What Are Interrogative Determiners?
Interrogative determiners are used in direct and indirect questions to ask about a specific noun or noun phrase. They help to identify or specify the noun that is being referred to in the question.
English Interrogative Determiners
The three interrogative determiners in English are:
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. Pay attention to the examples:
Notice that in the following examples, 'what' is a pronoun, not a determiner.
Interrogative Determiner: Which
'Which' is an interrogative determiner used in questions to ask for specific information about one or more people or things from a limited number of options. Pay attention to the examples:
When 'which' appears alone in a sentence, without a noun or noun phrase following it, it acts as a pronoun, not a determiner.
'What' vs. 'Which'
'Which' is considered a specific determiner because it helps to identify a particular noun or noun phrase with a limited range of possible answers, while 'what' is used to ask for more general information about an unknown or unspecified noun or noun phrase and is thus called a general determiner.
Interrogative Determiner: Whose
'Whose' is an interrogative determiner used in questions to ask about the possession or ownership of something. It functions both as a possessive determiner and an interrogative determiner, making it the only interrogative possessive determiner in English. Take a look at the examples:
Now notice that in the following examples, 'whose' is a pronoun, not a determiner.
Interrogative Determiners in Indirect Questions
All the examples we have seen so far were examples of direct questions. But, interrogative determiners can also appear in indirect questions. For example:
Can you tell me
Do you know his sister is a teacher at
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.
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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 are determiners that express quantity or the indefinite ideas of quality. They agree in number and gender with the noun they modify.