Which in Spanish

In the section on Spanish Questions Words, you learned all the important question-asking words in Spanish, like who? what? when? where? and why?

  • ¿quién? ¿qué? ¿cuándo? ¿dónde? ¿por qué?

One question word that you may have learned during the lesson but forgotten by the time you made it to this lesson is cual. The question ¿cuál? means which?

Cual is a useful word in Spanish … and not simply to ask questions.

Using Which? in Spanish

Usually, ¿cuál? means Which? Basically, you should use ¿cuál? whenever there is a choice for the person who is going to answer. However, you cannot use ¿cuál? before a noun. You must use ¿qué? instead.

Nevertheless, that still leaves plenty of opportunities to use ¿cuál? There are many questions where a verb rather than a noun follows the question word. Remember that ¿cuál? will becomes ¿cuáles? when the word to which it refers is plural.

Por ejemplo:

¿Cuál libro?

Which book?

¿Cuál es tu auto?

Which is your car?

¿Cuál le gusta más?

Which do you like best? (formal)

¿Cuáles? / ¿Cuáles son tuyos?

Which ones? / Which ones are yours?

¿Cuáles son los zapatos de Sara?

Which are Sarah's shoes?

Uses of Cual

Using Que for Which in Spanish

The word ¿qué? can sometimes mean which? This is because, even if you want to ask which? you cannot use the word ¿cuál? when a noun immediately follows. In these cases, the word ¿qué? takes on the meaning of which?

Por ejemplo:

¿Qué plato de comida te gusta más?

Which dish do you like most?

¿Qué automóvil estás manejando hoy?

Which car are you driving today?

¿Qué camisa le prestaste a tu amigo?

Which shirt did you lend to your friend?

¿Qué vino prefieres, un tinto o un blanco?

Which wine do you prefer, a red or a white?

Because grammatical rules are often bent or broken in usage, you may still hear native speakers using the word ¿cuál? in these circumstances.

When ¿Cuál? means What?

¿Cuál? can also mean What? in certain circumstances. When you are asking for information, such as a person’s name, telephone number, address, or a date, you will use ¿cuál? rather than ¿qué?

The most common instances of this use of ¿cuál? are:

¿Cuál es tu nombre?

What is your name?

¿Cuál es la fecha hoy?

What is the date today?

¿Cuál es tu número telefónico?

What is your telephone number?

¿Cuál es la dirección?

What is the address?

For more, make sure you check out the lesson on Spanish Question Words!