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Which vs What: 10 Key Grammar Rules Explained


The Basic Principle behind ‘Which vs What’

You ask about identifying differences between ‘which’ and ‘what’? Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, buckle up, for we’re going on a simple yet insightful grammar ride. ‘Which’ and ‘what’ are, by no means, words to be terrified of.

To puzzle out the mystery, let’s start with the ‘which vs what’ scenario. Think about it like selecting an ‘ape stock‘ out of a pile, you need to pick the right one for investment – ‘Which’ of these is the suitable investment for you? You’re wondering what ‘ape stock’ is! See how ‘what’ came into play? ‘Which’ is frequently used for predetermined choices, and ‘what’ mostly comes to picture when the range of answers is loosely defined.

The Practical Application of ‘Which vs What’ in Conversation

Grammar isn’t some lofty concept; it’s right here when we chat about luggage straps. Suppose you are entering a store, and you encounter a bounty of luggage straps You might ask the shop assistant: “Which of these luggage straps is most durable?” but if you saw a unique luggage strap on display, you might say: “What is this luggage strap made of?”

You see, this ‘which vs what’ challenge isn’t as formidable as you might have imagined.

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“What” “Which”
Meaning Primarily used to ask questions about a non-defined set of items. Often refers to predefined or implied sets of items and is used when choosing out of set options.
Usage in Questions “What is your favorite book?” (The range of answers is wide and unlimited). “Which is your favorite, Book A or Book B?” (The range of answers is restricted, in this case to two options).
Usage with Clauses The clause that comes after “that” or “what” is essential to the meaning of the sentence e.g., “I forgot what she told me.” If you could drop the clause and leave the meaning of the sentence intact, you use “which” e.g., “My laptop, which I bought last year, is already broken.”
Interchangeability “What” and “Which” can often be used interchangeably, but always consider the context. “Which” and “What” can often be used interchangeably, but “Which” is more appropriate when the set of choices is well defined.
Date Mentioned Nov 26, 2018 Apr 2, 2023

Unfolding the Grammatical Intricacies: ‘On vs In’

Next stop on this grammar coaster, the tricky terrain of ‘on vs in’.

Consider ‘on’ and ‘in’ as GPS markers. ‘On’ typically denotes a surface or date, while ‘in’ indicates something less precise, like a duration. Got a mortgage repayment due? You’d say “The payment is due on July 20th”. But if talking about time, as in, how long it will take to repay the mortgage, you’d go “I’ll repay the mortgage in 5 years.”

Beyond the Surface: Deep Dive into ‘On vs In’

Here’s more; these small words have an erratic side as well.

While ‘on’ typically refers to a day, it can also refer to a particular part within that day. You might say, “I took out a mortgage on a Monday morning.” Meanwhile, ‘in’ can sometimes denote a specific location. Like, “My mortgage documents are in the top drawer.” These seemingly complicating instances are actually the juicy parts that enrich our language.

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Dissecting the Conundrum: ‘Rather Than’ or ‘Then’

Moving on to the enigma that is ‘rather than or then’.

Proper English is not just about your accent but rather about usage accuracy. Got that? ‘Rather than’ is for comparisons and alternatives, while ‘then’ is for sequencing events or indicating time. If you are debating between a fixed and an adjustable mortgage, you’d say “I’d rather have a fixed than an adjustable mortgage”. But if you say, “I’ll apply for the mortgage first, then I will look for a home”, ‘then’ is suddenly in play.

Demystifying the Puzzle: Deep Analysis on ‘Rather Than or Then’

However, making sense of ‘rather than or then’ has its set of speed bumps.

You might say, “I’d rather find a good mortgage rate than losing sleep over it” or “Get the loan approved, then you can put it down on me” Here, your ‘rather than’ is your preferred choice between two options, and ‘then’ is about the sequence of events. But the use of ‘then’ can get a bit fuzzy. For instance, “If that’s the mortgage rate, then I’d rather go for another option”. Here, ‘then’ isn’t about sequence but is used to mean ‘in that case’.

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Exploring the Interconnection: ‘Which vs What’, ‘On vs In’, ‘Rather Than or Then’

What’s fascinating here is how these pairs ‘which vs what’, ‘on vs in’, ‘rather than or then’ communicate a synchrony of complexity in English grammar.

For instance, in the sentence, “Which of these loan options do I pick rather than suffer from hidden fees?”, you can see a mashup of ‘which’ and ‘rather than’. And how about, “What is the interest of a loan taken out on December, then repaid in full March?”. Here, ‘what’, ‘on’ and ‘then’ join hands brilliantly.

Practical Tips and Tricks for Remembering the Use of ‘Which vs What’, ‘On vs In’, ‘Rather Than or Then

Let me share some clever tricks to remember these pairs better. No, we won’t suggest knitting these into a blanket.

Use the acronym “PRO” for ‘which vs what’: Pre-defined choice for ‘which’ and Ranged options for ‘what’. For ‘on vs in’, picture a DATE as ON a calendar and TIME as IN a clock. To distinguish ‘rather than or then’, use the symbols > and =>. Imagine ‘rather than’ as > – a Greater Alternative, and ‘then’ as => to indicate sequence – Event Sequence.

Speed Bumps on the Way: Common Mistakes and Misconceptions

Despite these tricks, you might hit some bumps on your grammar ride.

For instance, “What luggage strap would you recommend?” might be a common question, but what if there are only two options available? You should be asking ‘which’ instead. Another is confusing ‘on’ and ‘in’ where you say something like, “I’ll pay the mortgage on six months”, when it should be ‘in’.

The Final Word: Unraveling the Grammar Knot

To tie everything together,

Remember, ‘which vs what’, ‘on vs in’, ‘rather than or then’ are the gears that keep language mechanics smooth. Much like a mortgage rate, you could view grammar as a fixed system with adjustable elements. Remember, language is a living entity; it keeps shifting and evolving. With these rules as your anchors, you’ll ride these grammatical waves with grace and confidence.

Fun fact: English is the third most spoken language by the total number of speakers worldwide. Imagine what a shared understanding of these grammar rules could mean for global communication!

Keep these simple principles in mind, and you’ll be more confident in your grasp of the English language, whether you’re just shooting the breeze or negotiating the complex terms of a mortgage. Always remember: practice is key. So keep speaking, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way. That’s how we grow, after all.

Because English grammar isn’t some insurmountable mountain. It’s a fascinating landscape just waiting to be explored. And with a bit of patience and perseverance, you’ll find that you’re more than capable of navigating it.

What is the difference between which and what?

So, you want to know what is the difference between ‘which’ and ‘what,’ eh? Well, the crux of the matter lies in their usage. ‘What’ is used when the choices are limitless, in an open-ended kind of way. ‘Which,’ on the other hand, is used when the options are limited.

Are which and what interchangeable?

Now, despise the common myth, ‘which’ and ‘what’ aren’t simply interchangeable. You see, ‘what’ is usually used in general questions whereas ‘which’ is used when there are specific choices involved.

How do you know when to use that or which?

When to use ‘that’ and ‘which’? Here’s the deal: ‘that’ specifies a particular thing in non-restrictive clauses whereas ‘which’ is used in restrictive clauses. To put it casually, if removing the clause changes the meaning, use ‘that’. If not, go with ‘which’.

What day or which day is correct?

‘What day’ or ‘which day’, you ask? Both are spot on, old chap! But it’s all in the context. Use ‘what day’ for a more general inquiry, and ‘which day’ when you’re referring to a specific set of days.

What you mean by which?

‘What you mean by which?’ That’s a common question! By ‘which,’ we’re referring to a specific item in a set or group. It works as a way to narrow down choices or possibilities.

How do you use from which in a sentence?

Using ‘From which’ in a sentence, ah? Here’s a quick and easy example: “This is the house from which I borrowed the cup of sugar.”

What vs which in relative clauses?

Relative clauses, huh? ‘What’ and ‘which’ in this case act as pronouns that introduce additional information about something mentioned in the sentence. ‘What’ used in restrictive clause that defines the noun. ‘Which’, on the other hand, identifies the noun in a descriptive, non-restrictive way.

Can that replace who and which?

Can ‘that’ replace ‘who’ and ‘which’? Heck, yes! But only sometimes. ‘That’ can replace ‘who’ when referring to people, and ‘which’ when referring to things, but only in restrictive clauses.

Do you use comma with Which?

Say, do we use a comma with ‘which’? Well, here’s the scoop: When ‘which’ is used to introduce a non-restrictive clause, we generally use a comma. No comma is needed when ‘which’ introduces restrictive clauses.

What are the 3 different there’s?

What are the three different ‘there’s?’ Aha, I see what you’re asking there! We have ‘there’ as an adverb indicating place or position, ‘there’ as a pronoun introducing a sentence or clause, and finally, ‘there’ as an adjective emphasizing which person.

What do we use what for?

What do we use ‘what’ for? Good question! We use ‘what’ to ask questions about specific things or to express surprise or disappointment.

What is the difference between what and that in a sentence?

The difference between ‘what’ and ‘that’ in a sentence? Well, ‘what’ is used in questions or exclamations, whereas ‘that’ is used to specify or point towards something in particular.

Which is correct 2 day or 2 days?

“2 day” or “2 days”, you ask? Easy peasy! ‘2 days’ is the grammatically correct version because it’s referring to more than one day.

How to ask what day is today?

How to ask ‘what day is today?’ Simple! You just nailed it. You can just ask “What day is it today?” or even “What’s today’s date?”

How do you say which day?

How do you say ‘which day?’ It’s a cinch – just like that! You might also ask “Which day of the week is it?” depending on the context.

What vs which in relative clauses?

Now, ‘what’ vs ‘which’ in relative clauses, again? As a refresher, ‘what’ is used in a general, non-defining sense to mean “the thing(s) that”, whereas ‘which’ is used in a specific, defining sense, and is usually preceded by a comma.

What is the difference between which is why and that is why?

Now, the difference between ‘which is why’ and ‘that is why’, here’s a fun fact: ‘which is why’ is a bit more formal and is often used when giving explanations or justifications, whereas ‘that is why’ is your everyday, informal phrasing.

How do you use two of which?

Lastly, using ‘two of which’ in a sentence like a pro? Righteo! Just use it like this: “I have three apples, two of which are red.” This means that out of your three apples, two are red.

Mortgage Rater Editorial, led by seasoned professionals with over 20 years of experience in the finance industry, offers comprehensive information on various financial topics. With the best Mortgage Rates, home finance, investments, home loans, FHA loans, VA loans, 30 Year Fixed rates, no-interest loans, and more. Dedicated to educating and empowering clients across the United States, the editorial team leverages their expertise to guide readers towards informed financial and mortgage decisions.
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