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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B2 Reading Exercise – Mendocino – north of San Francisco, California

free 3 minute English lesson

 

Mendocino Rock

“In California, I really appreciated Mendocino“, says Sophie Sainte-Marie, the Swiss traveler about her trip last year. “(It’s) a little and peaceful city in the north of San Francisco.

 

 

The sunset above the ocean from the rock was stupendous; you can stay a long time their and simply admire the view. The houses with a “New England” style and their beautiful gardens were delightful!”

Sophie also got to jog along the Big River. “(It) is really a beautiful experience and makes you feel a little bit like an adventurer. Very nice landscape and colors. A good place to refuel!”

She and her partner stayed at the guesthouse, Nicholson House Inn, where she says they were ” welcoming and (they) really appreciated their home-made scones at breakfast!”

“I won’t forget this place and atmosphere.”

So maybe the next time you head to California, you may consider stopping by this enchanting town.  It definitely looks worth it.

 

Quick Lesson before you go away on holiday?

Know the difference between editing and proofreading

Boston School proofreading

A number of English students over the years have asked: What’s the difference between editing and proofreading? A few at a higher level will also ask what’s copy editing?

A quick Google search of “types of editing” shows confusion because blogs tend to overuse the word “editor” and a lot more!

Here are three terms you may come across.  Do you know the difference between them?

  1. Editing
  2. Copy editing
  3. Proofreading

Editing

When editing, an editor makes improvements to how the text reads.  This can include changes to the layout, sentence structure or paragraph order. Adding or deleting words or text to refine the story told will improve readability and clarify the message the writer wants to convey.  It is also not uncommon due to word count limits, copy editors can cut text out like a surgeon, making big cuts to your text.

Copy Editing

Copy editing may be required after editing has been completed to make sure the final copy is completely perfect.  Some proofreading including additional spelling or grammar error corrections may be made.  However, no large cuts should be expected in this step. 

Proofreading

Proofreading takes the nearly finished letter, assignment or homework and places it under a microscope. It is a step which removes jargon, ensures correct use of punctuation and confirms you have the correct structure and explanations of arguments in your document. Proofreading occurs nearly writing review step of the process: editing, copy editing and for a very last check before publishing any text.

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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

 

Free English 10 Minute exercise

Interview with John Nassif

 Listen to an interview with my brother, John, and hear him play his harmonica.  Try and see if you can answer these questions after you have listened to the podcast – interview What instrument did John first learn how to play and when? What two factors played a key role in his choosing to play the

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