Marty DiBergi: “What was he the saint of?”
David St. Hubbins: “He was the patron saint of quality footwear.”
-An interrogative pronoun leads to a saintly answer
This week, we explore interrogative pronouns.
Our ability to ask questions has distinguished Homo sapiens from our primate relatives since we first descended from the trees and wiggled our toes in the grass of the African savanna. Curiosity drives our species, spurring us to ponder the grand ideas of our existence. What happens to us when we die? Does an omnipotent and loving God oversee us all? Why hasn’t anyone offered a bounty on the people responsible for GEICO’s infuriating commercials?
We can use interrogative pronouns to ask such questions: who, whom, what, which, and whose. In fact, interrogative pronouns behave uniquely—creating questions by standing in for the answer to what we are asking. Let’s review the five basic interrogative pronouns and see how they work.
Who/Whom—asks about a person or people. As we’ve seen before, “who” refers to the subject of the question, and “whom” points to the object.
What—asks for information specifying something.
Which—also asks for specifying information, but it refers to one or more people or things from within a given set.
Whose—technically, this is a possessive interrogative pronoun. It asks about something belonging to or associated with a particular person.
Now you have the tools to explore your most pressing questions. As for me, I’m going to go scrape some money together for that bounty.