Unit 2: Basics

2.7 Interrogation

Spanish usually inverts the order of the subject and verb when forming a question. (In addition, as you have seen, a question is both preceded and followed by a question mark.)

In colloquial speech -and, on occasion, in writing- subject and verb are not always inverted, though punctuation will always indicate that the sentence is indeed a question.

¿Están los muchachos en la ciudad? Are the boys and girls in town (in the city)?
¿Cecilia está allí? Is Cecilia there?

¡Ojo! (This literally means “eye,” but used here means “watch out” or “pay close attention” and is used like the Italian Nota bene [N.B. or “note well”].) In many cases, when someone is asking whether someone is “here,” “there,” or “at home,” the words aquí, allí and en casa are understood and not expressed:

¿Está Mamá? Is Mom here (there, at home)?
¿Están los señores Alférez? Are Mr. and Mrs. Alférez home (here, there)?


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