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  1. sam r
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    #1

    What/Which

    Can 'what' replace 'which' in "Which newspaper do you read?"?

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    #2

    Re: What/Which

    Yes, but there is a difference. "What" is broader than "which". "Which," in a question like this, usually means "Which one". "What" more often means "What kind of". Here are some examples:

    "Which newspapers do you read?" "I read the Houston Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal." (But not the New York Times, The Guardian, etc.)
    "Which scones would you like for breakfast?" "I'd like the ones second and third from the front, please." (But not one of the other kinds on the plate.)
    "Which girl would you like to date?" "The one in the red dress." (But not one of the other girls in the room.)

    "What newspapers do you read?" "Newspapers about business and the stock market." (= what kind of newspapers)
    "What scones would you like for breakfast?" "Please make blueberry scones, they're my favorite."
    "What girl would you like to date?" "One who is intelligent and sweet and pretty."
    Last edited by Speedwell; 17-Feb-2009 at 21:10. Reason: Stupid . and " switch still throws me sometimes. Plus proofreading. Proofreading is important.


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    #3

    Re: What/Which

    You use 'which' when you give the person a list from which they choose. You can either name the selection, or have them displayed.

    When you ask, "What magazines do you read?"
    you are asking the person tell you the names, from all the published magazines in the world, that he actually reads.

    "Which newspapers do you read?" "I read the Houston Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal." (But not the New York Times, The Guardian, etc.) NO - IT SHOULD BE 'WHAT'

    "Which scones would you like for breakfast?" "I'd like the ones second and third from the front, please." (But not one of the other kinds on the plate.) CORRECT. THE ITEMS ARE DISPLAYED, AND HE MUST MAKE A CHOICE FROM THE SCONES.
    "Which girl would you like to date?" "The one in the red dress." (But not one of the other girls in the room.) CORRECT. HE IS CHOOSING FROM THE GIRLS IN THE ROOM.

    "What newspapers do you read?" "Newspapers about business and the stock market." (= what kind of newspapers) CORRECT
    "What scones would you like for breakfast?" "Please make blueberry scones, they're my favorite." CORRECT. THE SCONES ARE TO BE MADE, AND NO SELECTION FROM WHICH HE SHOULD CHOOSE IS GIVEN.
    "What girl would you like to date?" "One who is intelligent and sweet and pretty." CORRECT - though better expressed as 'what kind of girl...'

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    #4

    Re: What/Which

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    When you ask, "What magazines do you read?"...NO - IT SHOULD BE 'WHAT'
    No, sir. "Which" means "Which one/ones". "What" means "What kind/kinds."

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    #5

    Re: What/Which

    Quote Originally Posted by sam r View Post
    Can 'what' replace 'which' in "Which newspaper do you read?"?
    Yes.


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    #6

    Re: What/Which

    When you ask, "What magazines do you read?"...NO - IT SHOULD BE 'WHAT'
    No, sir. "Which" means "Which one/ones". "What" means "What kind/kinds."


    It doesn't 'mean' that - it is obviously implied. You can only ask 'what kind of' if the choice is absolutely completely open.
    'Which one/ones' implies, 'which one of these that I'm showing you/that I've just named.

  3. Offroad's Avatar
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    #7

    Smile Re: What/Which

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedwell View Post
    No, sir. "Which" means "Which one/ones". "What" means "What kind/kinds."
    I think it could be 'which' whether you are buying magazines on a book store, for example. I mean, the items are displayed. I agree with David.

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    #8

    Re: What/Which

    You first. WikiAnswers doesn't count.

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    #9

    Smile Re: What/Which

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedwell View Post
    You first. WikiAnswers doesn't count.
    pardon??


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    #10

    Re: What/Which

    You first. WikiAnswers doesn't count.

    Ah. The difference between such sites, and this forum, is that there are people in this forum like Barb and Suzie, and a couple of others who have just come on board, backed up by Moderators who (I trust) would ensure that the best advice on English grammar and expression is offered.

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