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.
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?
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: