Interrogative Adverbs: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what interrogative adverbs are? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on interrogative adverbs, including the definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is an interrogative adverb?

Today we will explore the main interrogative adverbs. According to Grammar Monster, the interrogative adverbs are “why,” “where,” “when,” and “how.”  “When” is used to ask about time-related matters, “where” is used to ask about place-related matters, and “why” is used to ask about reasons why things occur. “How” is used to ask about manner, time, quantity, amount, and degree. These are all used to ask questions. An interrogative adverb can be a single-word adverb, adverbial phrase or adverbial clause. When an interrogative adverb starts a question, the second word is the verb.

French interrogative adverbs are used in a similar way like in these examples from Thought Co.:

  •  Je ne vous ai pas entendu. >  I didn’t hear you.
  •  Tu peux manger n’importe quand. > You can eat whenever / anytime.
  •  Comment vous appelez-vous ? > What’s your name?
  •  Comment va-t-il ? > How is he doing?
  •  Où habite-t-elle ? / Où est-ce qu’elle habite ? > Where does she live?
  •  Qu’avais-tu besoin de lui en parler ? > Why did you have to go and talk to him about it?
  •  Olivier et Roland, que n’êtes-vous ici ? (Victor Hugo) > Olivier and Roland, why aren’t you here?
  •  Où est-ce qu’elle a trouvé ce sac ? > Where did she find this bag?
  •  Où veux-tu manger ? > Where do you want to eat?
  •  Combien de livres veut-il ? / Combien de livres est-ce qu’il veut ? > How many books does he want?
  •  Quand est-ce que Paul va arriver ? > When is Paul going to arrive?
  •  Combien de temps avez-vous ? > How much time do you have
  •  Quand veux-tu te réveiller ? > When do you want to wake up?
  •  Comment as-tu fait ça ? > How did you do that?
  •  Pouquoi est-ce qu’ils sont en retard ? > Why are they late?
  •  Combien de pommes est-ce que tu vas acheter ? > How many apples are you going to buy?
  •  Comment ? > What?
  •  Pourquoi êtes-vous partis ? > Why did you leave?
  •  Quand manges-tu ? / Quand est-ce que tu manges ? > When do you eat?
  •  Comment t’appelles-tu? > What is your (informal) name?

These are also used in Spanish and include dónde, cómo as in cómo te llamas, cuándo, adónde, and more. You may also see an interrogative adjective, which has similar characteristics of interrogative adverbs.

Many different languages also contain words that mean adverb. You may notice that some of these translations of adverb look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of adverb is provided by Word Sense

  •  Galician: adverbio‎ (masc.)
  •  Nynorsk: adverb‎ (neut.)
  •  Crimean Tatar: zarf‎
  •  Erzya: малавал‎
  •  Russian: наре́чие‎ (neut.)
  •  Min Nan: 副詞‎, 副词‎ (hù-sû)
  •  Catalan: adverbi‎ (masc.)
  •  Kyrgyz: тактооч‎
  •  Icelandic: atviksorð‎ (neut.)
  •  French: adverbe‎ (masc.)
  •  Swahili: kielezi‎, kisifa‎
  •  Vietnamese: trạng từ‎, phó từ‎ (副詞‎)
  •  Hungarian: határozószó‎
  •  Irish: dobhriathar‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: επίρρημα‎ (neut.)
  •  Latvian: apstākļa vārds‎ (masc.), adverbs‎ (masc.)
  •  Welsh: adferf‎ (fem.)
  •  Danish: adverbium‎, biord‎
  •  German: Adverb‎ (neut.), Umstandswort‎ (neut.), Nebenwort‎ (neut.), Zuwort‎ (neut.), dated: Adverbium‎ (neut.), dated, rare: Zeitnebenwort‎ (neut.)
  •  Cantonese: 副詞‎, 副词‎ (fu3 ci4)
  •  Gujarati: ક્રિયાવિશેષણ‎ (kriyāviśeṣaṇ)
  •  Interlingua: adverbio‎
  •  Macedonian: прилог‎ (masc.)
  •  Franco-Provençal:
  •  Indonesian: adverbia‎
  •  Khmer: គុណកិរិយា‎, កិរិយាសព្ទវិសេសន៍‎
  •  Quechua: hinarimana‎
  •  Bengali: ক্রিয়া-বিশেষণ‎
  •  Kazakh: шылау‎, үстеу‎
  •  Zulu: isandiso‎ 
  •  Korean: 부사‎ (副詞‎)
  •  Lingala: lilandi‎
  •  Czech: příslovce‎ (neut.)
  •  Ukrainian: прислі́вник‎ (masc.)
  •  West Frisian: bywurd‎ (neut.)
  •  Malay: adverba‎
  •  Mandarin: 副詞‎, 副词‎ (fùcí)
  •  Hebrew: תאר הפעל‎
  •  Belarusian: прысло́ўе‎ (neut.)
  •  Kashubian: przësłówk‎ (masc.)
  •  Romanian: adverb‎ (neut.)
  •  Thai: กริยาวิเศษณ์‎, วิเศษณ์‎
  •  Mongolian: дайвар үг‎
  •  Faroese: hjáorð‎ (neut.)
  •  Tatar: рәвеш‎
  •  Volapük: ladvärb‎, (obsolete) ladvelib‎
  •  Lithuanian: prieveiksmis‎
  •  Nahuatl: cauhtic‎
  •  Tagalog: pang-abay‎

What are interrogative adverb examples?

An example of an interrogative adverb can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! The following examples of interrogative adverbs from Grammar Monster and EF can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use. Try to use the term interrogative adverbs today or notice when someone else is using an interrogative adverb.

  •  How can you eat a freezer full of pizzas in one evening?
  •  How long is left until the end of the film?
  •  Where is the cinema?
  •  Where do crayfish spend their winters?
  •  When are you going to grow up?
  •  How tall are you?
  •  Why are there empty beer bottles in the garden?
  •  How do you start the car?
  •  How can I get to your house?
  •  Why are you watching this film again?   
  •  Where is my passport? In the drawer.
  •  Where is your sister?
  •  How are you? I’m fine.
  •  How much coke have you got left?
  •  When will this film end?
  •  How quickly can you read this?
  •  How old is your house?
  •  How complicated can this get?
  •  Why is the garden in such a mess?
  •  Why are you watching this film again?
  •  How often do you come to the cinema?
  •  How many people are coming to the party?
  •  Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves? (Actor Robin Williams)
  •  How many sweets have you eaten?
  •  How quickly can you get home?
  •  Where is the line between soup and cereal?
  •  Why are you so late? There was a lot of traffic.
  •  How did you make this sauce?
  •  How loudly does your brother scream?
  •  How much more coke are you going to drink?
  •  When does the train arrive? At 11:15.
  •  How much flour do I need?
  •  How angry is mother?
  •  How often do you go to London?
  •  How much are these tomatoes?
  •  When was the last time you found something you wish you hadn’t?

Overall, there are many types of interrogative adverb including interrogative adverb of time, interrogative adverbs of place and interrogative adverbs that refer to a degree of an attribute or frequency. These sentences end in a question mark often.


  1. Interrogative adverbs | EF 
  2. adverb: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Overview of French Interrogative Adverbs | Thought Co 
  4. Interrogative Adverbs | What Are Interrogative Adverbs? | Grammar Monster