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Making Questions in Spanish

In Spanish there are 4 ways of asking a question to get a yes or no answer, and they are the following:

-Verb + pronoun: Unlike English, the auxiliaries do and does are not used. ¿Tiene ella tiempo libre? (Does she have free time?)

Note: The interrogative questions have an opening (¿) question mark, Spanish is unique in using that symbol and, also a closing one (?).

-Pronoun + verb: Only the intonation makes the sentence interrogative: ¿Ella tiene tiempo libre? (Does she have free time?)

-Verb +...+ pronoun. The pronoun goes last ¿Tiene tiempo libre ella? (Does she have free time?)

-Finally you can also make a question by adding a tag question to the end of a statement. Ella tiene tiempo libre ¿no?

Ella tiene tiempo libre, ¿verdad? (She has free time, doesn’t she)

Possible answer would be Sí, Ella tienes tiempo libre. (or) No, Ella no tiene tiempo libre.

Note that when only part of a sentence is a question, the question marks are placed around only the portion that's a question starting with (¿): Y eso, ¿no te gusta? (And this one, you don't like it?).

Interrogative pronouns are usually used to form a question. Note that these words are always graphically accentuated, whether they are used to formulate a direct or indirect question:¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?) ¿Qué es la capital de Marruecos? (What is the capital of Morocco?) (Direct). Dime qué hora es. Tell me what time it is. (Indirect).

 

Spanish Interrogative

¿A qué hora...? (What time...?) ¿Dónde? (Where?) ¿De dónde? (From where?) ¿Por dónde? (Which direction?) ¿A dónde? (To where?) ¿Cómo? (How?) ¿Cuál/-es? (Which one/-s?) ¿Cuándo? (When?) ¿Cuánto/-a? (How much?) ¿Cuántos/-as? (How many?) ¿Qué? (What?) ¿Para qué? (For what reason?) ¿Por qué? (Why?) ¿Quién/-es? (Who?) ¿A quién? (To whom?) ¿Para quién? (For whom) ¿De quién/-es? (Whose?).

 

As you may have noticed in these examples several of them can be preceded by prepositions: de dónde (from where), de qué (of what), a quíen (to whom), de quién (of whom), ¿para quién? Etc. Note that Spanish doesn't require auxiliary verbs the way that English does to form questions. The same verb forms as are used in questions as in statements.

Don't confuse between ¿por qué? (why?) and porque (because).

 

Negation in Spanish:

 

Negation can be made simply by placing "No" before the main verb in Spanish. However sometimes it's not that easy, because sometimes a double negative is required. "No" is the most common negative, used either as an adverb or adjective. When it's used as an adverb, it should be placed before the verb.

No quiero hacerlo (I don't like to do it). No tienes nada que hacer (this example is Spanish double negative, you don't have anything to do). No lo quiero (I don't like it)

When used as an adjective or as an adverb modifying an adjective or other adverb it comes immediately before the word it modifies.

Boletos cancelados o no usados (Canceled or unused tickets). Se trata de la guerra o de la no guerra (It's about war or non-war).

Spanish also has many other negative words that are used along with "No" or without it, like nada (nothing), nadie (nobody, no one), ninguno (none), nunca (never), and jamás (never). Ninguno (no one).

 

Nadie entiende. (Nobody understands.) Ninguna tienda tiene lo que quiero. (No store has what I want.) Nunca bebí la cerveza. (We never drink beer). Jamás te olvidaré. (I will never forget you.)

The use of the double negative is an aspect unusual to English speakers, but it exists in Spanish. If one of the negative words listed above is used after the verb, a negative (often no) also must be used before the verb. Here is a list of double negatives:

 

Double Negative in Spanish

no... nunca/no... jamás (never). no... nunca más (never again). no... tampoco (neither, not either). no... nada (nothing). no... nadie (no one). no... en/por ninguna parte (nowhere). Nonada. (I don't know anything, or I know nothing.) No conozco a nadie aquí. (I don't know anybody here, or I know nobody here.).

 

Note how these pronouns change from the affirmative to the negative form:

 

Spanish Negation

Affirmative

Negative

alguien (someone)

alguno, -a (someone, some)

algo (something)

siempre (always)

alguna vez (ever)

también (also)

algún (some, something)

todavía, aún (still)

ya (already)

o (or)

o…o (either…or)

nadie (no one)

ninguno, -a (no one)

nada (nothing)

nunca (never)

jamás (never)

tampoco (neither)

ningún (no, none)

ya no (no longer)

todavía no (not yet)

ni (nor)

ni…ni (neither…nor)

 

Double No: when the answer to a question is negative, the word no appears twice. It appears at the beginning of the sentence and also in front of the verb. ¿hablas Inglés? No, no hablo Inglés, solo Español (Do you speak English. I Don´t speak English, only Spanish).

 

Exclamation in Spanish

 

Exclamatory words (exclamaciones) as well as interrogative expressions have written accents. The most common one is (¡!) and ¡Qué...! Used in front of an adjective, adverb or noun:
¡Caramba! (My goodness!) ¡Claro! (Of course!) ¡Socorro! (Help!)
¡Qué delicioso! (How delicious!) ¡Lo siento mucho! (I'm so sorry!) ¡Qué casa! (What a house!) ¡Qué barbaridad! (How aweful!) ¡Qué lástima! (What a shame!) ¡Qué lío! (What a mess!) ¡Qué fácilmente lo haces tú! (How easily you do it!)

In literary usage, ¡Cuán...! may replace ¡Qué...!: ¡Cuán fácilmente lo haces tú!
When an adjective follows a noun in this construction, it is preceded by más (most) or tan (so):
¡Qué casa más bonita! (What a pretty house!) ¡Qué niños tan alegres! (What happy children!)

 

Summary:

 

Making Questions: You can make a question in Spanish in 4 ways:

-Verb + pronoun ...   ¿Tiene ella tiempo libre? (Does she have free time?)

-Pronoun + verb...    ¿Ella tiene tiempo libre? (Does she have free time?)

-Verb +...+ pronoun. ¿Tiene tiempo libre ella? (Does she have free time?)

-Add a tag question... Ella tiene tiempo libre, ¿no? Ella tiene tiempo libre ¿verdad? (She has free time, doesn’t she)

Possible answer would be , Ella tienes tiempo libre. (or) No, Ella no tiene tiempo libre.

 

Interrogative pronouns are usually used to form a question: ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?) ¿Qué es la capital de Marruecos? (What is the capital of Morocco?)

¿A qué hora...? (What time...?) ¿Dónde? (Where?) ¿De dónde? (From where?) ¿Por dónde? (Which direction?) ¿A dónde? (To where?) ¿Cómo? (How?)

 

Negation: Negation can be made by placing "No" before the main verb, there are other words that are used along with "No" or without it to form negation in Spanish, like nada (nothing), nadie (nobody, no one), ninguno (none), nunca (never), and jamás (never). Ninguno (no one).

Nadie entiende. (Nobody understands). No conozco a nadie aquí. (I don't know anybody here.)

 

Exclamation: Exclamatory words in Spanish also have written accents. The most common one is ¡Qué...! Used in front of an adjective, adverb or noun:
¡Qué delicioso! (How delicious!). When an adjective follows a noun in this construction, it is preceded by más (most) or tan (so): ¡Qué mujer tan guapa! (What a beautiful woman!) ¡qué chico más amable! (What a nice (kind) guy!).

 

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