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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When to use 'whom' in a question? Could you please elaborate on the difference between 'who' and 'whom'?

Hello rohan_kumar1991,

'who' and 'whom' are used in different ways. When used as question words, 'who' is used to refer to a subject, and 'whom' is used to refer to an object - though please note that often 'who' is used instead of 'whom', even to refer to an object. For example:

Who(m) did you see? ('who(m)' is the object of the verb 'see')
Who saw you? ('who' is the subject of the verb 'see')

Both words can also be used in relative clauses - see our relative pronouns page for more information on this.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I don't understand why we use which in "which university did you go to ?" We can say "what university did you go to? " I don't understand the difference between what and which. Fiigeen

Hello Fiigeen,

Both 'what' and 'which' can be used before nouns to ask this kind of question, and there's no significant difference in meaning. 'which' tends to be used when a limited number of things (in this case, universities) are being talked about (e.g. we'd been talking about whether to apply to Harvard or Vassar), whereas 'what' tends to be used when we don't have any specific options in mind.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher, How to understand the Question 6" Who does she remind you of ?" There have two Nouns, she and you. I can not understand well. Thanks for your help. Best regards, Zheng Zhe

Hello zhengzhe7,

In this sentence, 'she' is the person being discussed and 'you' is the person who is being asked the question. In other words, 'Who does she remind you of?' means the same as 'Which person are you reminded of when you see her?'

It may help for you to look up the word 'remind' in a dictionary and compare it with 'remember'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher, Why "Who lives here?"is correct, but "Who you see?"is not correct. Both of the two sentences have a verb, "llive" or "see". Why we need to add "did" or "do" for the second sencentce. "Who did you see?". Or, why not to be " Who is you see?" Hopefully,you can help me to clarify. Thanks for your help. Best wishes, Zheng Zhe

Hello Zheng Zhe,

This is explained on our verbs - questions and negatives page, under part 4 (Wh-questions). There you'll see that when 'who' is the subject of the verb, the auxiliary verb 'do' is not used, but when 'who' is the object of the verb, 'do' is used.

After you study that page, if you have any other questions, please let us know.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, First of all, I am glad to be part of your team :) I want to ask about "which". Generally we say that which isn't used with persons. But we use them. And if I asked question like: "Is John absent?" Can I say "Which John?" ( it is about chioce, in case of if there are more than one person)

Hello violets_are_blue,

The rule that we don't use 'which' with people refers to 'which' used as a relative pronoun. Thus we can't say *'The man which I met yesterday' but must say 'The man who (that) I met yesterday'.

Your sentence is an example of 'which' used not as a relative pronoun but as a question word with the meaning 'identify one of a number'. This is a different use and the rule does not apply here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I am welcome and proud to a member of British Council , i said to all British Council communities are thanks. regards Addisu
Regarding which and what.... which university......what country why the question words are different in these 2 sentences?

Hello aarushmom,

In general, which is used before nouns when we have a limited number of options in mind and what is used when there is no sense of a limited number of options. For example, if we've been speaking about going to see a film and have talked about three different ones, I could ask you "Which film do you want to see?" If I said "what film", it would sound a bit unnatural.

On the other hand, if we're talking about films in general, I could ask you "What is your favourite film?" This would be the most natural way to ask, as the topic is films in general, which could include any film you've seen.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I want to know the answers of the following questions 1."please back to the page no.20." is this sentence correct? 2.why we don't use "to" before home and abroad. 3.could you please let me know the use of word "recently". above information is necessary for me.

Hello Md.Akid-Ul-hasan,

1. I'd suggest: "please go back to page 20"
2. To be honest, I don't know. There are many expressions in English (and other languages) that you must simply learn as they are used.
3. You can find "recently" and most other words in our dictionary - see the search box on the right side of the screen.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, may I know whether both the sentences below are correct? 1) Ask him how to answer the question. 2) Ask him how do we answer the question. Thank you.

Hello Pocoyo,

The first sentence is correct.  We can also phrase it like this:

Ask him how we answer the question.

We do not use the question form ('...how do we...') as this is not a question, but rather an indirect question.  You can find more information on indirect and reported questions here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Rsr_simba,

No, I'm afraid that is not correct.  The correct sentence would be:

Why can't the recommendations be accepted? [if they are not accepted and you want to know why they were rejected]

or

Why can the recommendations be accepted? [if they are accepted and you want some justification or explanation for this]

The first context is obviously much more likely.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

which correct answer for makeing question when we aske about Steven the main sentence " Every evening Steven listens to his new CDs. " is it "Who dose lestien to his new CDs every evening?" or " Who listens to his new CDs every evening? " and why ? Thanks

Hello rmn_namr,

The second question you wrote ("Who listens to...") is the correct question. When the person that who refers to is the subject of the verb, then the auxiliary verb do/does is not used. If who refers to another person, however, then the auxiliary is used. For example:

1. Who listens to the teacher every day?
2. Who does he listen to every day?

In sentence 1, the person that who refers to is the one that listens, whereas in sentence 2, he is the person that listens.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear LearnTeam, It is kindly requested to let me inform correct answer of question no. 6.... "WHO DOES REMIND SHE OF" waiting for your response... kind Regards,

Hello swatmi,

Welcome to LearnEnglish!  I hope you have a great time here and improve your English every day.

It's difficult for me to give you concrete advice without knowing more about your needs, your abilities and your interests.  However, I can give you some general suggestions.

First of all, take some time to explore the site.  Use the links at the top of the page to go to different sections and see what kinds of materials are available.  Get a feel for the level of difficulty of different sections so you can see what will be most useful to you at the moment.

Second, start with something that is not too high a level.  I suggest you begin with something which is not too challenging, such as Elementary Podcasts Series Three.  Work through the episodes, and remember that you can use the transcript to help you, or to read and listen at the same time after you have done the exercises.

Third, keep a vocabulary notebook as you work.  Organise it by topic ('work', 'family', 'food' etc) and add words and phrases to it as you go through the material.  Test yourself regularly to see if you remember the words.

Finally, try to find time to practise English during your regular day.  Perhaps you have a friend who is also learning English, with whom you can practise speaking, or perhaps you can practise by yourself, just speaking English when you are alone at home or at work.  This kind of practice is great for developing fluency in speaking, so that when you need to use English in the 'real' world you are ready and confident.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

everything is good but if the management consider while i press check the answer to put why my answer its wrong ?i mean show cause. thanks in advance hope my suggest taken consider.

Hi storeyover,

If you press the Finish button, you'll see the correct answers. If it's not clear why your answer is wrong, please feel free to ask us about it here.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Please help to explain this question "Who does you remind you of?" what does mean? Many thanks! Oaihuong

Hello oaihuong,

It means 'who does this person look like, or sound like or behave like' - who are they similar to.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone, my question is about "end preposition"....this is very hard for me because I am italian. How can I do to remember when prepositions go at the end of the sentence? Thank you in advance

Manu

Hi Ema1977,

The general rule is that prepositions that have a question word as an object normally go at the end of the question.

But if that's difficult to remember, perhaps if you think of the preposition as something that 'goes with' the verb in some way (e.g. look for, belong to, come from) or which 'goes with' an adjective (e.g. interested in, good at), that will help you remember to put it at the end of the question.

Good luck!

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hello,

I wanna ask about the which part. On the examples you said "I’ve got two books. Which do you want?" how if i said it "I’ve got two books. Which "one" do you want?" is there any different between them two? please give me an answer, thank you my friend

Hello skeya,

The question 'Which do you want?' can have a singular or plural meaning, while 'Which one do you want?' has a singular meaning.  In other words, if I ask 'Which do you want?' then the answer might be one thing, two things or more, whereas if I ask 'Which one do you want?' then the answer should be just one thing.

In this context, where there are two to choose from, the two questions are interchangeable.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

While trying to make all possible questions to the sentence: "I have read a book recently" I had a doubt about the word "recently". The only way I could ask about it was "when", but in such a question I would need to use Past Simple not Present Perfect. Is it possible to ask about "recently" using Present Perfect?

Hi IzaG,

Yes, recently can be used with verbs in the present perfect. In fact, it might be the verb form that is most commonly used with recently since it is often used to speak about an even that began not long ago and is still continuing. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a question using when and recently, but one example of recently in a question in the present perfect is: "Have you seen any good films recently?"

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hi every body

i'd like to know why we have to use "which" when we ask about the university that some body used to go to, and "what" to ask about the country that some body is coming from. Why don't we say:

what university did you go to?

Or

which country do you come from?

Is it wrong to ask question like...  Who you are going to vote? or Should I really ask, Who are you going to vote?

Tnx Admin!

 

Hi NeonF007,

That is correct - the correctly formed question is: "Who are you going to vote for?" I'd recommend that you look at our question forms page, which explains the word order of questions.

If you have any questions after reading that, please let us know!

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team
 

Hello Administrator of This site... I am so Eager for Learning English. My Grammar is not very strong. so I need your help. I hope You will reply me My Question.thanks a lot of. My Complimentary Respect always with you!!!!!!! I want to mention two Question. Which is your Favorite Movie?????? Which Movie have you Favorite.? Reply me. which is the right Question.? and what's mistake in wrong Question.
Hello sampat, The first one is correct. The second sentence needs to use the verb 'be' instead of 'have' and the possessive pronoun 'your' instead of 'you'. It could be corrected as follows: 'Which movie is your favourite?' I hope that clarifies it for you. Best wishes, Peter The LearnEnglish Team
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hello

please provide some examples for what/ who/which in case they are subjects of the questions and the questions doesn't need do/did.

thank you very much

Hi maryaaa,

This is explained on the Question forms & subject/object questions page, under the section Subject/Object questions. There are three examples there, and here are a couple more:

  1. Who is going to pick up mum from the airport?
  2. Who phoned?

Notice that we can also say Who did you phone?, but it has a different meaning than question 2, because you is the subject of the verb did phone, whereas who is the subject of the verb phone in question 2.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,  when we ask someone to choose something as in the lesson example "Which came first, the chicken or the egg? ", is it right to say " Which one came first, the chicken or the egg?" 

Or do we use "which one" only for sentences where the option  (things that can be chosen) is not mentioned but it is implicit as in "Which one is yours?"  understanding that the word "one" can be only a noun.

Thanks