English is a mysterious language. The dictionary has innumerable words looking and sounding similar, although having different meanings. Which and What are two critical examples for this. These two WH words have meanings somewhat close to each other but a wide difference in application in the sentences.
Which Vs What – this guide will help you solve all your doubts on these two words and their usage.
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Let’s begin our Which Vs What guide with “Which” at first.
Which is a question word used while making a selection between a limited number of items. Make a note that the items will already be mentioned in the sentence.
Is Which A Preposition? Several people are confused about this.
“Which” is straight away a WH-word that could be used as a pronoun or as an adjective according to the meaning of the sentence. It’s basically determinant. “Which” is also applied for both singular and plural. There is no separate plural form for Which.” The concept is almost similar to “That”
“What” is used in sentences when there are infinite possibilities for an answer. In other words, “What” is more applicable as a pronoun when there is no option given and the answer can be anything.
Apart from being a determinant, you can also use “What” as an adverb – to what extent or for indicating an approximation or estimate.
As a determinar, “What” refers to asking for the information specifying something.
So you see, there are a myriad of applications of “What.” You simply need to know when to use and in which context.
Which Vs What?
From the above sections, I expect you have got an idea of “ which vs what. ”
What vs which grammar rules are pretty simple. Just you have to understand the context of the sentence and the subject.
The “ what vs which ” difference is not at all complicated. The chart below will help you in this regard.
|Used during a limited choice||Used when there are large number of choices or infinite options to choose from|
|Derived from the old english word ‘hwilc’||Derived from the old english word hwæt|
|Interrogative determiner, an interrogative pronoun, relative determiner, relative pronoun.||Interrogative pronoun, adverb, determiner|
|Example: Which is your favorite color – Black or White?||Example: What’s the perfect time to meet you?|
When To Use What Vs Which? Application In The Sentences
How to use which in a sentence?
When to use what vs which?
What’s the best example of what or which in a sentence?
I am very sure all these questions are hovering around your mind. So I have come here with some critical examples to help you understand the “ Which Vs What ” grammar.
- Example 1:
Which Are The Best Varieties Of Grapes For Long Keeping?
What kinds of flowers are these?
- Example 2:
A Conference In Vienna Which Ended On Friday
Do you know what she said?
- Example 3:
There is no confusion as to which is which.
Are you gonna help me or what?
When to use what vs which – It must be crystal clear to you by now.
Any doubts? Meet us in the comment section.
Other WH Words
WH words are those English words that introduces relative clauses and questions.
Other than “What” and “Which,” there are some other WH words. Take a look at the list and examples below to strengthen your understanding of what vs which.
Why is a question word that has also application as adverb, exclamation, and noun. It basically helps in constructing a sentence where you can ask the reason, or purpose of something to someone.
- Why Peter came to our house?
- Why does the rain fall?
- Why don’t you put her on the bed in their room?
- Then why was it so difficult to forgive him?
- Unless you’re ill, there’s no reason why you can’t get those 15 minutes of walking in daily.
- Why don’t we talk it through?
- He confirmed that the city had been closed to foreigners, but gave no reason why.
Who is a proun in English and acts as both relative pronoun and interrogative pronoun. It refers to the persons primarily. The objective of using “who” in a sentence is – which or what person or people.
- Who is that woman, Julia?
- After all, who knows?
- Are you going to tell me who he is?
- Who do you suppose will replace her on the show?
- I went over to start up a conversation, asking her who she knew at the party.
- Who are you looking for this time?
- This guy is the only person who has come out and said anything.
- Who decides what the Internet will become?
“Where” acts as an adverb that refers to – what place or position in what direction, from what source or in what situation. The sense of a location or place is involved with “where.”
- Where is Dave going?
- Was that where his father got all that money?
- I also have an offer to work at the law office where I worked last summer.
- Where will it all end?
- I didn’t know where to start.
- The government is at a stage where it is willing to talk to almost anyone.
- It is on the wall above where he sits.
“When” word is both adverb and conjunction. It means: at what time, during which period, or at what circumstance. The “time” factor is better understandable with “when.”
- When Rita will come?
- When are you going home?
- When I met the Gills, I had been gardening for nearly ten years.
- When is the press conference?
- I asked him when he’d be back to pick me up.
- As always, he was there when she needed him.
- It was past one o’clock when Pierre left his friend.
- When the Civil War broke out, he fought on the side of the South and became a brigadier-general.
The last WH-word is “How.” It explains by what means, in what manner or what, quality or condition of something.
- How you will reach airport?
- How did you know you loved him?
- No matter how sorry Alex was for what happened, or how many times he apologized or tried to make up for it, he couldn’t remove the hurt.
- How did he always manage to do that?
- How do you manage to keep the place so tidy?
- No-one knows how many people have been killed since the war began.
Frequently Asked Questions
The main difference between these two interrogative pronouns is that which refers to a closed set while what refers to an open set.
Both which and what are used to ask questions. However, “which” is used when the answers or options are already given to you. Furthermore, “what” is used basically when it’s an open-ended question.
According to English grammar norms, use Which for things or non-living objectives and What for human beings.
It’s possible to use “what” as both singular and plural based on the context and the subject of the sentence.
To Use “ Which Or What ” That Is The Question
I hope the Which Vs What concept is clear to you by now. Both of these WH words have specific meanings and usage according to English Grammar and dictionaries. You have to apply Which or What, considering the subject of the sentences.
Having any more insights to add or any more similar confusing words in your stock? Shoot them in the comment section below!
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