Questions 3

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What

In English, what is normally used to ask questions about nouns (rzeczowniki), and is often similar to co in Polish. However, English doesn’t have words which mean jaki, jaka, etc, and we therefore use what in many situations where in Polish you would use jaki, jaka, etc.

For example. look at the following sentences:

What book are you reading? – Jaką książkę czytasz?

What is his name? – Jak on ma na imię?

What colour are the walls? – Jakiego koloru są ściany?

The words book , name and colour are all nouns so we use what to ask questions about them.

We sometimes want to ask a question about an adjective (przymiotnik) and in this situation we normally use which.

In the next examples, colour is a noun, so we use what, and green is an adjective, so we use which.

What colour are the walls? – Jakiego koloru są ściany?

Which green are you going to use to paint the walls? – Którego zielonego koloru zamierzasz użyć do pomalowania tej ściany?

What and Which

We also normally use what when there are many possible options available, and we use which when there is a limited number of options available.

Many options available

What is her telephone number? – Jaki jest jej numer telefonu?

Limited options available

Which telephone number is hers, 536850 or 567899? – Który numer telefonu jest jej, 536850 czy 567899?

Which of these is yours? – Który z tych należy do ciebie?

Which is also normally used to ask questions about organizations or groups of people.

Which organizations do you support? – Którą organizację wspierasz?

Which football club do you like the most? – Jaki klub piłkarski lubisz najbardziej?

Although these different ways of using which is how we normally use the word, it isn’t a strict rule and you will sometimes see what used instead.

Next: Questions 4