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Thread: "Que" or "Cual"

  1. #1
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    Default "Que" or "Cual"

    I find myself getting confused sometimes as to whether "Que" or "Cual" is the correct word for "What".

    Are there any rules or guidelines in determining which to use?

    Thanks


    Alsuta

  2. #2
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    Hi Alsuta,

    Two rules of thumb come to mind. The first is that the word "cuál" contains the sense of "which" as well as "what" - for example "¿cuál color te gusta más?", "Which colour do you like best?". The context would be a situation where you were choosing between a number of different colours in a paint shop, for example.

    The other rule is that we never say "¿Qué es ....?", but always "¿Cuál es ...?" So, therefore we say "Cuál es el problema?" "What's the problem?" and never "¿Qué es el problema?"

    Jane

  3. #3
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    Thanks Jane,

    I understand now why you would say,for example, "Cual es su nombre?"

    If you are being asked which snack you would like, would you use "Cual tapas quiere?" or "Que tapas quiere?"


    Alan

  4. #4
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    Hi! It would be ¿qué tapas quieres? or more strictly accurate ¿Qué tapa quieres? because "tapas" is really the plural of "tapa", although it's often used in the plural with a singular meaning.

    Jane

  5. #5
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    Is there any explanation then, Jane, as to why choosing between the various colours on offer in a paintshop is different from choosing between the various tapas on offer in a restaurant?
    Or is it just one of those things?
    Not trying to be difficult (just curious).

  6. #6
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    The explanation is that I made a mistake

    It should be ¿Qué color te gusta más? We can't put cual in front of a noun.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    Jane

  7. #7
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    Gracias, Juana. I had a very good teacher!

  8. #8
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    Hi Jane,

    There now seems to be three points to take on board:
    1, "Cual" has a sense of "which/choice".
    2, "Cual" cannot be used directly before a noun.
    3, "Que" is never used before "es" as in "Que es".

    Therefore an example of the uses might be:

    A says to B "Que helados tienes?" "Que" before noun.
    B says to A " Chocolate, cafe, fresa y limon. De cual quieres? "Cual" is used to mean "what one/which one" with only indirect reference to the original noun.

    This may not be gramatically correct,but am I now on the right lines?

    Alan

  9. #9
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    Hello Alan - if you're still around!

    I thought I'd finished answering this thread in November - whoops!

    I think the lines are right. You wouldn't put the "de" there - it would be "¿Cuál quieres?" or "¿Cuál de los sabores quieres?"

    Jane

  10. #10
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    Jane - I am sure you did reply in full but a month's supply of posts have been deleted by the latest hacker, apparently.

    So, not so "loca" after all!

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