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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

Hi mesuuakan,

We are often asked how a person can improve speaking, but it's hard to give specific advice without knowing how they speak at the moment. However, there are some general suggestions that I can make which will help you to improve over time. The most important thing you can do is to speak English as often as possible. To do this a partner is very helpful, so think about the people you know and consider if any of them could be a practice partner for you. It may be that you know someone else who is also learning English and who would like to practise with you, or perhaps you know some people who do not speak your language but do speak English. However, if you do not have a practice partner it does not mean that you cannot practise because it is possible to practise alone. Just speaking English to yourself while you are at home, going about your normal daily activities, can help a great deal with your fluency and can help you to feel more confident, which will help you to cut down your hesitating.

You can also use the audio and video materials here on LearnEnglish to improve your fluency. After doing the exercises, try listening with the transcript (listening and reading). Then try saying the text yourself, and finally try saying it with (and at the same speed as) the recording. This will help you to develop speed in your speech, which is a key component of fluency. You'll also pick up a lot of language as chunks - words which are often used together in set phrases - which you can use to communicate with less hesitation.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

can you say 'which university did you go to ?' just like ' which restaurant did you go to ?'

yes we can

Hello,

You can, it depends on whether you see the choice of Universities as being about a specific group of things or a general choice.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

isn't the quetsion what university did u go ?" is specific or we should rather use :"what universities did u go "

Hello anum06,

If you use the plural 'universities' in the question then you are suggesting that the person studied at more than one university.  That may be true, especially if the person has multiple qualifications, but usually we wouldn't assume this and so would use the singular 'university'.  The question also needs the preposition 'to' at the end:

'What university did you go to?'

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

or to whom university did you go ?

but not in spoken English.

Hello Elmar,

That is not a correct sentence whether in spoken or written English. You could say 'To which...', however.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,
As you said "The question also needs the preposition 'to' at the end:'What university did you go to?'", I am wondering when I should add the preposition and when I needn't.
Here are some examples that I found online. Some of them are added with a preposition and some of them are not.
"This is where our basic interest lies.“ ”That’s where their unhappiness springs from.“
Could you please explain when the preposition is needed or when it is not needed?
Thank you very much!

Hi platformreg,

I'm afraid there's no general rule for this - different verbs go with different prepositions depending on their use in different contexts. A good dictionary, such as ours (see the search box on the right) can help you with this - be sure to look for the appropriate meaning in the dictionary entry and then observe how the verb is used in the example sentences. For example, if you look up 'spring' and choose the fifth entry (appear suddenly), you'll see that the example there also uses 'from'.

With 'go', 'to' is always used before the destination, e.g. 'go to the office', 'go to school', 'go to Chiangmai'. If 'go' is used in with a different meaning, then a different preposition could be appropriate, e.g. 'go with my friend to the cinema'.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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