interrogative determiners: which and what

 

We use "which" as a determiner to ask a question about a specific group of people or things:

Which restaurant did you go to?
Which countries in South America have you visited?

When we are asking a general question we use "what" as a determiner:

What films do you like?
What university did you go to?

Comments

can you say 'which university did you go to ?' just like ' which restaurant did you go to ?'

Hello,

You can, it depends on whether you see the choice of Universities as being about a specific group of things or a general choice.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

isn't the quetsion what university did u go ?" is specific or we should rather use :"what universities did u go "

Hello anum06,

If you use the plural 'universities' in the question then you are suggesting that the person studied at more than one university.  That may be true, especially if the person has multiple qualifications, but usually we wouldn't assume this and so would use the singular 'university'.  The question also needs the preposition 'to' at the end:

'What university did you go to?'

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,
As you said "The question also needs the preposition 'to' at the end:'What university did you go to?'", I am wondering when I should add the preposition and when I needn't.
Here are some examples that I found online. Some of them are added with a preposition and some of them are not.
"This is where our basic interest lies.“ ”That’s where their unhappiness springs from.“
Could you please explain when the preposition is needed or when it is not needed?
Thank you very much!

Hi platformreg,

I'm afraid there's no general rule for this - different verbs go with different prepositions depending on their use in different contexts. A good dictionary, such as ours (see the search box on the right) can help you with this - be sure to look for the appropriate meaning in the dictionary entry and then observe how the verb is used in the example sentences. For example, if you look up 'spring' and choose the fifth entry (appear suddenly), you'll see that the example there also uses 'from'.

With 'go', 'to' is always used before the destination, e.g. 'go to the office', 'go to school', 'go to Chiangmai'. If 'go' is used in with a different meaning, then a different preposition could be appropriate, e.g. 'go with my friend to the cinema'.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for your answer! I know different verbs go with different prepositions in different contexts, but sometimes I don't know whether I should add a preposition or not.

Hi platformreg,

I'm afraid it's difficult to generalise about this. If you'd like to send a few specific sentences, we'd be happy to take a look at them for you, and remember the dictionary, which I think could be a big help. Once you've identified how verbs go with prepositions, then be sure to make a note of them so that you can refer to them in the future.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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