You are here

Interrogative determiners: 'which' and 'what'

Level: intermediate

The interrogative determiners are which and what.

which is a specific determiner

Here are three books. Which book do you think is the most interesting?
They have four boys. Which boy is the oldest?
I can’t remember which house Janet lives in.
Which restaurant did you go to?

 

what is a general determiner

What food do you like?
I don’t know what job she does.

Interrogative determiners 1

MultipleChoice_MTU5NTY=

Interrogative determiners 2

GapFillTyping_MTU4MDI=

 

Comments

Hi, I would be most grateful if someone could explain why there is no article in phrases such as e.g. the history of Italian Renaissance Sculpture (no article before Italian) or Masterpieces of Medieval Enamel. I intuitively understand that a) we are dealing with abstract entities - therefore no definite article, and b) we are not dealing with the whole bulk of objects existing in this category. I would be grateful, though, for the explanation from the native speaker. Many, many thanks

Hi IreneK,

As you say, these are abstract concepts rather than particular items, and so no article is used.

It's sometimes helpful to consider how the sentence would change if articles were used.

the history of an Italian Renaissance Sculpture - this would describe the history of one such sculpture which has not yet been identified to the listener/reader

the history of the Italian Renaissance Sculpture - this would describe the history of a particular sculpture which has been identified to the listener/reader

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

It's really interesting.

Hello. I think I couldn't understand properly the differences in the use of which and what.
Thanks for helping me.
Best regards.

Hello Diego Feital

We're happy to help you with specific questions. Could you please tell us a little more about what you don't understand?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Diego Feital

That's exactly right! There can be more than two options when we choose 'which' -- the idea is that it is a relatively limited set of options that is somehow present. For example, if we're in an ice cream shop and we can see the 12 flavours they have, we'd probably use 'which' because the options are there in front of us. But if you and I were on top of a mountain talking about food, 'what' would make more sense.

Well done!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir
Is the use of one word as adjective and verb in the same sentence correct ?
Example: Do you want to naked me?
2....I met Him

Hi Akong,

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any adjectives that can be used as a verb without some kind of change in form. Usually some kind of suffix or prefix is added, e.g. the adjective 'white' + '-en' = 'to whiten'.

'naked' can't be used as a verb in standard English so that sentence is not grammatical. In 2, 'met' is only a verb (the verb 'meet' in the past simple) and is not an adjective. I don't see how you could use it as an adjective, but if you have something specific in mind, please let us know.

By the way, could you please ask your questions on a relevant page? For example, since this one is about verbs and adjectives, it would make more sense somewhere in one of those sections instead of here. Thanks in advance for your cooperation with this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir.
Somebody wrote and said

There are about 50 different determiners in the English language they include:

Articles - a, an, the.

Demonstratives - this, that, these, those, which etc.

Possessives - my, your, our, their, his, hers, whose, my friend's, our friends', etc.

Quantifiers -few, a few, many, much, each, every, some, any etc.
More items...which of them fits or means "Integrative" Is it DEMONSTRATIVE? following his arrangement since he wrote (which ) as one of his examples ?
Thanks

Hello Akong,

We're happy to comment on our own material and explanations but we can't explain to you what someone else was thinking when they wrote something. There are interrogative determiners (I think this is what you mean, rather than 'integrative') which are used before nouns to ask questions (e.g. Which book do you want?).

 

You can find a useful categorisation of determiners on the relevant wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determiner

 

I think if you want an explanation of this person's categorisation then you should contact them. It would not be appropriate for us to speak for that person.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages