B1 Exercise – What vs. Which

free 3 minute English lesson

Which vs. What

When do I use “Which” or “What” as the first word in a question?

When you look up “which” and “what” in a German dictionary, you will see both words translate to “welcher/welche/welches”.  So how do they differ in meaning? Which word do I use when? (Sorry, I had to use the word “which”.)

Explanations with examples for “which”:

We use “which” ONLY when there is a known choice available. There can be 2 or 20: the number of choices doesn’t matter but they often can be seen.

Example 1:

Situation: You are standing in front of a shop window and can see 2 cameras:  You ask your friend: “Which camera do you like”?  In this case, there is a limited number of choices and they can be seen.

Photographer Annie Spratt

Example 2:

Which dress do you like better?  This one or that one?

Example 3:

Here’s one from the Internet (2016):

Which Premier League Manager is facing the biggest headache?

Explanations with examples for “what” and “what kind of”:

We use “What?” or “What kind of” when we ask a general open question without any specific choices known.  In the answer, you may think of several different choices, but none of these choices have been specified to you in the question. 

Example 1:

Situation: Imagine you are at someone’s home as a guest and they ask: “What would you like to drink?”  You can not see the choices so you ask in return: “What do you have?” or “What’s easy?”

Examples 2 & 3

Situation: You want to learn more about someone and their preferences. You ask:

“What kind of apples do you like?”

(There are many “kinds” or “varieties” of apples but no specific variety has been specified in the question.)

Example 3

What is your favorite color?

(Again – a very open, general question to find out someone’s tastes.)

Let’s see now if you can complete the following quick practice exercise.

Quick Practice Exercise: Which vs. What

Fill in the blank with “which” or “what”.  (Answers provided below).

1. _________ time is it?  
2. _________ meeting would you like to attend – the morning or afternoon one?
3. ________ did they say about your report? Did they like it?
4. Can you tell me _________ is the correct answer, please?  
5. __________ contestant do you think will win?  

 

Answers to Practice 1 Exercise: Which vs. What

  1. What
  2. Which
  3. What
  4. what or which (what – if asking in general: which – if you can see 2 or more choices)
  5. Which (there are a number of contestants you have seen perform)

 

Quick Practice 2  Exercise: What vs. What kind of

Fill in the blank with “which” or “what”.  (Answers provided below).

1. _________ is your favorite number?  
2. _________ home would you prefer to live in: an apartment or a house?
3. ________ city has the tallest building?
4. Can you tell me _________ you would like to do now?  I am completely out of ideas.
5. __________ car do you have?  There are three more people who need a ride.  Is it big enough for us all?  
 

Answers to Practice 2 Exercise: What vs. What kind of

  1. What
  2. What kind of
  3. What
  4. what 
  5. What kind of

The creative commons license photographs used on this page were just two from thousands of talented photographers showcased on a Canadian venture called Upsplash. To view their collection, please check out: Upsplash.com

 

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Car Talk Radio

General English video grammar exercise

 

Car was tips car talk This is a show that is so dear to my heart.  I remember listening to this program while driving my first car on the weekends in Boston.  It always made me laugh out loud, and by the way, this was way before the term “LOL” was born!

For those of you who might have a strong interest in the car faults, mysterious noises, basic car mechanics, or are just “petrol heads,” who know when to laugh at a situation, or who like to solve puzzles, the Boston accent and/or a combination of all that in one!…I can highly recommend reviewing their podcasts and show highlights. 

Here’s a sample podcast from the series:

http://www.cartalk.com/player5/player.php?a=show

 

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B1/B2 Movie Review of Red Army – Directed by Gabe Polsky

5 minute general English exercise for free

Red Army: Ice Cold or Lovingly Warm?

[Gabe Polsky Zurich Film Festival 

Saying goodbye to Gabe Polsky who leaves Zurich.

 

Red Army” – when someone says these two words to a Westerner, it could immediately conjure up stereotypical thoughts of the Cold War and Communism.  Would it really be a movie you would expect to touch you deeply, no matter where in the world you are from?  Well, ladies and gentlemen, you should expect that because it does exactly that and much, much more.

“Red Army” recounts the history of the Soviet Union’s famous ice hockey team and some of its individual players from the years of the Cold War in the 1980’s to the Perestroika era of the 1990’s, through the viewpoint of the team captain and ice hockey hero, “Slava” Fetisov.  We learn how these historical changes personally affected his life, career and friendships in both favorable and unfavorable ways.

The film director and writer, Gabe Polsky, a passionate fan of the genius passing style of Russian ice hockey, digs deep into the story of his favorite team to learn more about them.  On the way, he discovers and reveals to the audience, a very powerful story of a man who stands by his convictions and who we come to respect and admire.

Ice cold or lovingly warm? There’s definitely ice in ice hockey. However, it certainly also has the power to have a profound effect on your understanding of the Russian people and the Russian soul.

(All hyperlinks set to: https://www.linguee.de/ to support German speakers in their English language learning.)

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