Singular Interrogative Pronoun(11 Important Facts)


In this article we will be dealing with singular interrogative pronouns with the aid of singular interrogative examples.

Singular interrogative pronouns in simple terms are nothing but the question words (what, whom, who, whose and which) that are used as a replacement to the singular noun or the singular noun phrase in a sentence in order to ask a question about the unknown noun.

Now go through the following singular interrogative pronoun examples to get a basic overview.

  • 1. Who gave you the book?
  • 2. What is Rahul’s favorite food?
  • 3. Who is the class leader?
  • 4. Which do you choose?
  • 5. Whom should I call tomorrow?
  • 6. Whose is that pink color bag?

The words italicized in the above sentences are the singular interrogative pronouns in each sentence as when these questions are asked, the answer that we get is a singular noun or noun phrase. Hence in this case, these singular interrogative pronouns have taken the place of those singular nouns and noun phrases.

Can interrogative pronouns be singular?

Yes, indeed, interrogative pronouns can be singular.

Example: Who is the tall boy in the last bench?

In this sentence, ‘who’ is the interrogative pronoun as it is used for the purpose of questioning. ‘Who’ is a singular interrogative as it is questioning or interrogating about a singular noun (which is the name of the tall boy in the last bench).

Example: To whom were you waving your hands?

In this sentence, ‘whom’ is the interrogative pronoun as it is used for the purpose of questioning. ‘Whom’ is a singular interrogative as it is questioning or interrogating about a singular noun (which is the name of the person to whom the hands are waved).

Hence, interrogative pronouns can definitely be in singular number.

When interrogative pronouns are singular?

Interrogative pronouns are singular when they are used as a question word to replace the noun or the noun phrase (name, place, animal, or thing) that is singular in number.

Example: What is your brother’s name?

‘What’ is the interrogative pronoun in this sentence as it is used for the purpose of interrogating. It is singular as the answer that we will get for this question is a singular noun, which is nothing but the name of the brother.

So whenever an interrogative pronoun is used as replacement for a singular noun or a noun phrase then, at those times, it acts as a singular interrogative pronoun.

Why are interrogative pronouns singular?

Interrogative pronouns are singular because only then they can take the place of a singular noun while questioning. If they are not singular, then they cannot replace the singular noun and noun phrase in a sentence.

Example: Which is your favorite color, red or black?

‘Which’ is the interrogative pronoun utilized in this sentence for the purpose of questioning. The interrogative pronoun ‘which’ here is replacing any one color out of red and black(singular noun), hence it is regarded as a singular interrogative pronoun.

singular interrogative pronoun
Singular Interrogative Pronoun Examples

Which interrogative pronouns are always singular?

No interrogative pronouns are always singular. They can either be singular or plural based on the number of the noun or the noun phrase that they replace and substitute.

Example: Who is the girl standing on the stage?

In this sentence ‘who’ acts as the singular interrogative pronoun as it is replacing the name of one girl (singular noun). The answer we will get for this question will be the name of a girl, and hence it is a singular interrogative pronoun.

Example: Who are the girls standing on the stage?

In this sentence, the interrogative pronoun ‘who’ acts as plural as it is replacing the noun which is plural in number. The answer we will get for this question will be plural, hence, ‘who’ here is a plural interrogative pronoun.

Hence, the same interrogative pronoun ‘who’ and all the other interrogative pronouns can be both singular and plural and not always singular based on the number of noun or the noun phrase they are substituting.

Singular interrogative pronoun examples

The following are the singular interrogative pronoun examples.

  • 1. What are you searching for since yesterday evening?
  • 2. Who is the man who is staring at us?
  • 3. Whom do you plan to bring along with you for today’s party?
  • 4. Which do you want, cold coffee or iced tea?
  • 5. The car has been parked here from afternoon. Whose is it?

Singular interrogative pronoun examples with detailed explanations

Now, we shall identify the singular interrogative pronouns in each sentence and analyze them in detail.

1. What are you searching for since yesterday evening?

‘What’ is the singular interrogative pronoun utilized in this sentence. ‘What’ here is replacing an object that is singular in number (singular noun) and it is used for the purpose of questioning and hence it is a singular interrogative pronoun.

2. Who is the man who is staring at us?

‘Who’ is the singular interrogative pronoun utilized in this sentence. ‘Who’ here is replacing the name of a man (singular noun) and it is used for the purpose of questioning and hence it is a singular interrogative pronoun.

3. Whom do you plan to bring along with you for today’s party?

‘Whom’ is the singular interrogative pronoun utilized in this sentence. ‘Whom’ here is taking the place of a person’s name (singular noun) and it is used for the purpose of interrogating and hence it is a singular interrogative pronoun.

4. Which do you want, cold coffee or iced tea?

‘Which’ is the singular interrogative pronoun utilized in this sentence. ‘Which’ here is replacing any one of the two – cold coffee or iced tea (singular noun) and it is used for the purpose of questioning. The answer for this question is either cold coffee or iced tea and hence ‘which’ here is a singular interrogative pronoun.

5. The car has been parked here from afternoon. Whose is it?

‘Whose’ is the singular interrogative pronoun utilized in this sentence. ‘Whose’ here is replacing the name of the car’s owner (singular noun) and it is used for the purpose of interrogating and hence it is a singular interrogative pronoun.

Can interrogative pronouns be plural?

Yes, interrogative pronouns can indeed be plural when they take the place of a noun or a noun phrase that is plural in number. In order to replace a plural noun or a plural noun phrase in a question, plural interrogative pronouns should be used.

Example: Who are your friends?

In this sentence, ‘who’ is the plural interrogative pronoun as it replacing the names of the friends (plural noun). The answer we will get for this question is more than one name, hence ‘who’ here is acting as a plural interrogative pronoun.

Plural interrogative pronoun examples

Do go through the following plural interrogative pronoun examples to get a basic idea about plural interrogative pronouns.

  • 1. What are your plans for this weekend?
  • 2. Who are those who have still not completed the assignments?
  • 3. Which are the books that you have already read?
  • 4. Who are all attending the gala today evening?
  • 5. What are the dishes that you have ordered?

Plural interrogative pronoun examples with detailed explanations

Below, we will identify the plural interrogative pronouns in every sentence and understand them completely.

1. What are your plans for this weekend?

‘What’ is the plural interrogative pronoun in the above sentence. ‘What’ here replaces the noun that is plural – the list of plans for the weekend and is utilized for questioning and hence it is a plural interrogative pronoun.

2. Who are those who have still not completed the assignments?

‘Who’ is the plural interrogative pronoun in the above sentence. ‘Who’ in this sentence replaces the noun that is plural – the names of the people who have not finished their assignments and is utilized for questioning and hence it is a plural interrogative pronoun.

3. Which are the books that you have already read?

The plural interrogative pronoun here in this sentence is ‘which’. ‘Which’, here replaces the plural nounthe names of the books already read. The answer we get to this question is plural and hence ‘which’ here is a plural interrogative pronoun.

4. Who are all attending the gala today evening?

The plural interrogative pronoun here in this sentence is ‘who’. ‘Who’, here replaces the plural noun – the names of the people who will attend the gala in the evening. The answer we get to this question is plural and hence ‘who’ here is a plural interrogative pronoun.

5. What are the dishes that you have ordered?

 ‘What’ is the plural interrogative pronoun in the above sentence. ‘What’ in this sentence replaces the noun that is plural – the names of the dishes ordered and is utilized for questioning and hence it is a plural interrogative pronoun.

Which interrogative pronouns can be either singular or plural?

All the interrogative pronouns – what, who, which, whose, whom can either be singular or plural depending on the grammatical number of the noun or the noun phrase that they are replacing or substituting.

Example: Who is participating in the debate competition next week?

In this sentence, the interrogative pronoun ‘who’ is singular as it is replacing the noun that is singular in number. The answer that we will get to this question is the name of one person and hence ‘who’ in this sentence acts as a singular interrogative pronoun.

Example: Who are participating in the debate competition next week?

However, in this sentence, the interrogative pronoun ‘who’ is plural as it is replacing the noun that is plural in number. The answer that we will get to this question is the name of more than one person and hence ‘who’ in this sentence acts as a plural interrogative pronoun.

Conclusion

Thus, from the above examples and explanations we came to know how, when and why interrogative pronouns are used to question about a noun that is unknown, thereby replacing it.

Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi...I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran. I have done my Masters in English Literature. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

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