Interrogative Determiners

There are three interrogative determiners in English: what, which, and whose. In this lesson we will go through each one of them.

"Interrogative Determiners" in English Grammar

What Are Interrogative Determiners?

We use interrogative determiners to ask questions. They make direct or indirect questions and exclamations.

English Interrogative Determiners

The three interrogative determiners in English are:

  1. what/whatever
  2. which/whichever
  3. whose/whosever

Interrogative Determiner: What

'What' is used in questions to ask for particular information about somebody or something. Unlike the pronoun 'what', which stands alone, the determiner 'what' always comes before a noun or a noun phrase.

What color is your eyes?

What kind of music do you like?

What time is it?

Warning

Notice that in the following examples, 'what' is a pronoun, not a determiner.

What do you do for a living?

What is your name?

Interrogative Determiner: Which

'Which' is used in questions to ask somebody to be exact about one or more people or things from a limited number.
That is why 'what' is considered a general determiner and 'which' is considered a specific determiner.

Which way is the pharmacy?

Which movie do you want to watch?

Which restaurant did you go to?

using an interrogative determiner in a sentence

Warning

Now notice that in the following examples, 'which' is a pronoun, not a determiner.

Which do you prefer: chocolate or vanilla?

Which is better: Harry Potter books or movies?

Interrogative Determiner: Whose

'Whose' is used in questions to ask about what belongs to which person. Notice that 'whose' functions both as an interrogative and a possessive determiner, so 'whose' is technically the only interrogative possessive determiner in English.

Whose jacket is this?

Whose house is up for sale?

Whose iPhone was stolen?

Warning

Now notice that in the following examples, 'whose' is a pronoun, not a determiner.

Whose are these shoes?

Whose is that limo outside?

Interrogative Determiners in Indirect Questions

Up till now, all the examples that we have seen so far are examples of direct questions. But, note that interrogative determiners can also appear in indirect questions. For example:

Can you tell me what flavor you want for your ice cream?

Do you know his sister is a teacher at which university?

I wonder whose house is up for sale.

Review

Interrogative words are words that are used to ask questions to get different information. There are three main interrogative words that we discussed in the article. Now, let us have a quick look over them.

Determiner Pronoun
What What school did you use to go? What are Those boxes for?
Which Which office in this building is looking for new staff? Which is worse? falling off the steps or fall in to the cesspool? because I experiences both today!
Whose Whose son is this young boy? whose are these beautiful puppies?

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Post-determiners

Post-determiners are terms that are used after central determiners. They are all used to modify the noun phrase. follow the article to learn more.

Determiner Order

As you know, pre-determiners, determiners, and post-determiners can be used together to modify a noun. In this lesson, we will learn about their order.

Possessive Determiners

Possessive determiners are types of function words used before a noun to show ownership or possession such as 'my,' 'your,' and 'his.'

Demonstrative Determiners

Demonstrative determiners in English are this, these, that and those. They are used to identify the person or thing that is being referred to.

Indefinite Determiners

Indefinite determiners are determiners that express quantity or the indefinite ideas of quality. They agree in number and gender with the noun they modify.

Relative Determiners

Relative determiners modify nouns within a relative clause. Follow the article to learn more about them.

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