Italian Interrogative Pronouns

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Interrogative pronouns (pronomi interrogativi) are used to introduce a question. They are: chi?, che?, che cosa?, quale?, and quanto?
  • chi? (who) is invariable and is used exclusively for people:

Chi ha parlato?
Who said that?

Dimmi chi ha parlato?
Tell me, who said that?

Di chi stai ridendo?
Who are you laughing at?

NOTE! The gender (male or female) of the pronoun chi can be identified usually in context, especially by the concordance of the adjective or participle.

Chi hai salutato per prima / primo?
Who greeted you first / first?
  • che? (what) or che cosa? (what) refers only to things and has the significance of quale/i cose?:

Che (che cosa) vuoi?
What do you want?

Dimmi che (che cosa) farai la prossima estate.
Tell me what you will do next summer.

NOTE! che cosa is sometimes shorted to cosa.

Cosa desideri di più dalla vita?
What do you want most from life?
  • quale? (which) is used to indicate people, animals, or things; it is invariable in gender:

Quale di voi ha studiato a Parigi?
Which of you studied in Paris?

Quale vuoi conservare di queste due fotografie?
Which of these two photographs do you want to keep?
  • How much? refers to person, animals or things:

In quanti partecipano alla gara?
How many participate in the race?

Conta le buste e dimmi quante sono in tutto.
Count the envelopes and tell me how many there are in total.

Exclamation Pronouns

Chi!, che!, che cosa!, quale!, and quanto! are called exclamation pronouns (pronomi esclamativi) when they introduce an exclamation:

Chi l'avrebbe detto!
Who would have thought!

Che sento mai!
I never feel it!

Ma che cosa mi dici!
But what are you telling me!
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