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  • Hi guys! Dan for BBC Learning English here with this week's Learner Question. Find out

  • what it is after this.

  • OK! This week's learner question comes from Cristina Gutiérrez. And she says: First of

  • all, congratulations on your splendid programmes at BBCLearningEnglish -Thank you so much - They

  • are both entertaining and useful - Good, that's what we want them to be - I'd like to know

  • what's the exact difference in usage between 'what' and 'which' at the beginning of direct

  • questions. Well, Cristina, as you command, so we obey.

  • Now both are often possible with very little difference. For example:

  • 'What or which is your favourite food?' Or

  • 'Which or What is the best programme on TV at the moment?'

  • When we feel we have a limited number of choices, we prefer which.

  • So with a menu: 'Which dessert shall we have?'

  • Or when looking at a multiple choice test: 'Which one is the answer?'

  • On the other hand, what is used when we feel we have an unlimited number of choices.

  • So for example: 'What shall we have for dinner?'

  • Or 'What's the answer to this question?'

  • Both can be used as determiners in direct questions when talking about people or things.

  • They are always followed by nouns though. So:

  • when looking at a line of cars I might say: 'Which car is yours?'

  • But, in general, I might ask: 'What car do you drive?'

  • In talking about people we can use which to ask about identity and what to ask about job.

  • For example: There's a group of people over there. Which

  • is your friend? Or: 'Tim's a lawyer. What's James?'

  • I hope that answers your question Cristina. Thank you very much for contacting us. If

  • anybody else out there has a question about English they'd like answered, you can email

  • us on: Please remember to include Learners' Questions

  • in the subject line and your name and your country. You can also go to our website:

  • I've been Dan and I'll see you next time on Learners' Questions.

Hi guys! Dan for BBC Learning English here with this week's Learner Question. Find out

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'What' and 'which' - Learners' Questions

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/07/01
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