Spanish question words like ¿cuánto? and ¿qué? help you ask questions when you need to know how many or which of something to use. The following sections give you a crash course in using these helpful Spanish words when “yes” and “no” questions just won’t cut it.

Counting and measuring with “¿cuánto?”

You use the question word ¿cuánto? (kooahn-toh) (how much?/how many?) before a noun when that noun may be counted or measured. ¿Cuánto? varies and must agree in number and gender with the noun it describes.

Number- and Gender-Specific Forms of ¿Cuánto?
Masculine Feminine
Singular ¿cuánto? ¿cuánta?
Plural ¿cuántos? ¿cuántas?

Here are some examples of ¿cuánto? in use:

  • ¿Cuánto dinero necesitas? (How much money do you need?)

  • ¿Cuántos dólares ganan por hora? (How many dollars do they earn per hour?)

  • ¿Cuánta moneda tiene Ud? (How much change [How many coins] do you have?)

  • ¿Cuántas horas trabajan? (How many hours do they work?)

Selecting which with “¿qué?”

The question word ¿qué? (keh) (what?/which?), on the other hand, doesn’t change with number or gender and refers to a noun that isn’t being counted. For example:

  • ¿Qué idiomas sabes hablar? (What [Which] languages do you know how to speak?)

  • ¿Qué bolígrafo quieren usar? (Which [what] pen do they want to use?)

Using prepositions with "¿cuánto" and "¿qué?"

    You may use a preposition before both ¿cuánto? and ¿qué? when doing so is logical:

  • ¿A qué hora sale el tren? (At what time does the train leave?)

  • ¿Con cuánta frecuencia vas al cine? ([With how much frequency] How often do you go to the movies?)

  • ¿De cuántos hombres hablan? (How many men are you speaking about?)