Cómo vs Qué

millert

millert

In the lessons (2.3 I think), it is stated to use cómo to say "what?" rather than "qué." In TV shows, etc. I always hear "qué" used. Can someone clarify.
nohablo

nohablo

[quo]*Quote from * millert In the lessons (2.3 I think), it is stated to use cómo to say "what?" rather than "qué." In TV shows, etc. I always hear "qué" used. Can someone clarify.[/quo] I assume you're referring to the use of "what?" to mean "what did you say? I didn't catch that." The most common way to ask that is *¿Cómo?*. *¿Qué?* is also used, especially in more informal situations. However, if you're trying to be polite or to impress someone, you're usually safer using *¿Cómo?*. In some circumstances, *¿Qué?* may come off as sounding a bit rude. BTW, in Mexico, people often say *¿Mande?* rather than *¿Cómo?*.
Gregorio

Gregorio

Here is what I found on spanish.about.com: Cómo meaning "what": Cómo is seldom used to mean "what," except as an interjection expressing incredulity. In some areas, ¿cómo? is used to ask someone to say something over again, although in some other areas it can be considered mildly rude .
nohablo

nohablo

Hi. I was talking only about *qué* and *cómo* as ways to ask "what did you say?" As Gerald Erichsen says (on about.com), *cómo* is not used to mean "what" except in that circumstance or to express indignation/astonishment. I'm surprised he says that "in some areas" *cómo* is considered rude as a way to ask "what did you say." Just about every book I've seen about Spanish suggests *cómo* as the best word to use, unless you're in Mexico, where you might instead use *mande*. I guess I'd simply say that in situations where *cómo* is considered rude, *qué* is likely to be seen as even more rude :D. Such circumstances might call for an _extremely _polite statement such as *Disculpe, podría repetir lo que dijo, por favor*. For what it's worth, the dictionary on WordReference.com offers a number of definitions of* cómo*, including this one: *(cuando no se ha oído bien) ¿cómo?, what? *. And in the WordReference forums, several people compared cómo and qué and offered comments such as the following three: "¿Qué?" is EXTREMELY informal, perhaps even incorrect. You might say it that way to a friend or close family member in casual conversation but it is more corect to say, "¿Como?" or better yet, "¿Mande?" I have heard people say, "¿Qué?????" as in "What the heck are you saying?" and mostly they are younger people saying it. ¿Cómo? seems to be the most common word. I also believe '¿Cómo?' is more adequate than '¿Qué?' unless in a very informal context, as it is short for '¿Cómo ha dicho/dijo?'
rodneyp

rodneyp

Interesting. I don't watch that much Spanish TV, so I really can't say anything about the use of qué in that regard. Do you know where these shows are produced and the ages of the people using "qué"? Personally, I've never heard a native speaker use it. As NoHablo said, in Mexico people use "¿Mande?". In fact, I frequent Baja California quite a bit, and I've never heard anyone use "cómo", except myself. _Everybody_ uses "mande". Keep in mind that things can change dramatically based on where you are. Spanish speakers born and raised in the US,or maybe the younger generation, might use "qué", while in Mexico it's "Mande" and in Colombia it's "cómo". My advice is to go with "cómo", you can't go wrong with that. You'll quickly pick up on what the "locals" use, so don't over think it.

Ask a question or a post a response

If you want to ask a question or post a response you need to be a member.

If you are already a member login here .
If you are not a member you can become one by taking the free Rocket Spanish trial here .