- Question and Exclamation Marks in Spanish. Are there two?
- Asking Questions in Spanish - The Simple Form
- Asking Questions in Spanish - Using Interrogative Words
- Por qué, Porqué, and Porque
- Working with Exclamatory Sentences
There are several different ways to ask questions in Spanish. Let's learn a little more about them as well as about how to emphasize or give more emotion to sentences.
¡Qué perrito tan lindo!
What a cute doggy!
¿Qué quieres comer?
What do you want to eat?
Question and Exclamation Marks in Spanish. Are there two?
Rule 1. You have probably already noticed that Spanish uses a second question mark or exclamation point at the beginning of sentences, in contrast to other languages, which only use one at the end.
The mark that goes at the beginning of an exclamatory or interrogative sentence is called the opening mark or signo de apertura.
|Opening exclamation mark||Opening question mark|
As you might guess, the mark that goes at the end of an exclamatory or interrogative sentence is called the closing mark or signo de cierre.
|Closing exclamatory mark||Closing interrogative mark|
Let's look at an example:
¡Qué bonito día!
What a nice day!
¿Qué día es hoy?
What day is today?
In formal speech, both punctuation marks must be used. However, in informal written language, such as in text messages, it is common to see Spanish speakers using only the closing sign.
Asking Questions in Spanish - The Simple Form
Rule 2. There are different ways to ask questions in Spanish. The simplest way is by changing the tone of voice (in the spoken language) or by adding question marks to a sentence in the written language.
You are cold.
Are you cold?
As you can see in the example, in English, the conjugated form of the verb to be, "are," moves to the beginning of the sentence. In Spanish, this is not always necessary -- in this example, the addition of the question marks was enough.
Asking Questions in Spanish - Using Interrogative Words
Rule 3. When asking a question, you can't always just add a question mark. Sometimes, you also need to use an interrogative word. In Spanish, there are two types: interrogative pronouns and interrogative adverbs.
|Quién, Quiénes*||Used with people||¿Quién es tu hermano?||Who is your brother?|
|Qué||Used with nouns that are not people||¿Qué es esto?||What is this?|
|Cuál, Cuáles*||Identifies a noun among others of the same type||¿Cuál es tu libro?||Which is your book?|
|Dónde||Used to ask about location||¿Dónde está la universidad?||Where is the university?|
|Cuándo||Used with time||¿Cuándo es el concierto?||When is the concert?|
|Cómo||Used to ask how, in what way||¿Cómo estás?||How are you?|
|Por qué||Used to ask about reason||¿Por qué te fuiste?||Why did you leave?|
*These pronouns have singular and plural forms.
Rule 4. Interrogative words must have the correct accent mark. This is very important, because it differentiates them from relative pronouns and other words. In the case of cómo, for example, it differentiates it from the verb comer in the first person (yo como).
Por qué, Porqué, and Porque
Rule 5. Although these words are very similar and are used to express the reason, they cannot be used interchangeably, as they have different functions.
¿Por qué te gusta la pizza?
Why do you like pizza?
Por qué - An interrogative composed of the preposition por and the pronoun que written separately with an accent. It is used in questions to know the reason for something.
No entiendo el porqué de tus acciones.
I don't understand the reason for your actions.
Porqué - This one is similar to the interrogative por qué. However, it has the function of a noun and is therefore accompanied by an article.
No fui a la escuela porque estaba enferma.
I didn't go to school because I was sick.
Porque - This one is not used to question something or someone -- rather, it is a conjunction used to explain the cause or reason.
Working with Exclamatory Sentences
Rule 6. Once you are familiar with interrogative pronouns and adverbs, it will be much easier to work with forming exclamatory sentences, since some of the same words are used. However, exclamatory sentences, by their very nature, are almost always limited to the use of just qué and cómo.
¡Qué bonito perrito!
What a cute little dog!
¡Cómo me molesta eso!
How annoying that is!
Rule 7. As with interrogatives, exclamatives must carry an accent mark.
Rule 8. In the case of an exclamatory sentence, it is more common to simply add exclamation marks or change the tone of voice, as seen in the simple way of asking questions section.
¡Gracias por participar!
Thank you for your participation!
¿ ________________ son esas personas?