Wordwise 126 A2854

What vs. Which - When to use these?

  • 2012.01.31

This is a really common question, but not one that native speakers spend much time thinking about.
Look at the following questions:

1)     What book are you reading?  Or  2) Which book are you reading? 

Both questions are grammatically correct; however, there is a slight difference in meaning.

When you have no idea about any details, you will say what.
If you have some idea that the person is reading three books now, then you would say, “Which book are you reading now?”
Also, when there are a limited number of choices you will use which.

これは本当によくある質問です。 でもネイティブスピーカーは、この質問について特に意識してはいません。


1)    何の本を読んでいるの? もしくは、 2)どの本を読んでいるの?


もしあなたが、その人が本を3冊読んでいるということを知っている場合は、“Which book are you reading now?” 「どの本を読んでいるの?」と、言います。また、選択肢に限りがある場合もwhichを使います。