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If I have an object in my hand that I do not know the Spanish word for, I would ask "¿Qué es esto?" for "What is this?". Since there is no neuter plural pronoun, how do I ask "What are these?"?

Maybe "Qué son estos?", but "estos" is masculine plural rather than neuter plural and since I don't know the word for these things, I don't know whether they are masculine or feminine.

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"Esto significa una cosa o conjunto de cosas que están cerca de la primera persona; Eso, una cosa o conjunto de cosas cercanas a la segunda persona; Aquello, una cosa o conjunto de cosas distantes de la primera persona y de la segunda".

  • ¿Qué es esto? / ¿Qué es esto que llevo en la mano?

  • ¿Qué es esta cosa? / ¿Qué son estas cosas que he cogido?

  • ¿Qué son esas cosas? / ¿Qué es eso que llevas en las manos? / ¡Qué son esas cosas que llevas en la mano?

  • ¿Qué es aquello? / ¿Qué es aquella cosa? / ¿Qué es aquel objeto?

Cuando no sabemos el nombre de un objeto decimos ¿ Qué es esto? o ¿ Qué es esta cosa?. En plural suele ser en femenino ¿Qué son estas cosas?, ¿Qué son esas cosas?, ¿Qué son aquellas cosas?, Aunque también es posible decir ¿Qué son estos artículos?, ¿Qué son estos objetos?

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"¿Qué es eso?" "¿Esos que son?" Is fine. Things' genders is something you learn as a native by repetition and if you don't know trial and error. Completely ok and natural for you to ask in the masculine form. Actually I tried to made the sentence using feminine and it doesn't sounds right. Only scenario that comes to my mind; unless you are completely sure you can distinguish them and you are referring to female animals you don't know the name of.

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In fact there is a neutral pronoun, which is "esto". "Esto" is neutral, as opposed to "este", which would be the masculine form.

Unlike other types of words, demonstrative pronouns do have a neutral form different from the other genders.

So yes, asking "¿Qué es esto?" is actually the correct and most natural way to ask.

Moreover, you wouldn't use masculine or feminine demonstrative pronouns with "qué". "¿Qué es esta?" is weird, at least out of context (with context, it could make sense). Instead, if you know the gender, that's because your'e talking about something concrete, so you would use "Cuál" instead: "¿Cuál es esta?"

But for neutral undefined things, "esto" is perfectly fine

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