Interrogative Adverbs?

Interrogative adverbs are words such as 'how, why, when, where' that are used to ask a question. The question can be a direct or indirect question.

Why Do We Use Interrogative Adverbs?

Interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions about the manner, time, reason, and place of an event. Check out the examples for more clarification:

Where did you study?

Why are you here?

Interrogative Adverbs: Types

Based on what kind of information an interrogative adverb is looking for, they are categorized into four main groups:

  1. interrogative adverbs of time
  2. interrogative adverbs of place
  3. interrogative adverbs of reason
  4. interrogative adverbs of manner

Interrogative Adverb of Time

The interrogative adverbs of time are the terms 'when, how long, how often' in English. They demand time-related information and ask how long, how often, or in which exact time something takes place. Here are a few examples:

When did you get up today?

How long have you been traveling?

Here is a list of interrogative adverbs of time:

  • When
  • Whenever
  • How long
  • How often

Whenever shall we get there?

Interrogative Adverb of Place

The interrogative adverbs of place ask about the location or place of something. The interrogative adverb of place is the term 'where'. Let us take a look at the examples:

Where were you on holidays?

Where did you get your degree?

Here is a list of interrogative adverbs of place:

  • Where
  • Wherever
  • Wheresoever
  • Whence
  • Whereabouts
  • Wherein
  • Whereto

Whence does Parliament derive this power?

Whereabouts do you live?

Wherein lies the difference between conservatism and liberalism?

Interrogative Adverb of Reason

When you need an explanation about something or when you want to know the reason, you can use the interrogative adverb of reason which is the word 'why.' Here are a few examples:

Why is he here?

Why did you get fired?

Here is a list of interrogative adverbs of reason:

  • Why
  • Wherefore

Wherefore art thou Romeo?

Interrogative Adverb of Manner

The interrogative adverb of manner is the term 'how' which is used to ask about the manner, degree, instrument, or amount in which something is happened or done. Check these examples to help you learn it better:

How did you scape?

How much does he love you?

Interrogative Determiners vs. Interrogative Adverbs

Interrogative determiners modify a noun, and they are followed immediately by a noun; but interrogative adverbs are used alone and do not modify a noun. Interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions. Here are a few examples:

What color is your car? → interrogative determiner

Where is your car? → interrogative adverb

"when" is an interrogative adverb of time

Interrogative Adverbs vs. Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask about people, nouns, and places, but interrogative adverbs are used to ask about places, time, manner, and reason.

So the only mutual interrogative is the term 'where' which is used to ask about the place. Here are the examples:

Where are the keys? → interrogative adverb and pronoun

When is your birthday? → interrogative adverb

Who is your mother? → interrogative pronoun

Using Interrogative Adverbs in Indirect Questions

There are two kinds of indirect questions in English as follows:

  1. a question in a statement
  2. a question in a question

A Question in a Statement:

To ask a question in a statement all you have to do is to use a declarative sentence starting with an interrogative adverb that follows the verb ask.

In this case, there is a period at the end of the sentence. Here are a few examples that can help you learn them better:

She asked why you left the house.

My mother asked where your house is.

A Question in a Question

When we use a declarative clause starting with interrogative adverbs in a yes/no question we are using an indirect question in a direct question. In this case, we use a question mark at the end of the indirect question. Here are the examples:

Did she know when the party started?

Did he ask why we are here?

Head of a Noun Clause

An interrogative adverb can also be used as the head of a nominal clause which is used as the object of a transitive verb.

These transitive verbs are verbs such as know, wonder, ask, suppose, etc. Check out the examples:

I know why you are sad.

He wondered when she leaves the house.

Questions with Interrogative Adverbs

Interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions. To make direct questions with interrogative adverbs all you have to do is to use an auxiliary after the interrogative adverb. In other words, a yes/no question follows the interrogative adverb to form a wh-question. Look at some examples:

Why do you change the subject?

How quickly did you finish the project?

Review

Interrogative adverbs are wh-words that are used to ask questions. Here are the interrogative adverbs on the list:

  • when
  • why
  • how
  • where

Interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions about:

  • time
  • place
  • reasons
  • manner
  • degree
  • quantity (amount) and quality

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Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place help us express where the verb is taking place. Using them will help us be more accurate about locations.

Adverbs of Time

'Adverbs of time' give you some information about the time something happened. Using them will help us add details about time to our sentences.

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