I know that Spanish is quite flexible language and usually you can change sequence of different words in a sentence to change accent on different things.

But many times, for example, I heard only the following 2 sentences:

"Tú qué opinas?" [accent on the fact that you are THINKING about something]

"Qué opinas tú?" [accent on the fact that it is YOU who is thinking about something]

But I never met in any examples (I searched deliberately) the following:

"Qué tú opinas?"

Of course, you can just say "Qué opinas?", but is there any explanation of why I could not find the last sentence? Is it grammatically somehow incorrect? Or just "not sounding native"? Or I might be searching not enough?

2 Answers 2


Spanish is indeed quite flexible, but there are some restrictions.

¿Qué tú opinas? is ungrammatical.

In general, in "wh"-questions the interrogative pronoun or adverb will be followed by the verb, not by the subject, which -- if not tacit -- will tend to appear after the verb.

The only exception seems to be "por qué":

  • ¿Qué opinas tú?

  • ¿Dónde vives tú?

  • ¿Cuándo vas tú?

  • ¿Cuál quieres tú?

  • ¿Quién piensas tú que es el culpable?

  • ¿Cómo estudias tú?

  • ¿Cuánto ganas tú?


  • ¿Por qué tú opinas así? (Also: ¿Por qué opinas tú así?)

If the "wh"-word asks for the subject, there is obviously no inversion because the interrogative word is the subject, and what follows will always be the main verb:

  • ¿Qué pasó?

  • ¿Quién vino?

  • ¿Cuál es el mejor?

  • your answer helps. I also red the link staff.ncl.ac.uk/i.e.mackenzie/wordord.htm in which what we are interested about is located in part 3 (with examples 27 and 28). In this part there is written: "In standard Spanish, subject–verb inversion is in principle obligatory in direct and indirect wh-questions (unless the wh-phrase is actually the subject, in which case the latter precedes the verb)." Could you help me and give examples when the wh-phrase is actually the subject?
    – Alex
    Dec 16, 2019 at 21:17
  • 1
    This assertion: "subject–verb inversion is in principle obligatory in direct and indirect wh-questions" is not completely true. In indirect questions inversion may not, and usually does not occur.
    – Gustavson
    Dec 16, 2019 at 21:29
  • in this same link in example 30 I found one more exception besides "por qué" = it is "en qué". You might update answer if possible, for completeness.
    – Alex
    Dec 16, 2019 at 21:29
  • As for "wh"-questions asking for the subject, it's the same as in English with qué, cuál, quién. There can be no inversion because the subject IS the interrogative pronoun.
    – Gustavson
    Dec 16, 2019 at 21:31
  • 1
    I will make it as a new question.
    – Alex
    Dec 17, 2019 at 8:17

Just the first two options you posted are correct:

✔ ¿Qué opinas []? (, being optional, as it gets implicitly understood)

✔ ¿Tú qué opinas?

The reason why you will not easily find the third in its written form

✘ ¿Qué tu opinas?

is because it does not fit the grammar rules of the Spanish language

However, note that such form is often used in some Caribbean regions in their spoken version. Just as the Spanish Grammar authority (RAE) acknowledges in the Nueva gramática de la lengua española (2009):

Se hace notar que en el español hablado en las Antillas suelen ser átonos los pronombres personales yo, tú, él o ella cuando aparecen entre un pronombre interrogativo y el verbo (¿Qué tu dices?), o entre algunos advervios y el verbo (Ya tú sabes que...), lo que los acerca —en esta pauta— a los pronombres de sujeto que son siempre átonos en otras lenguas románicas, como el francés je. En estas construccions del español antillano, el pronombre átono se aproxima a los pronombres PROCLÍTICOS (42.9h) en cuanto que se apoya fonológicamente en el verbo. No obstante, se ha observado que esta posición puede ser ocupada por sustantivos y gurpos nominales DESACENTUADOS (no necesariamente átonos), como en ¿Qué Luisa pensará de todo esto?

  • thank you, your answer also helped.
    – Alex
    Dec 16, 2019 at 21:48
  • Very good point about the regional variation. Dec 17, 2019 at 8:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.