The interrogative pronouns in Italian

Interrogative pronouns in Italian

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What is an interrogative pronoun?

In English the interrogative pronouns are who…?, which…?, whose…?, whom…?, and what…?. They are used without a noun to ask questions.

The interrogative pronouns in Italian

  • These are the interrogative pronouns in Italian:
Chi?Who? Whom?
Che cosa?What?
Quale?Which? Which one?
Quanto?How much?
Quanti?How many?
  • Chi, che, cosa and che cosa never change their form.
Chi è?Who is it?
Chi sono?Who are they?
Che vuoi?What do you want?
Cosa vuole?What does he/she want?
Che cosa vogliono?What do they want?

Note that there is no difference between che, cosa and che cosa.

  • Quale is used for the masculine and feminine singular, and quali is used for masculine and feminine plural.
Conosco sua sorella. – Quale?I know his sister. – Which one?
Ho rotto dei bicchieri. – Quali?I broke some glasses. – Which ones?
  • Quanto and quanti have feminine forms.
Farina? Quanta ce ne vuole?Flour? How much is needed?
Quante persone passano la sera a leggere?How many people spend the evening reading?
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Che cos’è or qual è?

They both mean what is? but are used in different ways:

  • Use che cos’è? or che cosa sono? when you’re asking someone to explain or identify something.
Che cos’è questo? What’s this?
Che cosa sono questi? – Sono funghi.What are these? – They’re mushrooms.
  • Use qual è? or quali sono?, not che, when you ask  what is?, or what are?  to find out a particular detail, number, name, and so on.
Qual è il suo indirizzo?What’s her address?
Qual è la capitale della Finlandia?What’s the capital of Finland?
Quali sono I loro indirizzi?What are their addresses?

Note that quale becomes qual in front of a vowel.

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  • Use chi for both who and whom.
Chi ha vinto?Who won?
Chi hai visto?Whom did you see?
  • when there is a preposition in your question put it in front of chi.
A chi l’hai dato?Who did you give it to?
Con chi parlavi?Who were you talking to?
A chi si riferiva?To whom was he referring?
  • Use di chi è? or di chi sono? to ask who things belong to.
Di chi è questa borsa?Whose is this bag?
Di chi sono queste chiavi?Whose are these keys?
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