Question words in Spanish – Learn and Practice

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish question words.

Question words (also called Interrogative Words) are words we often use at the beginning of a question, indicating the type of information we are asking for.

They are equivalent to the English “What? When? Where?”, etc.

Two easy questions in Spanish
Two easy questions

In this lesson we will review all Spanish question words, with example sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

List of question words

The following is a list of all question words and their meanings:

  • qué = what (or which)
  • cuál, cuáles = which (or what)
  • cuándo = when
  • quién, quiénes = who
  • dónde = where
  • cómo = how
  • cuánto, cuánta = how much
  • cuántos, cuántas = how many
  • por qué = why

Next we will review each question word, giving examples of its use.

We will begin with an explanation on how to choose between qué and cuál / cuáles.

qué  vs.  cuál / cuáles

Both English words “what” and “which” can be translated as qué, cuál or cuáles, depending on the sentence.

In order to choose the right word, we need to apply the following logic:

– If the next word in the sentence is a noun…

… then qué always sounds better.

¿Qué coche tienes?
What car do you have?

¿A qué escuelas vais?
Which schools do you guys go to?

– If the next word in the sentence is not a noun…

… then we need to keep thinking:

  • If we are asking about something that belongs to an obvious category, we use cuál or cuáles, depending on singular or plural:

¿Cuál es tu número?
What’s your number? (among all possible numbers of the obvious category “numbers”)

¿Cuáles son tus colores favoritos?
What are your favorite colors? (among all possible colors of the category “colors”)

¿Cuál te gusta más?
Which one do you like more? (for example, while showing 2 dresses. Among the category “dresses”, which one of these do you like more?)

  • Otherwise, we use qué:

¿Qué quieres?
What do you want? (it’s an open question, there is no obvious category).

¿Qué han dicho ellos?
What have said? (no obvious category either).


cuándo means “when”:

¿Cuándo empieza la película?
When does the film start?

¿Desde cuándo estudias español?
Since when do you learn Spanish?

quién, quiénes

quién means singular “who”:

¿Quién es tu hermano?
Who is your brother?

¿Con quién juegas?
Who are you playing with?

quiénes means plural “who”:

¿Quiénes son tus amigos?
Who are your friends?


dónde means “where”:

¿Dónde vives?
Where do you live?

¿Dónde están mis cosas?
Where are my things?

We can place prepositions before “dónde” to ask about origin or destination:

de dónde (where from)
a dónde or adónde (where to)

¿De dónde eres?
Where are you from?

¿A dónde vas?
Where are you going (to)?


como means “how”:

¿Cómo estás?
How are you?

¿Cómo se dice “table” en español?
How do you say “table” in Spanish?

cuánto, cuánta

Both “cuánto” and “cuánta” mean “how much”.

cuánto is masculine:

¿Cuánto dinero tienes?
How much money do you have?

cuánta is feminine:

¿Cuánta mantequilla quieres?
How much butter do you want?

cuántos, cuántas

Both “cuántos” and “cuántas” mean “how many”.

cuántos is masculine:

¿Cuántos amigos tenemos en Madrid?
How many friends do we have in Madrid?

cuántas is feminine:

¿Cuántas manzanas vas a comprar?
How many apples are you going to buy?

por qué

por qué means “why”.

¿Por qué dices eso?
Why do you say that?

¿Por qué no vamos a Tailandia?
Why don’t we go to Thailand?

Accent marks on question words

All question words have accent marks when they play an interrogative role.

Examples with “dónde”:

¿Dónde estás?
Where are you?

No sé dónde estás.
I don’t know where you are. (Even though there are no question marks, someone is wondering. That counts as an interrogative role).

But sometimes we find these words without an accent mark, in cases where they work as relative pronouns, without an interrogative role.

Esa es la casa donde vive Manuel.
That’s the house where Manuel lives. (there is no interrogative role here, nobody’s wondering anything).



Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Spanish question words:

Exercise 1

Complete the following questions with the right question words. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions:

1) ¿ Qué ciudad prefieres?
What city do you prefer?

2) ¿ Cuál es tu ciudad favorita?
What is your favorite city?

3) ¿ De dónde sois?
Where are you guys from?

4) ¿ Cuándo es la fiesta?
When is the party?

5) ¿ Cuánta sal necesitas?
How much salt do you need?

6) ¿ Cuántos árboles hay en el parque?
How many trees are there in the park?

7) ¿ Cómo puedo ir a la estación?
How can I go to the station?

8) ¿ Por qué es azul el mar?
Why is the sea blue?

9) ¿ Quién es ella?
Who is she?

10) ¿ Quiénes son ellos?
Who are they?

11) ¿ Dónde está el museo?
Where is the museum?

Exercise 2

This exercise is about accent marks.

Fill the gaps choosing between the options in brackets:

1) Me pregunto qué significa esta palabra. (qué / que)
I wonder what this word means.

2) Esta es la casa que me gusta. (qué / que)
This is the house that I like.

3) España es el país donde paso las vacaciones. (dónde / donde)
Spain is the country where I vacation.

4) No sé dónde vive Fernando. (dónde / donde)
I don’t know where Fernando lives.

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