# Thread: the difference between how and what

1. ## the difference between how and what

Hi! I'm now an English teacher in Taiwan. Here is a sentence like the following: A: ________ the price of that table? B: It's very expensive.
The answer is "What's",but some students asked me why not "How's". It simply beats me. I hope people who answer the question can make more sentences. Thanks a lot!

2. ## Re: the difference between how and what

Originally Posted by s1421466
Hi! I'm now an English teacher in Taiwan. Here is a sentence like the following: A: ________ the price of that table? B: It's very expensive.
The answer is "What's",but some students asked me why not "How's". It simply beats me. I hope people who answer the question can make more sentences. Thanks a lot!
You could tell your students that "What is the price" is correct, and if they want to propose "How is the price", it is up to them to come up with a reason.
"What" is correct here simply because that's what we say in English.

No doubt there's a more sophisticated answer, such as:
"How" means "in what manner", which is a qualitative issue, whereas "What is the price?" calls for a quantitative response.
You can say "How's the price?", meaning "Is it too expensive? Can we afford it?". (In that sense, your students could be right without knowing it - or maybe they understand it, but can't explain it).
But if you just want to know what the price is, you say "What is the price?" You can also say "Where's the price on that table" if you can't find the price tag.
It depends entirely on what meaning you intend.

3. ## Re: the difference between how and what

How do you make a chocolate cake? (manner/method.)

How can I multiply numbers without a calculator? (manner/method.)

What
is often used when enquiring about specific information.

What is wrong with you? (What is the problem?)

What are you doing tonight? (What are your plans?)

However we can use how when enquiring about a price (but not how is).

What's the price = How much

How much is that table?

I am not a teacher.

4. ## Re: the difference between how and what

Originally Posted by s1421466
Hi! I'm now an English teacher in Taiwan. Here is a sentence like the following: A: ________ the price of that table? B: It's very expensive.
The answer is "What's",but some students asked me why not "How's". It simply beats me. I hope people who answer the question can make more sentences. Thanks a lot!
Thank you for your kind and clear replies. ^^"

5. ## Re: the difference between how and what

isn't "how" the same as ''the way you do something''? it simply don't fit the sentence.
how are you doing? = what's the way that you are doing?
just a student

6. ## Re: the difference between how and what

Originally Posted by jctgf
isn't "how" the same as ''the way you do something''? it simply don't fit the sentence.
how are you doing? = what's the way that you are doing?
just a student
That's one way you can use "how".
Here's another:
"How's the weather today?"
So, it can also be used to mean "the way something is", as in:
"How's the price?" (said by a person who is buying something with you). That is: "Is it too high; is it reasonable; can we afford it, etc."
You don't ask the seller "How's the price?" You say "How much is it?"

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