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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 learn English team!
I've read your article about reported speech but I still don't understand some points so I'm going to ask some many questions
1- he said " it is time we went " so in reported speech : he said (that) it was time they went or had gone ?
2- he said " a chicken sandwich is quite healthy " in reported: he said that chicken sandwich is or was ?

3- " Cairo is very big " becomes Cairo was or is ?
Is 2 different from 3 ? When do I not change the tense ? If it's a science fact or a general fact ?

And do I change the tenses with time conjunctions or not ? For example :
She said " while I was staying in Cairo , I met the minister twice " in reported : she said that she met the minister twice while she was staying in Cairo or had met and had been staying ?

And when I use while to describe two actions that was happening at the same time ..I don't change the past cont. ?

Last question is, do I change needn't to didn't need to/ didn't have to ? Or to needn't have or just don't change it ? I'm really confused cause I read it in a book and online and asked my teacher ... I got 3 different answers

Hello uchiha itache,

Have you seen our reported speech 1 and 2 pages? If you haven't had a look at them, I'd suggest you read through them.

In sentence 1, the correct form is 'it was time they went'. This is because the 'went' in the direct speech isn't really referring to the past -- it's just that we use the past simple in the construction 'it's time + subject + verb'.

In sentence 2, both forms can be used. When the indirect speech is talking about the same situation the direct mentioned and that situation has not changed, then either the present or past can be used. Sentence 3 is like sentence 2, assuming that Cairo was a very big city and that it still is now.

As for the sentence about meeting the minister, you could use either 'met' or 'had met' and 'was staying' would be much more likely than 'had been staying'. If you wanted to emphasise that these events took place before other events not mentioned in this sentence, then the past perfect forms would probably be a better choice, but otherwise I'd go with the simpler forms (past simple and continuous), though again it really depends on context.

As for your other questions, can you please give specific example sentences? It's much easier for us to speak about specific sentences than grammar forms in general.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello uchiha itache,

One of the points that Peter made was that the sentence was ambiguous. In other words, the sentence doesn't clearly indicate whether the meetings were during her stay. If you want to clearly indicate that the meetings were at another time, then the past perfect could be used to indicate this along with other time expressions. For example, you could say something like 'She said that she had met with the minister twice before arriving in Cairo for her stay'.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

The boy is lost
The boy is missing
Does both have the same meaning?

Hello uchiha itache,

They have similar but different meanings. 'lost' means the boy doesn't know where he is. 'missing' means that someone (his parents, for example), can't find him.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Please help me to find out. which one is correct ?
1. Which book do you want?
2. What book do you want?

and why?


Hello AmitMittal,

We generally use 'what' when there is an open choice without restrictions. We use 'which' when we are making or offering a choice amongst a restricted number. For example:

  1. What is your favourite film?
  2. Which is your favourite film?

The first sentence is a general question; the answer can be any film without restriction.

We would use the second sentence if there was a limited number of films to choose from. For example, we might ask this is we were standing in front of a DVD library and we wanted to ask which of the films in the library we like best.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Is it a must to use singular noun after the question word ‘which’?
For example,
1 which toy do you like?
2 which toys do you like?

Hello libero,

No, you can use plural nouns as well. Both of your sentences are correct.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I don't think the example - What country do you come from? - is right. We should say "Which country do you come from". Am I right?