Which question word to use?

We use who to ask questions about people:

Who is that?
Who lives here?
Who did you see?

We use whose to ask about possession:

Whose coat is this? [or] Whose is this coat?
Whose book is that? [or] Whose is that book?
Whose bags are those? [or] Whose are those bags?

We use what to ask questions about things:

What is that?
What do you want?

We use which to ask someone to choose something:

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I’ve got two books. Which do you want?

We can also use what and which with nouns:

What subjects did you study at school?
What newspaper do you read?
Which newspaper do you read – the Times or the Guardian?
Which book do you want?
Which one is yours?

Questions with prepositions:

Questions ending in prepositions are very common in English. After Who, Which or What we often have a preposition at the end of the sentence:

Who does this book belong to?
What are you looking for?
Which university did you go to?
What country do you come from?

 

Activities
 

Reorder the words to make questions

 

Section: 

Comments

Hello Sir,

I have a question: in the clause I have got two books. Which do you want?, the correct question wasn't: Which one do you want?

Hello Shark,

Both 'Which do you want?' and 'Which one do you want?' are correct here. You can use either sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

If the answer is "The ducks were swimming in the pond," what would the question be?
1. Who were swimming in the pond?
2. What were swimming in the pond?

Kindly provide the usage as well. Thank you.

Hello Dr. Mustafa Siddiqui,

In general, we treat animals as objects rather than people, grammatically speaking, and so would not tend to use 'who' here. The exception would be animals with which we feel a particular affinity, such as pets, which we tend to speak of as people, using 'who', 'he', 'she' and so on.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

"who does she remind you of?" I don't understand this sentece. what does it mean?

Hello volkan gürler,

This question is asking the person what her appearance, character or behaviour is similar to. For example, I might say this:

My friend Bob reminds me of Mike Tyson because he has a very similar tattoo.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello... Just discovered this site and now have it bookmarked. I've drawn an absolute blank trying to think of a way to reword "attaching links about the childhood friend you remind me so much of" without sounding stuffy. Is it ever okay to use "of" at the end of a sentence? Thank you.

Hello LoreBeth,

That sentence is perfectly fine. The rule that a sentence should not end with a preposition was never germane to English but rather was an imposition by grammarians and writers who wished to make English as similar to Latin as possible.

You can find a discussion of the topic here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, what is the diffrence between those two senteces "What newspaper do you read?" and
"Which newspaper do you read". or those two sample is the same meaning?

Hello volkan gürler,

In many contexts you can use either 'what' or 'which' in these questions, though there is a slight difference. We use 'what' in general questions where you can choose anything as your answer. We use 'which' when the question is about a smaller group. For example, if I wanted to know your favourite film then I would ask What is your favourite film? However, if we were standing in front of a collection of films on DVD and I wanted you to choose one of these then I would ask Which is your favourite (film)?

In other words when we use which we are really asking which of these. When we use what we are asking in general terms.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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