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Pronouns in questions

Level: beginner

We use who to ask questions about people:

Who is that?
Who lives here?
Who did you see?

We use whose to ask about possession:

Whose coat is this? or Whose is this coat?
Whose book is that?   or Whose is that book?
Whose bags are those? or

Whose are those bags?

We use what to ask questions about things:

What is that?
What do you want?

We use which to ask someone to choose something:

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I've got two books. Which do you want?

We can also use what and which with nouns:

What subjects did you study at school?
What newspaper do you read?
Which newspaper do you read –
The Times or The Guardian?
Which book do you want?
Which one is yours?

Pronouns in questions 1


We often have a preposition at the end of a question:

Who does this book belong to?
What are you looking for?
Which university did you go to?

Pronouns in questions 2


Pronouns in questions 3



hello staff,
Thank you for your pretty and useful job that you are doing here

Who lives here?
don't we need auxiliary verb here ?

No, we don't.
In this case, the information we want to know (the name of the person living here) acts as a subject.
Let's take a look at this sentence: "JOHN lives here".
If you want to know the name of the person (John in my sentence) who lives here, you put "who" in the position of "JOHN" and keep the rest of the sentence. And that answers why there is no auxiliary verb in the question "who lives here?".
Hope this would help you.

what is the difference between following sentences-
what you want ?
what do you want ?

second one is right.
but in spoken english first one also works.


Hello neh,

The first one is not correct in standard English; the second one is. You can see the first question in comic books and even in novels in direct, informal speech, but it is not correct in standard English.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi everyone. I'm from georgia, I want to learn english.I'll do my best.

Is the sentence 'The head teacher admires who most as a director?' correct? One of my pupils wrote it down. It doesn't sound entirely wrong to me, but I'm not sure.
The answer to the question is 'The head teacher admires Gore Verbinski most as a director'.

Hello jdm,

No, that's not really a proper question; since the verb is in the present simple, the auxiliary verb 'do' is needed. Normally one would say something like 'Who does the head teacher most admire as a director?'

By the way, if you didn't already know about it, as a teacher you might want to take a look at TeachingEnglish.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,

When was this book published?
When did this book publish?

Which one is correct and why.