There are some people who are often confused with the usage of what and which in a sentence. Take a look at these examples:
- What food does your dog eat?
- Which food does your dog eat?
Both sentences are grammatically correct and too often, which and what are both possible. We need to know which one is more appropriate to use.
What is a wh-word that is used to ask questions about things or action. It is also used as a pronoun and a determiner.
What is used as a pronoun and is used as a “thing.”
What is used as an exclamation to convey a high or intense viewpoint or emotion.
In this case, what is used to form a direct question.
What works to form an indirect question in this example.
Which, like what, is also a wh-word used for asking questions. It is also used as a pronoun, adjective and for supplementary information.
In this example, which is used as a pronoun (referring to proposals).
Which is used as an adjective.
Which is used to add extra information.
What vs Which
What is the difference between what and which? Which and what are often used interchangeably and understandably so, because there is actually a slight difference of meaning between the two.
Which is used when the speaker knows that there is a limited number of choices, while what is used when there is an unknown number or limitless possibilities for an answer.
This indicates that there a few options, and the question is pertaining to those options.
This does not provide you any choice, and it could be anything that you have learned or studied.
This suggests that the speaker and the listener already have a few movies in mind.
This conveys that it could be any movie from any time.
|wh-words used to ask questions||wh-words used to ask questions|
|Also used as pronouns||Also used as pronouns|
|For a limited number of options||For a limitless number of options|
The video below explains clearly the difference between what and which.