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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

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Interrogative determiners 2

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Comments

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Hello there
Can we use 'were not, are not........etc' at the beginning of a negative interrogative sentence without shortening them? Please show examples for correct forms and incorrect forms? 
Thanks for your early reply.
Best Regards

Hello sathyasa,
We can certainly use the full (not contracted) forms at the beginning of questions:
Are we not able to decide for ourselves?
Were they not so young, I might get really angry with them.
However, this is a very formal, literary or declamatory style and it is not common in everyday speech.  If you were making a formal speech in Parliament or in court, for example, then you might use these forms, but in normal conversation they would sound very strange.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

 hey , how tell any body i am not that person about whom your talking or you want to meet

Hello nethaG,
There are many ways to say this and which you will use depends on the situation and whether or not you can be direct, or should be polite or formal.
Some polite ways to say this would be:
'I'm sorry, I think you're thinking of somebody else.'
'I think you've got me confused with somebody else.'
'I'm sorry but I think you're looking for somebody else.'
I hope that helps you.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello My name is Almaz. I read it but I did not understand. Could you give me lots of examples to understand? 

Hi Almaz,
The difference between the determiners which and what depends on the perspective of the person speaking or writing. I'll explain the difference in a slightly different way and give you a few more examples.
In general, which is used to refer to a limited or specific number of options. For example,

  • Which size would you like: small, medium or large? (when ordering an ice cream)
  • Which player is your favourite? (speaking about a football team)
  • Which of those girls is your sister? (you can see a group of 4 girls)
  • Which way shall we go? (right or left)

Each of these questions is about a specific context in which there are a limited number of options.
When a more general or more open question is being asked, and especially if there is little context, what is used more often. For example,

  • What language is spoken in Kathmandu? 
  • What kind of music do you like to listen to while studying?
  • What country do you come from?
  • What colour is your car?

I hope that this helps. If it's still not clear, please don't hesitate to ask another question - and thanks for visiting LearnEnglish!
Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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