Interrogative Adverbs

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What Are Interrogative Adverbs? (with Examples)

The interrogative adverbs are why, where, when, and how. They are used to ask questions. For example (interrogative adverbs shaded): Note: When an interrogative adverb starts a question, the second word is the verb.

Different Types of Interrogative Adverb

Interrogative adverbs are used to ask different types of questions. For example, 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. The quirky one is how, which can be used to ask about matters related to manner, time, quantity, amount and degree.

Interrogative Adverbs of Time

When an interrogative adverb is used to ask about a time-related matter, it is known as an interrogative adverb of time. Typically, the interrogative adverb will be when, but how is also used to ask time-related questions. For example:

Interrogative adverbs of Place

The interrogative adverb where is used to ask about a place. For example:

Interrogative Adverbs of Reason

The interrogative adverb why is used to ask about a reason. For example:

Interrogative Adverbs of Manner

The interrogative adverb how is used to ask about manner (i.e., the manner in which the verb occurs). For example:

Interrogative Adverbs of Amount, Quantity, and Degree

The interrogative adverb how is used to ask for amounts, quantities, and degrees. For example:

Interrogative Adverbs Can Also Be Used in Indirect Questions

Interrogative adverbs are also used in indirect questions.

Note: An indirect question is a question embedded inside a statement (i.e., a declarative sentence ending typically in a full stop / period) or another question (i.e., an interrogative sentence ending in a question mark).

Examples (interrogative adverb shaded):

Word Order in an Indirect Question

The word order in an indirect question is the same as for a declarative sentence and not an interrogative sentence. For example: Read more about indirect questions.

Interrogative Adverbs Can Also Be Used at the Head of Noun Clauses

A noun clause is a clause that plays the role of a noun.

Often, a noun clause will start with one of the so-called "wh"-words (e.g., what, who, which, when, where, why), a group which includes the interrogative adverbs. For example: Read more about noun clauses.


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See Also

What is a relative adverb? What is an interrogative pronoun? What is an interrogative adjective? What is an indirect question? What is a declarative sentence? What is an interrogative sentence? What is a noun clause? Glossary of grammatical terms