Do you want to finally stop do mistakes and asking your friends ¿Qué es tu dirección? rather of ¿Cuál es tu dirección? due to the fact that you always translate “what” in English into qué in

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When i teach a new intermediate group, I constantly wonder who is going come ask an initial about cuál vs qué. It’s certainly a topic the you have to study if you want to take your come the next level.

Today, I’ll present you three instances in which you’ll encounter the cuál vs qué dilemma, as well together the differences in between native Spain and indigenous Latin America as far as cuál vs qué is concerned.

You’ll be able to apply the rules in a short exercise, and I’ll tell you exactly how to store practicing after ~ you finish reading. Stop go!

The Confusing aspect of “What” vs “Which”

You more than likely spent the an initial months of researching discovering that cuál means “which” and qué means “what,” right? however cuál vs qué is not constantly that simple.

Imagine you just met a new friend and also you desire to add him to your Whatsapp contacts and also you desire to know what his call number is. “What’s her number?”, you’d say in English. And also in ¿Qué es tu número? Actually, ¿cuál es tu número? is the correct question.

Why? ns promise there’s an explanation. Return you could be surprised best now, don’t worry. I’ll overview you v the rules the govern this area that grammar, and you’ll watch that it’s simpler than girlfriend think.

Cuál vs Qué – rule to Remember

Cuál vs qué is not an overwhelming when you avoid for a moment to analysis the provides of these two concern words. I promise that after some time, you’ll use both of castle correctly, in an automatic way.

I’m walking to describe three instances in i m sorry we can talk about cuál vs qué. In each one of them, I’ll show you how to decision which one is the correct option. You’ll also get to recognize the grammar build that have to be used in every of the situations.

1. Requesting Information

If you’re requesting information you have to ask yourself what you room asking about. Carry out you require a an interpretation or space you asking for someone’s name?

questioning For a an interpretation / an interpretation – ¿Qué es…?

It’s a concern you ask plenty of times when you start finding out a language and also need to recognize the an interpretation or definition.

¿Qué es “perro”?What is “perro”?

¿Qué es “el subjuntivo”?What is el subjuntivo?

You can also use this construction to ask thoughtful questions such as ¿qué es la felicidad? (What is (the an interpretation of) happiness?)

For example:

¿Qué es “redundancia” en Inglés?What is “redundancia” in English? (What’s the meaning?)

¿Qué es el amor?What is love? (Asking for a definition)

questioning for a name/identity – ¿Cuál es…?

To ask. “What is the common music of Guatemala?”, you will do it say in ¿Cuál es la música típica de Guatemala? You’re not asking because that a an interpretation or meaning here, favor in the ahead case, but rather expecting a concrete name.

“What’s your name?” Don’t even think that translating it with qué! The correct inquiry is ¿Cuál es tu nombre?

As you have the right to see in both situations, as soon as requesting information, cuál vs qué deserve to be a problem if you store translating “which” and “what” right into English.

In the situation we’re talking about, both qué and cuál analyze into “what.” Therefore, think twice. Perform you require a meaning (qué) or a surname (cuál)?

2. Choosing an element From a Group

You’re just around to walk shopping for some delicious ingredients because that lunch, and also your girlfriend is asking you, ¿Qué compraremos? (What room we going come buy?) Then, inside the shop, after your basket is virtually full, friend grab two species of juice and also ask, ¿Cuál quieres? (Which execute you want?).

What’s the difference?

Heterogeneous, Infinite team – ¿Qué + verb?

The first group is heterogeneous, varied in character and also content, and infinite. You are in theory choosing from a group yet the team is huge, there space endless feasible options. It’s choose an open up question in one exam:

¿Qué comen los osos?What carry out bears eat?

You’ll additionally use it v all kinds of verb if there isn’t a plainly defined collection of choices in former of you.

¿Qué hiciste el fin de semana?What go you do on the weekend?

¿Qué quieres hacer?What do you desire to do?

¿Qué comiste?What did you eat?

In all the above questions, the prize is challenging to guess since there are many possible options.


Homogeneous, Finite team –¿Cuál + verb?

If friend ask ¿Cuál quieres? (Which one carry out you want?), girlfriend are giving a specific set of alternatives for the other person. In this case, translations work. If girlfriend feel prefer asking “which one” in English v a conjugated verb, you’ll constantly use cuál.

The other human being knows the choices because they watch them or you stated them before.

Tengo tres panecitos diferentes. ¿Cuál quieres?I have actually three different pastries. I m sorry one do you want?

¿Cuál compramos? ¿Éste o aquel?Which one execute we buy? This one or that one?

If ns told you in the previous suggest that you can compare inquiries with qué to open questions during an exam, the questions with cuál in this situation are favor a many choice.

Now, remember the cuál has a plural form (cuáles), so if the answer would be an ext than one thing, you must ask cuáles instead of cuál.

¿Cuáles prefieres? ¿Estos o aquellos?Which ones perform you prefer? this or those?

clock out! – ¿Cuál + noun?

Although most textbooks will certainly tell girlfriend something totally opposite, girlfriend can likewise use cuál with a noun to ask someone to pick an object.

It’s thought about incorrect in Castellano but accepted in Latin America. You have the right to read more in Diccionario panhispánico de dudas around this certain use.

So having a minimal set the choices, for example in Mexico, you can ask:

¿Cuál helado quieres? El de fresa o de chocolate?Which ice cream cream perform you want? The strawberry or coco one?

Cuál de / Cuáles de

In, girlfriend can also use cuál de or cuáles de when talking about choices. The preposition de introduce the team from i m sorry you space going to make a choice.

¿Cuál de estas pinturas te gustó más?Which among these paints did you choose the most?

Watch out, since if you confused cuál v qué here, you’ll be asking about something totally different. Look:

¿Qué de estas pinturas car gustó más?What (aspect) of these paints did you favor the most?

So, you’re no asking someone to make a choice but come tell friend about particular characteristics within the group.

3. Asking around Objects

This usage is comparable to the vault one, yet you’ll usage it to ask questions around objects. You will do it ask the other human not to select one thing but to give more information about it.

Asking around unknown objects – ¿Qué + noun?

In Spain, together I discussed before, the combination with a noun is only feasible with qué. And we will usage it to ask questions around objects we don’t know, or don’t check out in prior of united state at the minute of speaking.

Therefore, you will do it ask:

¿Qué coche es mejor?Which vehicle is better?

¿Qué perfume huele mejor?Which perfume smells better?

Asking around objects we know or see – ¿Cuál +verb?

You’re again in ~ the supermarket questioning the shop assistant about items that attention you, and also both that you room looking in ~ the products:

¿Cuál cuesta menos?Which one prices less?

¿Cuál tiene menos calorías?Which has actually fewer calories?

¿Cuál contiene menos azúcar?Which contains less sugar?

Asking about objects we understand or see in Latin América- ¿Cuál + noun?

Just together in the previous case when we have to select from a group, in Latin America, you can likewise use cuál + noun to ask more information about objects:

¿Cuál cacao se ve más rico?Which coco looks richer?

¿Cuáles playas son más limpias? ¿Las del sur o del norte?Which beaches are the cleanest? The ones in the south or the north?

Cuál vs Qué summary Chart

Do you want to view if you acquired it? just remember:

Requesting Information
Meaning/Definition qué esName/Identity cuál es
Choosing an element From a Group
Heterogeneous, infinite group qué + verbHomogeneous, finite team cuál/cuáles + verb cuál/cuáles + noun (Latin Am.) cuál/cuáles de
Asking Information around Objects
Asking around unknown objects qué + nounAsking about known objects cuál + verb cuál/cuáles + noun (Latin Am.)

Check your understanding with the complying with exercises:

¿Qué, cuál, or cuáles?

¿________ es tu pintor favorito?¿________ tipo de libros prefieres?¿________ es tu opinión sobre la película?¿________ pasatiempos tienes?¿________ es tu número de teléfono?¿________ es un satélite?¿________ de estos colores te gustan?¿________ es su moto, aquella?¿________ piensas sobre la comida peruana?¿________ de estos cantantes es mejor?¿________ transporte usas para ir a la escuela?¿________ es el coche ideal?¿________ boy tus esculturas, estas o esas?¿________ quieres hacer el fin de semana?¿________ es la diferencia?

Click below for the translation of the questions and the price key.

Keep Practicing

Congratulations, you simply finished studying a an overwhelming topic. If you want a more general an introduction of the rules, girlfriend can discover it in our article, how to pamper yourself in

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Cuál vs qué can provoke headaches if girlfriend don’t understand the rules and try to interpret every sentence to English. But this is not the instance for girlfriend anymore! Now, the time come practice and also move your skills to the following level. Sign up because that a totally free class and also practice cuál vs qué with one of our skilled native-speaking teachers from Guatemala.