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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

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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

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Pronouns in questions 3

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Comments

Hello Rajesh,

The second sentence is grammatically correct but is strange because books are inanimate objects and therefore cannot publish themselves. For this kind of question, please be sure to look up the key word (here, for example, it's 'publish') in the dictionary. If you look it up in the dictionary search box on the right side of this page, the third and fourth example sentences in the first entry show this use.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir, Which train did you come on? Why 'On' is used after come? Which train did you come? is this the correct sentence?

Hello Devixox,

'Which train did you come on?' is indeed correct, and the same question without 'on' is not correct. This is because if you omit 'on', it sounds as if 'train' is the object of 'come', which is impossible, as 'come' is an intransitive verb. 'on a train' is an adverbial that tells us how an action was done. Perhaps thinking that we 'get on' a train might help you here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team 

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Is it possible to say Which country do you come from if it is what is the difference is I say What country do you come from

Hello Lamastry,

I'd suggest you read through this archived BBC page, which addresses the differences between 'what' and 'which' in questions.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir/Madam,
There's written an example "What country do you come from?". Is it also correct "Which country do you come from?" ("to choose" from all the countries)? Second one sounds more familiar to me, but I'm not sure if it is correct.

Thank you in advance!

Best regards,

Katarina

Hello Katarina128,

Both are used and both are correct. The distinction between 'what' and 'which' is quite a hazy one, and many native speakers use them interchangeably in many contexts.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Team

If you are asking about somebody's occupation (a driver, a manager, etc.) is it better to use "who" or "what"?
For example, "who is he?" or "what is he?"
I have seen usage of both in course books.

Thanks.

Hi lexeus,

We use 'who' in this kind of question. It would be more common to ask 'What does he do?', however.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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