Interroogative pronoun ¿De quién?


Need help with something in my workbook that I don't quite understand:

English: Whose pencil did you borrow?
Literally: Of whom was the pencil that you borrowed?
Spanish: ¿De quién era el lápiz que pediste prestado?

I think I understand the de quién but the part of the above sentence I do not understand is "que pediste prestado" {that you borrowed}.

prestar = to lend
pedir = to ask


updated JUN 6, 2010
edited by foxluv
posted by foxluv
pedir = to ask
The English verb "to borrow" is expressed "pedir prestado."
oops...gracias Deanski!

3 Answers


I think I understand the de quién but the part of the above sentence I do not understand is "que pediste prestado"

I might suggest that the sense of the word "de" could be interpreted to indicate "origin" as well as "ownership," and a more appropriate preposition to use might be "from."

From whom did you borrow that pencil? or more literally

Whose pencil was it that you borrowed (asked to be lent)?

Here, you have to recognize that (in terms of the use of the preposition) you are probably not going to be able to come up with a completely suitable word for word translation between the two languages. This is due to the fact that Spanish nouns do not have case markers for there nouns in the possessive case. The difference in structure can be highlighted by analyzing the following responses:

• Pedí prestado el lápiz de John.

• I borrowed John's pencil.

Here you can see, that because the Spanish possessive requires an expression using the preposition "de," it is also necessary to employ it in the interrogative (de quién). In English, we would simply employ the possessive pronoun "whose."

Regarding the use of prestado, it might help to recognize that when "prestado" is used with pedir, it is used to show that you asked to "be loaned (borrow)" something; that is to say, you have the intent of returning it. If you use "pedir" by itself, it means that you are simply asking for something. The word "prestado" by itself simply implies that an item is lent or has been lent. That is, it is descriptive of the object but makes no reference to the source. However, placing pedir before it gives an indication of which direction the lending/borrowing is occurring (that is to say, who is asking for the loan).

updated JUN 6, 2010
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
Nice explanation!

Whose pencil was it that you borrowed? (asked for to be lent)

updated JUN 6, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
Soooo... pedir prestado is a verb team? rah, rah, rah! Thanks Delores .
De nada, foxluv.

If it´s the "pediste" that is confusing you, I think this could be translated as "that you asked to borrow".

updated JUN 6, 2010
posted by Eddy