用Which,还是用What:___flavor of ice-cream do you want?

Dear Prof. Zheng,

I'd like to ask you a small question:

Shall I use "Which" or "What" to fill in the blank: _____flavor of ice-cream do you want?

 

Many thanks.

Regards,

G.Yao

 

尊敬的郑教授,
我想问你一个小问题:
用“Which”或“What”来填空,我该选哪一个?:____flavor of ice-cream do you want?

非常感谢。
致礼
姚明

~~~~~

Hi,Mr. Yao,

Thank you for your question. I think, generally speaking, you can replace the usage of "which" with "what" and it is OK grammatically. It doesn't always work the other way around, however. There needs to be a context of choice. For example:

 

  • Which/What flavor of ice cream do you want?

 

I do think either is fine. Nontheless, I think "Which" only works in the context of being presented with choices (e.g. a dessert cart right in front of you, and there are several flavors that you can see).

 

I can offer you one more example to look at the question you raised:

 

"Which are winter months in North China?" or "What are winter months in North China"?

 

I think It would be the former, since it's only a handful of months and you know it all.

 

In regard to questions of attribute which and what, I think in English we usually use which when we are asking about a fixed or limited number of things or people, and what when we are not. Often, however, we can use either which or what with little difference in meaning. Please compare the following sentences:

  • What towns do we go through on the way?

    The speaker doesn't know the area.

  • Which towns do we go through on the way?

    The speaker knows the area and the towns in it.

 

Well, if you mean when they are conjunctions, it would be another question. Hope this is helpful.

 

Warrm regards,

Zheng

 

姚先生好,
谢谢您的提问。我认为,一般来说,您可以用“which”代替“what”,在语法上说德通。但反过来,并不一定行得通。得需要有一个选择的背景。例如:

Which/What flavor of ice cream do you want?我认为两者都可以。若“哪种口味”在明显可选择的情况下,则使用which(例如,一辆甜点车就在你面前,你可以看到几种口味)。

 

我再举一个例子来解答你提出的问题:

 

"Which are winter months in North China?" or "What are winter months in North China"?

 

我想我们应该选择是前者,因为一年也就只有那么几个月月份,你是清楚的。
关于which和what,我认为在英语中,当我们询问固定数量或有限数量的事物或人时,我们通常使用which,如果情形不是如此,我们通常使用what。在有些情况下,我们通常可以使用which或what,但在含义上几乎没有区别。请比较下列句子:

What towns do we go through on the way?

(我们在路上要经过哪些城镇?)

说话者对该地区不甚了解。

Which towns do we go through on the way?

(我们在路上要经过哪些城镇?)

说话者知道这个地区和其中的城镇。

OK,如果您把What 和 Which当成连词时,那又是另一个问题。希望我的解答对您有帮助。

诚挚的问候,

 

 

 

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