In English, we only have two words equivalent to quién and its forms—who and whom. Who is used like quién and quiénes, while whom is used like quien and quienes.

Because there isn’t a distinction between the two equivalents of who when asking a question, I’m not sure how to use these words when I don’t know how many people the verb with it applies to. For example:

Who is here?

(or any similar phrase)

I don’t know who is here; one person, multiple people, or no people could be here.

Should I use quién or quiénes in this case?

En inglés, solamente tenemos dos palabras que significan quién y sus formas—who y whom. Who significa quién y quiénes, y whom significa quien y quienes.

Dado que no hay distinción entre la traducción de quién y quiénes en las frases interrogativas, no estoy de seguro de qué palabra usar cuando no sé a cuantas personas aplica el verbo, por ejemplo:

Who is here?

(o algo similar)

No sé quien está aquí. Una persona, dos o más personas, o ninguna persona podría estar aquí.

¿Debo usar quién o quiénes en este caso?

I’m learning Spanish, so I’d prefer an answer in English (or both). Please correct my Spanish, I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes!!

  • 1
    Same as masc vs fem. Singular can represent singular or plural, but plural is unquestionably plural Oct 25, 2019 at 4:30
  • 1
    I've edited the Spanish part of your question to made the translation more accurate and idiomatic. Check the changes. :-)
    – RubioRic
    Oct 25, 2019 at 6:30
  • 1
    I want to point that if you are alone at home and hear a noise, you don't ask "¿Quien está aquí?" but "¿Quien está ahí?" In English, don't you use "Who's there?" in that case? It's more idiomatic in Spanish "¿Quién está ahí?". You only use "quienes" if you're sure that the noise is produced by multiple people, usually you use just "quien" for "one person, multiple people, or no people could be here"
    – RubioRic
    Oct 25, 2019 at 6:36
  • I! Spanish the distinction helps to convey what your expectation or idea of the number of people involved is. ¿quienes vienen a la fiesta? (showing that you obviously expect more than one people invited) Whereas asking ¿quien está a cargo del manejo de esto? does convey your expectation of the name of a single person in charge.
    – ipp
    Oct 25, 2019 at 14:30
  • @RubioRic dang, I wrote that way too fast :P so many errors, thanks for fixing them! Oct 25, 2019 at 22:56

1 Answer 1


You would definitely use the singular quién if you don't know for sure that you're referring to more than one person. What's important is that the interrogative (quién/quiénes) agrees in number with the subject:

¿Quién está? - Could be one person, three people, or no people.

¿Quiénes están? - Honestly, you would probably never ask this question like this; if you're asking the question, it's because you don't know how many people are there, so you'd use the singular instead. It even sounds strange to my ears.

Hope this helps!


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