AskDefine | Define interrogative

Dictionary Definition

interrogative adj
1 relating to verbs in the so-called interrogative mood; "not all questions have an interrogative construction"
2 relating to the use of or having the nature of an interrogation [syn: interrogatory, asking(a)] [ant: declarative, declarative]


1 a sentence of inquiry that asks for a reply; "he asked a direct question"; "he had trouble phrasing his interrogations" [syn: question, interrogation, interrogative sentence]
2 some linguists consider interrogative sentences to constitute a mood [syn: interrogative mood]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Late Latin interrogativus.


  • RP: /ˌɪntəˈrɒgətɪv/


  1. Asking or denoting a question; pertaining to inquiry; questioning: as, an interrogative phrase, pronoun, or point; an interrogative look or tone of voice.


  • 1877: William Dwight Whitney, Essentials of English Grammar for the Use of Schools §470
    The regular place of the interrogative word, of whatever kind, is at the beginning of the sentence, or as near it as possible.


asking or denoting a question
  • Czech: tázací
  • Dutch: vragend
  • Greek: ερωτηματικός


  1. A word (pronoun, pronominal adjective, or adverb) implying interrogation, or used for asking a question: why, who, when, etc.
  2. A question; an interrogation.


  • 1819: Sir Walter Scott, A Legend of Montrose, xii
    "Who are you, sir, and what is your business?" demanded the Marquis... "That is a fair interrogative, my lord," answered Dalgetty.


a word implying interrogation
a question
  • Dutch: vraag


Century 1911}}



interrogative p

Extensive Definition

In linguistics, an interrogative word is a function word used for the item interrupted in an information statement. Interrogative words are sometimes also called wh-words because most of English interrogative words start with wh-. In English, they are used in questions (Where is he going?) and interrogative content clauses (I wonder where he is going); their forms are also used as relative pronouns in certain relative clauses (The country where he was born) and certain adverb clauses (I go where he goes). These uses are all found in various other languages as well.
List of interrogative words in English:
  • interrogative determiner
    • which, what
    • whose (interrogative possessive determiner)
  • interrogative pro-form
    • interrogative pronoun
      • who, whom (human)
      • what, which (nonhuman)
    • interrogative pro-adverb
      • where (location)
      • whence (source)
      • whither (goal)
      • when (time)
      • how (manner)
      • why, wherefore (reason)
      • whether (choice between alternatives)
A frequent class of interrogative words in several other languages is the interrogative pro-verb:
Korean: Nalssi-ga eotteoh-seumni-kka? Weather-nominative be_how-politeness fifth level-interrogative suffix "How's the weather?"
Mongolian: Chi yaa-vch jaahan huuhed bish gej bi bod-jii-ne You do_what-concessive small child not that I think-progressive-nonpast "Whatever you do, I think you’re not a small child." (Example taken from an Internet forum)
interrogative in Breton: Ger goulenn
interrogative in German: Interrogativpronomen
interrogative in Croatian: Upitne zamjenice
interrogative in Dutch: Vragend voornaamwoord
interrogative in Japanese: 疑問詞
interrogative in Quechua: Tapukuq sutip rantin
interrogative in Serbo-Croatian: Upitne zamjenice

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bone of contention, catechism, cross-interrogatory, cross-question, debating point, demand, feeler, inquiry, interrogation, interrogatory, issue, leader, leading question, moot point, point at issue, point in question, problem, query, question, question at issue, question mark, quodlibet, topic, trial balloon, vexed question
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