Interrogative determiners belong to a closed class of words call determiners. Determiners provide information such as familiarity, location, quantity, and number about a noun, pronoun (rarely), or noun phrase. Interrogative determiners ask questions about unknown nouns and noun phrases. The interrogative determiners in English are what and which. The possessive determiner whose, or possessive interrogative determiner, is also an interrogative determiner. Do not confuse the interrogative determiners with some of the interrogative pronouns or relative pronouns, which are similar in form but different in function.
In grammar, a determinative is a word or phrase that expresses additional information such as definiteness, proximity, quantity, and relationships about a noun phrase and that differs from an adjective phrase, which describes attributes. In the English language, interrogative determiners frequently function as determinatives. Examples of interrogative determiners as determinatives include the following:
- What movie do you want to watch tonight?
- What book are you reading for class?
- Which soup do you want with your entrée?
- He was accepted into which college?
- Whose hat is this?
- You crashed into whose fence?
Interrogative Determiner as Determinative
Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.