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spanish question words

Spanish Question Words – The Seven basic Phrases

If you’re learning to speak Spanish, it’s going to be important to know how to ask questions. This is especially true if you’re going to be traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. There’s no doubt that at some point you’re going to want to know where something is, or at what time something happens.

To help you out, we’re going to take a look into the most common Spanish question words. We’ll also take a brief look into how to use them correctly so that you can get the answers that you need. So read on, learn how to add these terms into your vocabulary and enjoy!

Table of Contents

What? – Qué?

This is one of the simplest and most common Spanish question words you’re going to need. It’s important for being able to ask what something is, what’s going on or even what you can do to help! The good news is, this is a relatively simple word to use in the Spanish language.

The word “Qué?” is just about the only word you need to express this question. Just learn how to pair it with other words and in phrases to make sure you’re getting the correct message across. 

Who? – Quién / Quiénes?

The question word “who” can be expressed in a few ways. The first is going to be the simplest, and is the word you would use when the subject is a single person. To do this, you’d simply use “Quién”. On the other hand, if you’re asking about multiple people then you’d use “Quiénes”.

There is yet one more way that you can ask the question, which is needed when you’re asking, “to whom”. For example, if you want to know to whom something belongs, you would use “a quién”. Because of this difference, it’s important to know when to use each word. 

When? – Cuándo?

This is going to be an especially important word to have in your arsenal if you plan on traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and want to attend events. It’s a key word for finding out when to meet others, when an event will begin or when you need to check out of a hotel.

When asking these kinds of questions, you’ll need to use the word “Cuándo”. This will allow others to understand what you’re looking for. They’ll then be able to give you the time, date or other related information that you may need.

Where? – Dónde?

This is also a key word to know when you’re traveling. It can allow you to know where important things are, whether it’s an event, a restaurant or even a police station. Because of that, it’s a word that is going to be especially important to understand clearly.

When you need to ask this question in Spanish, you’ll say “Dónde” in combination with whatever it is you need to know the location of. Just make sure you put together the sentence well so that you can easily get the answers you need as you travel and experience new things. 

Why? – Por qué?

Though this may not be one of the absolutely necessary Spanish question words that you’ll need to use while traveling, it’s a great word to know for when you want to have conversations that run a little deeper than the basics. It’s a great way to find out why someone did something, or why a certain thing happened.

When you’re seeking to ask a question like this, you’ll want to use the words “Por qué”. You may recognize the latter part of the phrase from our earlier look into the word “what”. For those who have a little bit more of an understanding, this phrase would literally mean “for what?” which is truly just another way of asking why.

How? – Cómo?

Another highly useful word that you’ll need to know is “Cómo”, which means “how”. This is going to be a useful word to know when you need to know how you’re going to get somewhere, how someone is doing, or how some particular event happened.

Overall, it’s really important to know where to place this word in a sentence so that you can use it effectively, as with many of the other words in this list. 

Which? – Cuál?

There is one more question word that is important to know, whether you’re traveling or not. If you do travel, it can help you with finding out which bus or plane you need to take, which restaurant to meet someone at, or which street a certain place is on.

When you’re looking to use this word, you’ll need to say “Cuál”. This is a very helpful word that can help you with communicating effectively and understanding directions as well as the needs or wants of others. Just like the others in this list, it’s a truly great word to have in your word arsenal.

Using these Spanish Question Words

If you plan on traveling to a Spanish-speaking area, at the very least you’ll need to have an understanding of some key phrases that can help you to achieve basic communication with the people there. The good news is that many question words can be used alone as needed and still get the basic message across.

That said, it’s always a good idea to have more of an understanding of the language in an area rather than less. It can really help you when it comes to getting around, making purchases, meeting new people and can generally improve your experience with the culture.


For those who might be new to the Spanish language, it’s a good idea to make sure you have at minimum a basic understanding of the language. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can achieve that, for free and otherwise. 

There are classes you can take that would be able to help your progress. However, if you are looking for cheaper alternatives there are also books, applications and online resources that can help you with learning what you need. Just take your time, learn and enjoy the discovery of a new language!