Using qué before a noun in indirect questions

In indirect questions, qué is placed in front of a noun meaning "what/which [noun]". Have a look at the following examples:

No sé qué coche voy a comprar.
I don't know which car I am going to buy.

Dime qué casa te gusta más.
Tell me which house you like the most.

Tienes que decidir qué vestidos vas a donar.
You have to decide which dresses you are going to donate.

No saben qué faldas son las más baratas.
They don't know which skirts are the cheapest.

Qué will always have a written accent in these cases. Notice how, referring to masculine, feminine, singular and plural nouns, qué doesn't change.

See also:

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

No saben qué faldas son las más baratas.
They don't know which skirts are the cheapest.


Dime qué casa te gusta más.
Tell me which house you like the most.


No sé qué coche voy a comprar.
I don't know which car I am going to buy.


Tienes que decidir qué vestidos vas a donar.
You have to decide which dresses you are going to donate.


Q&A

Linda

Kwiziq community member

10 September 2018

3 replies

can “cuál” ever be substituted in any of these cases or are there different rules for “cual”?

Linda

Kwiziq community member

11 September 2018

11/09/18

Okay, I think the difference is that “cuál” is “which one” and “qué” is simply “which”.  Is that the main difference?

Silvia

Kwiziq language super star

12 September 2018

12/09/18

¡Hola Linda! We understand that using "qué" vs. "cuál" can be confusing for English speakers, and we hope to create a lesson soon about this grammar point.

The general rule says that "qué" is usually translated as "what", while "cuál" is generally translated as "which".

However, this rule cannot always be applied and in some cases this equivalence doesn't work, so let's see how to use both of them when they mean either "what" and/or "which".

The main difference is that "qué" can be followed by a noun or a verb, but "cuál" can only be followed by a verb or the preposition "de".

When the question implies a choice between two or more alternatives and conveys the idea of "selection", you can use the estructure "¿Cuál + verb/preposition?" or "¿Qué + noun?".

For example:

-¿Qué teléfono es más caro? --> Which telephone is more expensive?

-¿Cuál de los tres teléfonos es más caro? --> Which of the three telephones is more expensive?

Also, when asking about preferences, both "qué" and "cuál" can be used. "Qué" is generally used when the objects you are asking about are not on your sight and options are not given to you, and "cuál" is used when you have them in your hands or in front of you, or are specific objects.

For example:

-¿Qué prefieres, la carne o el pescado? --> What do you prefer, meat or fish?

-¿Cuál prefieres, este o ese? --> Which one do you prefer, this one or that one?

I hope that you can understand a bit better now how to use both of them.

Gracias,

Silvia.

Linda

Kwiziq community member

12 September 2018

12/09/18

Thank you!  That makes it much clearer.  

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