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Which and What: Easy Difference

Which and What: Easy Difference

Most of the time, what or which can be confused and inevitably get annoying. So, what is the exact difference and when should one or the other be used?


Which vs. What


Find out when to use what vs. which in different situations.

1. How to use "which"?

We use "which" when we have a limited choice of things, example:

  • Which lemonade do you like – green or pink?
  • That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
  • Straws show which way the wind blows.
  • Only that which is honestly got is gain.
  • Avoid the ford on which your friend was drowned.
  • The exception which proves the rule.
  • Riligion converts despair, which destroys, into resignation, which submits.
  • That is not good language which all understand not.
  • A straw shows which way the wind blows.
  • That which is evil is soon learnt. 

2. How to use "what"?

We use "what" when we have no choice, example:

  • What lemonade do you like?
  • What is not wisdom is danger.
  • We see not what is in the wallet behind.
  • What makes life dreary is the want of motive.
  • What I have done is due to patient thought.
  • Never trust another what you should do yourself.
  • What goes up must come down. Isaac Newton
  • Sickness shows us what we are.
  • What the king wills, that the law wills.
  • What is known to three is known to everybody.

Which vs. what: Note


With nouns that refer to people, "which" is sometimes used even if there is an unlimited choice. Often it is possible to use which or what as in the following example: 

  • What is the largest country in the world?
  • Which is the largest country in the world? 

But if you choose something from a group of things, or a number you see, such as:

  • Here are three apples. Which would you like?

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