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I've seen the use of interrogative pronouns in ordinary statements, not just questions. For example, from the book "Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal":

"Los Dursley se estremecían al pensar qué dirían los vecinos si los Potter apareciesen por la acera".

Rather than qué (what?), I would expect to see que - without the accent (that/which/who/what). Why is the word qué chosen instead? Is it something to do with the presence of the subjunctive verb that makes it different or special?

Thanks for any insights in this, for me, a very strange construction.

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That sentence is not a (blatant) question, but is a indirect interrogative sentence.

Los Dursley se estremecían al pensar qué dirían los vecinos si los Potter apareciesen por la acera

is equivalent to

Los Dursley se estremecían al pensar (o pensando): ¿Qué dirán los vecinos si los Potter aparecen por la acera?

There is your question, and that is why that qué has an accent. Is an indirect question.

It is also different to something like:

Los Dursley se estremecían al pensar que los vecinos dirían XYZ si los Potter apareciesen por la acera.

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    (is it just me, or does it sound much better with pensar en qué?) – user0721090601 Oct 4 '14 at 17:23
  • @guifa For this particular sentence I would not use the "en" but both forms are correct. Anyways, "pensar en qué dirían" has 9x more appearances in Google than "pensar qué dirían". Although "pensar qué dirán" has some more hits than "pensar en qué dirán". – Lucas Oct 4 '14 at 18:15
  • Probably is me. I'm from Madrid, so I'm "dequeista" and "laista", and there's times I'm trying to compensate when there is no need. – Diego Oct 4 '14 at 18:15
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    @Lucas and Diego, According to the DPD, pensar as transitive to meaning evocar/recordar is listed as literary (así habilitando frases como te pienso en vez de pienso en ti). And Diego: qué bien saber que otro laísta por aquí, que yo lo soy también jaja – user0721090601 Oct 4 '14 at 22:09

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