L11c Interrogative Pronouns - Part 3

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L11c Interrogative Pronouns - Part 3

Postby Peter » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:16 pm

INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS (Pronomi interrogativi)


Pronouns of Identity

When asking about animals or things

The Italian pronouns in this category are:

What? Che? Che cosa? Also Cosa?, but see the note below.
Which? Quale?

Che and che cosa can be used interchangeably as pronouns when asking for information or identity about things. However, che can also be used as an adjective, whereas che cosa can only be used as a pronoun. Both are invariable in number and gender.

NOTE: When writing, the use of cosa as a pronoun is incorrect according to standard Italian grammar, which always requires che cosa to be used as a pronoun. However, you will find cosa is widely used in spoken Italian.

Examples of the use of che:

56 Pronoun: Che vedi?
What are you seeing/do you see?
57 Pronoun: Che vuoi?
What do you want?
58 Pronoun: Che fai?
What are you doing?
59 Pronoun: Che ne diresti di fare quattro passi?
What would you say to a little walk?
60 Pronoun: E che accadde poi?
And what happened then?
61 Adjective: Che idea ti sei fatto di questa situazione?
What picture did you get of this situation?
62 Adjective: Che ore sono?
What time is it?
63 Adjective: Che tempo fa?
What is the weather like?
64 Adjective: Che scopo c'è in tutto questo?
What is the purpose of all this?
65 Adjective: Che problema c'è?
What problem is there/What is the problem?

Examples of the use of che cosa:

Che cosa can also be used in examples 56 to 60. Remember it can only be used as a pronoun.

66 Che cosa è successo dopo questo?
What happened after this?
67 Che cos’ha?
What’s the matter with him?
68 Che cosa vuoi fare?
What do you want to do?
69 Che cosa facciamo con il marinaio ubriaco?
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

In spoken Italian you may very well hear someone say cosa vedi, cosa vuoi, cosa fai etc. However, when writing you must use che cosa.

When asking about people

The Italian pronouns in this category are:

Who? Whom? Chi?
Whose? Di chi?

Chi is used exclusively as pronoun when asking for information or identity about persons. It is invariable in number and gender. It is used with prepositions when asking with whom, for whom, to whom etc. Remember that who replaces the subject noun to which it refers, whilst whom similarly replaces the object noun.

70 Chi è?
Who is he/she?
71 Chi venne?
Who came?
72 Chi ti ha visto?
Who saw you?
73 Chi hai visto?
Whom did you see?
75 Con chi sei venuto?
With whom did you come?
76 Per chi fai tutto ciò?
For whom are you doing all this?
77 Di chi ha parlato?
Of whom did he talk?
78 Con chi parli?
To whom are you talking?
79 Di chi parli?
About whom are you talking?

Note the alternative uses of di chi in examples 77 and 79.


Like chi, di chi is used only as a pronoun and is also invariable in number and gender.

80 Pronoun: Di chi è questo libro? Whose book is this?
81 Pronoun: Di chi sei figlio? Whose son are you?
A presto



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