Asking Questions in Spanish

If there’s an ever-present element in language, it's questions. Many of our personal interactions begin with questions and we rely on them to keep things going. Below, we'll examine the ins and outs of asking questions in Spanish, so you can feel more like a native speaker with every interaction.

Asking Questions in Spanish Asking Questions in Spanish
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Differences in English and Spanish Questions

As you are probably aware, interrogative sentences in English and Spanish share common elements, such as using question words (dónde, qué, cuándo) or turning a statement into a question just with a rising intonation. However, there are several differences to take into account, such as the absence of auxiliary verbs and personal pronouns, as well as varying word orders.

Auxiliary Verb Omission

Verbs are conjugated directly when forming Spanish questions in simple tenses. This is why you won’t see auxiliary verbs like “will” or “do” accompanying question words. The same verb forms are used in questions as in statements.

¿Dónde vives?

Vivo cerca de la farmacia.

Where do you live?

I live near the drugstore.

¿Dónde trabajas?

Trabajo en una escuela.

Where do you work?

I work at a school.

¿Qué haces en tu tiempo libre?

Normalmente hago ejercicio en mi tiempo libre.

What do you do in your free time?

I usually exercise in my free time.

¿Qué es eso?

Eso es mi nuevo celular.

What is that?

That is my new cellphone.

¿Te gusta ir al cine?

Sí, si me gusta.

Do you like going to the movies?

Yes, I do.

¿Te levantas temprano todos los días?

No, no me levanto temprano todos los días.

Do you get up early every day?

No, I don’t get up early every day.

¿Trabajas todos los días?

Sí, trabajo todos los días. Trabajo de lunes a sábado.

Do you work every day?

Yes, I work every day. I work from Monday to Saturday.

¿Quieres ir al museo?

Sí, sí quiero.

Está bien, vamos a comprar las entradas.

Do you want to go to the museum?

Yes, I do.

Ok, let’s buy the tickets.

¿Cuándo comienza la película?

Comienza a las 7:30pm así que apúrate.

When does the movie start?

It starts at 7:30pm so you better hurry up.

¿Cuándo sale tu avión?

Sale a las 9:00 am.

When does your plane leave?

It leaves at 9:00am.

¿Por qué te molestaste tanto?

Porque llegaste tarde.

Why did you get so annoyed?

Because you were late.

¿Por qué no vienes a casa?

Porque ya es muy tarde.

Why don’t you come home?

Because it’s too late.

¿Cuánto dinero necesitas?

Necesito 20 dólares.

How much money do you need?

I need $20.

¿Cuánto tiempo estarás allí?

Alrededor de 2 semanas.

How long will you be there?

About two weeks.

¿Cuál te gusta más? ¿El rojo o el verde?

Me gusta el rojo mejor.

Which one do you like better? The red one or the green one?

I like the red one better.

Tag Questions

Most of the time you will see short fixed phrases such as ¿verdad?, ¿cierto?, and ¿no? that close this type of question. Note that there are only question marks around the question tag.

Tú no vienes a la fiesta, ¿verdad?

You are not coming to the party, are you?

Ella no tiene más dinero, ¿cierto?

She doesn’t have any more money left, does she?

A ti te gustan las películas de terror, ¿no?

You like horror movies, don’t you?

Mi mamá está molesta, ¿cierto?

My mom is angry, isn’t she?

Estás cansado, ¿no?

You are tired, aren’t you?

Él vive cerca, ¿verdad?

He lives near here, doesn’t he?

No te gusta el chocolate, ¿verdad?

You don’t like chocolate, do you?

Indirect Questions

Structurally, Spanish indirect questions differ from their English counterparts. While both start with an introductory phrase such as ¿sabe?/¿sabes? (do you know?) or ¿podría? (could you?), in English indirect questions the verb ‘‘to be’’ comes after the subject. In Spanish the verb ‘‘to be’’ stays in the same place.

¿Sabe dónde está el baño?

Do you know where the bathroom is?

¿Podría decirme quién es Carlos?

Could you tell me how Carlos is?

¿Le importaría decirme dónde están mis libros?

Would you mind telling me where my books are?

If you are currently learning Spanish, getting your head around the differences in asking questions will definitely help you master conversations in no time.