Grammar Reference

In Learners' Questions this week, Dan talks about the differences between which and what

What and Which are often both possible with little difference:

  • What / Which is your favourite food?
  • Which/ What is the best programme on TV?

Number of options

When we feel we have a limited number of choices, we prefer to use which:

  • Which dessert shall we have? (When looking at a menu – there are only 6 options.)

When there is no limit to the number of choices, we prefer what:

  • What shall we have for dinner? (The answer could be anything.)


Both what and which can be used as determiners in questions when talking about people or things.
Determiners need to be followed by nouns.

  • What car do you drive?
  • Which car is yours? (When looking at some cars)


 can be used to identify people:

  • There’s a group of people. Which is your friend?

What can talk about jobs:

  • Tim’s a lawyer. What’s James?