Difference Between Interrogative Pronoun and Interrogative Adjective

Interrogative Pronoun vs Interrogative Adjective
 

Without knowing the difference between interrogative pronoun and interrogative adjective, one cannot use them correctly in English. In English language, we use interrogative pronouns and interrogative adjectives when formulating questions. Even though these may look alike, there is a difference between the two. Interrogative pronouns are used to represent something of which the question is being asked. Interrogative adjective, on the other hand, only modifies a noun and cannot stand alone. This highlights the main difference between the two types. This article attempts to provide a more elaborative picture of the two criteria while emphasizing the differences.

What is an Interrogative Pronoun?

Interrogative pronouns are used when formulating questions with the intention of representing something of which the question is focused on finding out. Who, whom, which and what can be considered as interrogative pronouns. Let us understand the function of each through examples.

Who – Who gave you that?

Whom- Whom did you call?

Which – Which do you like?

What – What happened to you yesterday?

Now let us pay attention to how the answer becomes the pronoun through an example.

Who gave you that?

Jane gave it.

Note how the pronoun is represented through the interrogative pronoun in the question form. Also, the pronoun can be used as the subject or object of the sentence.

What is an Interrogative Adjective?

In general, adjectives are used to describe or modify a noun. Interrogative adjectives also function in a similar manner by modifying a noun through interrogation. The commonly used interrogative adjectives are which and what. However, unlike interrogative pronouns, interrogative adjectives always needs the assistance of a noun and cannot stand alone. For example:

Which book is yours?

Pay attention to the above example. The interrogative adjective ‘which’ is used to describe the noun; in this case, book. It is true that if we say ‘which is yours?’ that is also grammatically accurate, but then the word ‘which’ stands alone without the assistance of a noun. In such an instance, it becomes an interrogative pronoun, not interrogative adjective.

Difference Between Interrogative Pronoun and Interrogative Adjective

“Which book is yours?”

This highlights that the words such as which, what can be used both as interrogative adjectives and pronouns. In both cases, they have the ability of conveying a meaning by modification and representation.

What is the difference between Interrogative Pronoun and Interrogative Adjective?

Let us sum up the difference in the following manner.

• Interrogative pronouns are used to represent something of which the question is being asked.

• Interrogative adjectives modify or else describe a noun.

• The main difference between the two categories is that while an interrogative pronoun can stand alone, an interrogative adjective just like all other adjectives needs the support of a noun.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Book collection by TomTheHand (GFDL)