Interrogative Adverbs for intermediate learners

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

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Interrogative Adverbs in the English Grammar

What Are Interrogative Adverbs?

As their name suggests, interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions.

What Kinds of Interrogative Adverbs Do We Have?

Mainly, interrogative adverbs are classified into four groups. Take a look at the list below:

  • Interrogative Adverbs of Time
  • Interrogative Adverbs of Manner
  • Interrogative Adverbs of Place
  • Interrogative Adverbs of Reason

Now, let us see how each category functions and is used in statements:

Interrogative Adverbs of Time

Interrogative adverbs of time are used to ask questions and demand information about time. Words such as 'When', 'how long', and 'how often' are used in this category. Let us examine some examples below:

How long has she been crying?

As you can see, the sentence is asking about the duration of an action.

When are you ever going to stop nagging, Belle?

Interrogative Adverbs of Manner

The second group is called interrogative adverbs of manner. These adverbs ask about how an action has been performed. Questions of this kind begin with 'how'. Let us take a quick look at some examples:

How were you able to accept all of this toxicity and never complain?

How could she treat me like that?

As you can see, the sentence asks about what manner the action took place in.

Interrogative Adverbs of Place

The third group is called interrogative adverbs of place. 'Where' is used to ask about the location of something. Pay attention to the following examples:

Where were you going the other day?

Where does Angie think she is going?

Here, the sentence is asking about the location of an action or a person.

Interrogative Adverbs of Reason

The next group of this category is called interrogative adverbs of reason. These adverbs are used when we want to ask questions to know about the reasons something did or did not happen. 'Why' is mainly used in this form of a question. Let us take a look at the examples below:

Why did you call me a brute in front of my wife?

Why is she so relaxed right now?

As you can see, the sentence demands a reason as an answer.

Tip!

It is useful to know that these adverbs can also be interrogative determiners, although both are used to ask questions, an interrogative determiner always modifies a noun, whereas an interrogative adverb always comes alone and never modifies a noun. Compare the following sentences:

Which car do you like to ride more?

Here, 'what' is followed by a noun which makes it an interrogative determiner.

When is Geovanni going to learn to think before taking an action?

Here, 'when' is used alone which makes it an interrogative determiner.

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