To ask what or which in Spanish we use qué and cuál respectively.
Learn about qué + verb in Spanish
We use qué followed by a verb when we are asking something "general". For example:
Possible answers to this could be, for example:
Quiero tomar un café.
I want to have a coffee.
Quiero churros con chocolate.
I want churros with chocolate.
We also use qué with the verb ser or significar seeking a "definition". For example:
The answers to these questions imply some sort of definition.
Learn about cuál + verb in Spanish
We use cuál followed by a verb when we select something from a pre-defined group. For example:
Two people talking about flowers:
Two people in front of a stall selling bracelets:
Two people choosing which film to watch (from a selection):
The plural of cuál
The plural of cuál is cuáles. If we are selecting something that is a plural noun or selecting more than one thing out of a group, we use the plural cuáles and use the verb in plural:
Looking at different items in a shop:
We are selecting here something that is plural (tomates, gafas) out of a selection that we see in front of us.
The difference between asking with qué and asking with cuál/cuáles is that the latter is asking about something specific from a predetermined group of items. Qué is for general questions where there is no predefined selection. Here are two simple contrasting examples:
What do you need? [in general]
Which one do you need? [specific, from a selection of predefined items]
Both qué and cuál are used here as interrogatives, so they always need the written accent: ¿qué...? ¿cuál...?
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