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

Hello,

If i want to ask someone about the brand of the watch the person is wearing, then which of the following would be more appropriate :
That's a nice watch, what brand is it ? or That's a nice watch, which brand is it ?

Thanks.

Hello ash_grooovy,

Both are grammatically correct. The difference is that 'what' here is open and we would use it when we are asking about any brand. We would use 'which' when we are asking about a limited number of options (brand x or brand y).

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

What's the difference between these?
Which restaurant did you go to?
What university did you go to?
both are specific

Hello 

As we say on the page, 'which' is usually specific: it asks for a choice from a known group. 'What' is usually more general: it asks for a choice without restrictions. For example:

Which is your favourite film? [showing three or four to choose from]

What is your favourite film? [you can choose any film]

If the speaker says 'Which restaurant...?' then I would understand that we are choosing from a restricted group: the ones on a particular street, or the ones we were talking about before, for example.

If the speaker says 'What university...?' then I would assume the speaker has no idea which universities were possible, likely or accessible, and is asking generally.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

What about if i live in England and what will the question if somebody wants to know my city. Will the question be: what city or which city? Thanks in advance

Hello Bassnanga,

That really depends on how the person asking the questions perceives the situation. If you've just talked about different cities, for example, 'which' (as the explanation above indicates) would be used since the topic of cities has already been mentioned. If, on the other hand, the topic of where you live hasn't been mentioned, 'what' would be used.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hi i have a question that we can have full file as grammar to print it and use it when we haven't PC . if is possible how and where can i have it . thanks for your attention

Hello abbas,

I'm afraid that our Grammar Reference is not available in a printable format, but if you have a smartphone or tablet, there are several free apps designed for improving your grammar knowledge. For example, there's our LearnEnglish Grammar app - but be sure to look on our Apps page for a complete listing. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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