In colloquial English, the phrase "the fuck" can be added to questions as an intensifier, for example:

  • "How the fuck did you do that?" conveys greater confusion than "How did you do that?"
  • "Who the fuck is that?" conveys greater hostility than "Who is that?"

I'm already aware of a few phrases, but they seem to be specific to "what" questions:

  • ¿Qué carajo están haciendo en mi cama?

How would I do something similar for all questions in Spanish?

3 Answers 3


Well, in Spain I think that the equivalent is "coño".

According to the DRAE


  1. interj. malson. U. para expresar diversos estados de ánimo, especialmente extrañeza o enfado.

Let me translate:

used to express different moods, specially strangeness or angriness.
malson. = malsonante - rude

As pointed by @walen, cojones is a perfect synonym in this context and you can use it too


  1. interj. malson. coloq. U. para expresar diversos estados de ánimo, especialmente extrañeza o enfado.

Notice that carajo will suit you as well for the same purpose. It's not specific to "what" questions.


  1. interj. malson. U. para expresar sorpresa, contrariedad, etc.

Using your examples

How the fuck did you do that?
¿Cómo coño hiciste eso?
¿Cómo cojones hiciste eso?
¿Cómo carajo hiciste eso?

Who the fuck is that?
¿Quién coño es ese?
¿Quién cojones es ese?
¿Quién carajo es ese?

  • @walen You're right, sir. Editing ...
    – RubioRic
    Oct 15, 2019 at 8:14
  • 1
    ¿se usa carajo en España? Apoyo esa versión en cuanto a Latinoamérica
    – ipp
    Oct 15, 2019 at 22:56
  • @user2325442 La verdad es que no la he oido mucho. La he mencionado más que nada porque el OP dudaba sobre su uso en este caso.
    – RubioRic
    Oct 17, 2019 at 6:06

In the Spanish of Argentina the corresponding intensifier is mierda ("shit"). It's not a specially strong word (but in turn I sense that English fuck is not as strong as it must have been, and certainly not as strong as the corresponding terms in Spanish). It works more-or-less the same as the other words that have been already mentioned, such as coño, cojones, carajo, diablos, demonios:

  • ¿Qué mierda hiciste?
  • ¿Para qué mierda me llamaste?
  • ¿Quién mierda te dijo que podías hablar?

Unless coño and cojones, which are rather specific of Spain, mierda is universally recognized (even if not as an intensifier). Also, unlike diablos and demonios, it's a real mala palabra (swear- or taboo word) of the kind you'd rather have your toddler not scream in polite company.

  • I agree with @walen. I guess to find something equivalent to f--- one would have to reach for puta madre, e.g. Qué puta madre hiciste. Oct 15, 2019 at 11:40
  • Thanks. In Argentina there's no standard use of sex-related profanity in this particular syntactic slot (i.e. after question words), even if there's a lot of it in other places.
    – pablodf76
    Oct 15, 2019 at 14:19
  • @walen I'm assuming your comment about the middle R refers to my fellow denizen Roberto Fontanarrosa's speech about las malas palabras.
    – pablodf76
    Oct 15, 2019 at 14:23
  • I agree with the shorter semantic closeness of puta (rather than mierda to match the fuck) but still carajo works better than those. In Argentina there are synonyms of carajo —as the male organ —which sound as strong as fuck (probably for not being so naturalized over time), like pingo (in the northwest region) or poronga, or choto (through-out the country)
    – ipp
    Oct 16, 2019 at 3:50
  • @user2325442 That's true, but those are not intended for the same purpose as English fuck in Wh-... the fuck...?; they mostly mean the same as mierda in affirmative sentences (Lo que hiciste fue una...), i.e. "something bad", not an intensifier.
    – pablodf76
    Oct 16, 2019 at 10:17

Mexico (and other places -- not sure if it's universal):

¿Qué diablos está pasando con StackExchange?

¿Cómo diablos hicieron para provocar tal relajo?

¿Quién diablos tomó la decisión de despedir a Monica Cellio?

Variant: demonios instead of diablos.

Note that these are not at the same level of vulgarity as f---. But they still provide a good punch.

  • @Charlie - Oh, okay. I'll edit my answer. Oct 15, 2019 at 6:45
  • 1
    Well, I think that "diablos" or "demonios" are the equivalent of "the hell" expression. Who the hell is that man? What the hell is happening with StackExchange?" I have read then in books translated from English mainly. Do Mexicans use it or they prefer "carajo" instead?
    – RubioRic
    Oct 15, 2019 at 6:56
  • @RubioRic - I think they're both popular. I guess diablos is the softest of these three, meaning, it's the one your preteen can copy from you and not get in trouble at school for. Oct 15, 2019 at 11:38

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