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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

Hello again Peter,

I read the link you sent. I am baffled after reading these below:

"We use who and whom for people, and which for things."

Now the example below given is
The newspaper reported that the tiger which killed its keeper has been put down.

I suppose that TIGER is the subject, because if we remove tiger from the sentence, it is meaningless. Please assist.

Thank you in advance.

Hello zeechan-hussain,

The relative clause in that sentence is 'which killed its keeper' and the subject is the relative pronoun 'which'. The relative clause describes 'tiger', which is the subject of the passive verb form 'has been put down'.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you. It is a difficult example because the relative clause is in the middle of the sentence, there is a confusing 'that' which is not a relative pronoun but rather part of a reporting verb phrase and the verb in the sentence is a passive form.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter. I will try to understand it better.

Thank you indeed Peter. I have now an understanding to make a better use.

Hello zeeshan-hussain,

It's hard for me to comment without seeing the whole sentence, as both 'those' and 'which' are possible, depending on how the sentence ends. If it was a relative clause then 'which' is necessary and 'those' is not possible as 'those' is not a relative pronoun.

You can learn more about relative clauses here.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Which is corect?
Which course are offering? or What course are you offering?

Thanks for you help.

At EBEH FELIX

You can only use "which" when you have a list choice known to your listener, else you make use of "what" since it will be a general question out of all causes which may not even be known to your listener.

Hello IBEH FELIX,

The second sentence is correct (with 'you').

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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