Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions, or interrogate.

Don't worry, though. They don't ask for your alibi.

Usually.

The following are examples of interrogative pronouns:
- Who/whom
- Whoever/whomever
- What
- Which
- Whose

 

Examples

"Who put this whoopee cushion on my chair?"

Here, the subject of the sentence is who, which replaces the name of the prankster who placed the whoopee cushion.

"Which is your sand castle?"

In this example, which is the subject of the sentence. It stands in for the specific sand castle about which the speaker is asking. Maybe it's one of the amazing feats of sand sculpture featured at the annual Sand Sculpture Festival in Ostend, Belgium.

"What was the final score of the Knicks game?"

In this case, what is the subject of the sentence and replaces the actual score of the basketball game.

 

Common mistakes

Let's talk about the grammatical elephant in the room: who vs. whom. Spoiler alert: whom is not just a fancy way of saying who.

Both words are pronouns, but you use who when referring to the subject of a clause and whom when referring to the object of a clause.

Whom do you worship? Tom Brady. Who worships you? Probably not Tom Brady, but he will when you surpass him as the greatest football quarterback of all time. Hey, it could happen.

The best test is plugging in the word "him." If it works—you could easily replace the Q&A "Whom do you worship? Tom Brady" with "Whom do you worship? Him"— then you should use whom. Match the M with the M.

One last thing before we go: plenty of people are in favor of getting rid of whom altogether. While your English teacher might be a stickler for it, most people won't fault you for a slip-up.