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Pronouns in questions

Level: beginner

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?

Pronouns in questions 1


We often have a preposition at the end of a question:

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

Pronouns in questions 2


Pronouns in questions 3



Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

Are they the same or different?
1. What book do you want?
2. Which book do you want?
3. What university did you go to?
4. Which university did you go to?

Thank you.

Hello Kunthea,

There is a difference between the use of what and which in these kinds of questions.

We use what when the question is open and the person answering can choose any answer they wish. We use which when there is a limited choice and the person answering can only choose between them. Which carries the meaning 'Which of these...?'

For example, in your first question (with what) the other person can choose any book at all - there is no limit. In your second question (with which) the other person has a limited selection. You might use the second question if you are talking about a set of books on the shelf or on the table, or if you are talking about the books in a particular shop.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Could you tell me why the words 'want with s' and 'see no -s' as one example I did showed in the exercise 1 above? It says 'Who wants to go and see a film?' Thanks.

Hello Kunthea,

We use 'wants' (rather than 'want') because 'who' is treated as a third-person singular pronoun.

We use 'see' (rather than 'sees') because after the verb 'want' we use an infinitive. Effectively, the sentence is asking Who wants to go and to see...



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter. the verb 'see' is an infinitive after the verb 'wants'.

Is the question correct?
"I have to do it in my notebook or on my computer?"

Hello Vvv,

Yes, that is a correctly formed declarative question.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Good Afternoon.

May I ask in pronouns in question using preposition . Always like" pronoun at the behind of "are,were,had ,have and so on"? For example,Which university did you go to? That "you " always behind the did,are,is, and so on ?

Hello Backlight

Yes, a pronoun is needed after an auxiliary verb in questions like the one you mention. There might be some exception in some specific cases, but in general, you should use a pronoun there.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
This is from your website under 'pronouns': Which university did you go to?
Is it wrong to say 'What university did you go to? If this is wrong please tell me why it is wrong? I would like to know the difference between 'which' and 'what'
Are we to use 'which' when there are two or three things to be chosen and
' what when there are many things to be chosen. For e.g. Which language do you like to study German or French? / what language do you like to study German or French? Which question is correct?
Please let me know?
Thank you.