Asked by: Asbel Ahrendtz
books and literature fiction

When to use which vs what?

Last Updated: 27th January, 2020

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"Which" is more formal when asking a question thatrequires a choice between a number of items. You can use"What" if you want, though. Generally speaking, you canreplace the usage of "which" with "what" and be OKgrammatically. It doesn't always work the other way around,however.

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Similarly, you may ask, what is the rule for using that or which?

When referring to objects, though, the rule forusing “that” and “which” correctly issimple: THAT should be used to introduce a restrictiveclause.

who vs which vs that? The main difference between who and that or whichis that you should only use who to refer to a personor people – who is never used to refer to things. Thisrule also applies to organizations, but it's a common mistake touse whoin such contexts: √ Firefighters had to help a man whowas trapped in the car.

Accordingly, what is difference between which and that?

To start with, we use “that” when we referto people, animals, and things. We use “which” when werefer to animals and things. However, the main differencebetween both depends on the clause. If the clause isrestrictive, you need to use the relative pronoun that, without it,the meaning would be unclear.

Which is why meaning?

In that is why, that is a demonstrative pronoun. Inwhich is why, which is a relative pronoun. That in that is why isusually the subject of a sentence or a clause that can stand alone:I want to be involved in town government, and that is why I'mrunning for mayor.

Related Question Answers

Jamal Matarredona

Professional

Do we put comma before Which?

You don't need to use a comma beforewhich when it introduces a question. But when a sentencecontains an indirect question, which might not be the first word.Either way, you don't need to put a commabefore it.

Nazarena Fagulha

Professional

Can you start a sentence with which?

An Alternative to a Standalone “Which”Clause
An easy way to achieve this is to end thesentence before the “which” clause, add aperiod, and then start a new sentence with“That” or another word that refers back to the previoussentence. An example will help!

Nefertari Ament

Professional

Can which and that be used interchangeably?

These two words are often used interchangeably,even though they're not necessarily interchangeable.Historically, that and which may have carried the same meaning, andsome English dialects may allow for that and which to be swappedwithout affecting the meaning of a sentence.

Anuncia Macarro

Explainer

Which of these singular or plural?

Everything else is the same. For example, bothDemonstrative Ajectives and Pronouns use the wordTHIS (singular) to talk about something that is closeto you and the plural of THIS isTHESE.

Diamela Lohofener

Explainer

When can I use to or for?

Use “a” before words that start witha consonant sound and “an” before words that start witha vowel sound. Other letters can also be pronounced eitherway. Just remember it is the sound that governs whether youuse “a” or “an,” not the actualfirst letter of the word.

Dimitry Rom

Explainer

What the difference between using at or in?

Use to + verb is a regular verb and meanssomething that happened but doesn't happen any more. It uses-ed to show past tense. But since it always means something thathappened in the past, it should always use pasttense. For example- I used to go to school inParis.

Boujama Zitzlsperger

Pundit

Do I use that or which?

When deciding whether to use is or are, look atwhether the noun is plural or singular. If the noun is singular,use is. If it is plural or there is more than one noun,use are. The cat is eating all of his food.

Leonardus Socastro

Pundit

What is the difference between which and that in relative clauses?

There is a difference in use. Relativeclauses—the sort of clause you use, “whichis blue” / “that is blue”, which tells ussomething more about the noun referred to by which orthat—are of two sorts: restrictive and nonrestrictive. Anonrestrictive clause adds information about the noun itmodifies.

Iola Aretz

Pundit

Is it in or at school?

At school means the person is literally,physically, inside the school. “He's at school.In school means the person is studying in general (usuallyat college or university) but not necessarily inside theschool building at that moment.

Mariangela Garvi

Pundit

How do you use which in a sentence?

Use that for things and, informally, for people.Sometimes, you need a comma before which and who. The rule is this:If the information added by the who or which clause is justadditional information (i.e., it's not essential to identifyanother word in the sentence), then you should offset theclause with commas.

Alodia Weichelt

Pundit

How do you differentiate between this and that?

'This' can be used to refer to something which is justmentioned. Conversely, 'that' refers to something which ispreviously mentioned or implied. The plural form of the this is'these', whereas 'those' is the plural form of that.

Felicitas Eltz

Teacher

How do you use who?

Whom should be used to refer to the object of a verb orpreposition. When in doubt, try this simple trick: If you canreplace the word with “he”' or “'she,”use who. If you can replace it with “him” or“her,” use whom. Who should be used to refer tothe subject of a sentence.

Placer Menditegui

Teacher

Which is correct all is or all are?

Both forms are correct, but have slightlydifferent meanings/contexts. The first is correct if"all" refers to "everything" (singular); the second iscorrect if "all" refers to an implied concrete set ofthings, as in "all (the widgets) are good".

Waqas Plessis

Teacher

Who or that in a sentence?

Rule: Who refers to people. That may refer to people,animals, groups, or things, but who is preferred when referring topeople. Example: Anya is the one who rescued the bird. NOTE: WhileAnya is the one that rescued the bird is also correct, who ispreferred.

Leoncia Tomashev

Teacher

Is selected or was selected?

Both adjectives mean, “chosen from a larger numberof other things.” However, a useful distinction existsbetween selected and select. This adjective indicatesthat something has been chosen or picked out from a larger number;the reason for the selection is usually made clear by thecontext.

Yannick Castillo Olivares

Reviewer

Is when a relative pronoun?

The most common relative pronouns are who, whom,whose, which, and that. Sometimes when and where can be used asrelative pronouns as well.

Venancia Mehlman

Reviewer

Is inbetween all one word?

In between should always appear as twowords. Although inbetween is common, it is amisspelling and does not appear in any English dictionary.Unnecessarily adding in to between is also a common grammaticalmistake. As a compound adjective, in-between should behyphenated.

Gurdip Schwalt

Reviewer

Where do we use in and on?

The correct use of "is" and "are" are determinedby the number (singular or plural) of the noun or pronoun beingused. "Is" is used with the singular, "are" isused with the plural. He is going to the store. They aregoing to the store.

Rajae Barwasser

Reviewer

Who or that for a person?

Specifically, I would say that it is fine to use either"that" or "who", but "who" can only be used to refer topeople, while "that" refers to things and people. Oneshould favour the word "who", if they want to clarify that it is aperson, and not a thing, that they are talkingabout.