Qué or cuál?

We form questions with qué and cuál.

¿Qué hora es?

What time is it?

¿Cuál es tu nombre?

What is your name?

Before a noun, we use qué:

¿Qué día es hoy?

What day is it?

Before a preposition, we use cuál:

¿Cuál de estas maletas es la tuya?

Which of these cases is yours?

Before a verb:

  • Qué is used for a generic choice.

¿Qué bebidas te gustan más?

What drinks do you like most?

  • Cuál is used for a specific choice between various items.

Tengo té negro y té verde, ¿cuál quieres?

I've got black tea and green tea, which do you want?

Before the verb ser (to be):

  • Qué is used to define something. 

—¿Qué es un móvil? —Un móvil es un teléfono portátil.

-What is a mobile? -A mobile is a portable telephone.

  • Cuál is used to identify an object or person.

—¿Cuál es tu móvil? —Mi móvil es el azul que está sobre la mesa.

-Which is your mobile? -My mobile is the blue one that's on the table.

Note: cuáles is the plural of cuál and is used to ask about several things at once.

¿Cuáles son tus grupos de música favoritos?

What are your favorite bands?

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