How To Say 'Which' In Spanish [Singular And Plural]

  • Jada Lòpez
    Written byJada Lòpez
    Jada LòpezSpanish teacher, translator
    🎓 B.A., Translation and Interpreting English and Spanish, Universidad de Granada
    🎓 M.A., Formación de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE), Universidad Pablo de Olavide

    Passionate language teacher and translator. Wife, mother of 3 and amateur surfer.
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How To Say 'Which' In Spanish [Singular And Plural]

Since “which” is a fundamental little word that you’re going to use often in Spanish, knowing how to use it is important.

This guide will clarify everything you need to know about how to use “which” in Spanish.

Let’s start with the definition.

What is the Spanish word for which?

The Spanish word for “which” is cuál.

This singular form kind of translates to English as “which one”.

Take note that cuál has an accent mark above if you’re writing a question.

For instance, if you wanted to ask someone which suit they were looking at in a shopping store, you would say:

Listen to audio

¿Cuál de estos trajes estás mirando?

Which of these suits are you looking at?

And in this form, the accent mark should always feature above the letter a in the word when you’re writing a question.

What is the plural form of cuál?

The plural form of cuál is cuáles.

Note that if you’re writing a question or interrogative, the plural form still retains its accent mark.

There is no feminine version of cuáles.

If you wanted to write a question in Spanish in which you wanted to ask which flowers to purchase, you would just use cuáles.

Listen to audio

¿Cuáles de estas flores debería llevar al hospital?

Which of these flowers should I bring to the hospital?

When is the plural form of cuál required?

We use the plural form of cuál when asking about several things or objects.

In this instance cuáles means “which ones”.

Have a read of the example just below to see how to use cuáles when asking a question:

Listen to audio

Deberías preguntar a tu jefe cuáles son las nuevas reglas para el proyecto.

You should ask your boss what the new rules are for the project.

In which situations does cual not have an accent mark?

However, there’s a specific situation when cual does not feature an accent mark, and that situation is when you’re not asking a question.

In these circumstances, cual normally means “whom” in English.

The example below will clarify this usage type:

Listen to audio

Esa es la madre de Jaime con la cual su padre estaba casado.

That is Jaime’s mother with whom his father was married.

So here, the sentence is not a question, and the word cual is still being used but in a different way.

In this case, the word cual means “with whom”, and is preceded by the article la.

Now, in other situations, you can use the article el, it just depends on the gender of the noun (or sustantivo) that you’re using.

How to pluralise cual when not asking a question

In situations like the above, there are a few forms that cual can take.

Since cual might refer to several objects or sustantivos, you will have to add the suffix -es to pluralise it.

Listen to audio

He conocido unos hombres los cuales no beben alcohol.

I have met some men who don’t drink alcohol.

You’ll also need to remember that since the object or person that cual refers to can be either masculine or feminine, although cual doesn’t have a feminine form, it must feature the masculine or feminine article in situations where you’re not asking a question.

Here’s another example to help you:

Listen to audio

He conocido unas mujeres las cuales trabajan en un zoo.

I have met some women who work in a zoo.

Understanding the difference between qué and cuál and when to use them

English speakers often encounter other difficulties when learning how to say “which” in Spanish.

The main difficulty is knowing when cuál is required and when qué is required, and the confusion arises because in English we use the word “what” in all circumstances where we want to understand what something is.

This is different in Spanish.

In Spanish, some questions require the word cuál and others require qué.

Here, you’ll find out when qué is needed, and when cuál is required.

When should we use qué in Spanish?

The first point to remember is that we use qué when we are asking for a definition.

If you want to ask what something means, you must use the word qué. Here’s an example:

Listen to audio

¿Qué es un otorrinolaringólogo?

What is an ENT?

But you’ll also need to use qué when asking about the characteristics of something or someone. For example, if you wanted to know what a software engineer does, you would ask:

Listen to audio

¿Qué hace un desarrollador?

What does a developer do?

Another grammatical tip to also bear in mind is that qué is normally found before a noun.

So you might need to think about this rule if you are confused or unsure about whether qué is required or whether you need to use cuál.

Take the example below.

If you wanted to ask what computer someone prefers, you would use qué:

Listen to audio

¿Qué ordenador prefieres?

Which computer do you prefer?

When should we use cuál in Spanish?

On the other hand, cuál is normally used in situations where the sentence features the verb ser but not when you are asking someone to define something.

Here’s a quick example of the verb cuál being used in this circumstance:

Listen to audio

¿Cuál es tu dirección?

What is your address?

But in some circumstances, there can still be an ambiguity about when to use cuál and when to use qué, so the following rule might be particularly useful.

If you have to choose between several things or objects, use cuál. For instance:

Listen to audio

¿Cuál de estos vestidos verdes quieres?

Which of these green dresses do you want?

Note that if there is no specific group to select from, and you’re asking about any green dress in the world, you would use the word qué.

Use the word cuál when practicing your Spanish language skills

The ideal way to get more accustomed to using cuál is to first learn the rules and then practice using it for complete-the-blank exercises.

This is ideal if you’re an A1 level student and are just beginning to learn the Spanish language.

If, however, you’re at the B2 level, you might have enough knowledge to start speaking with natives and listening to podcasts or audios.

This is ideal for developing your speaking skills and recognizing when to use qué and when to use cuál.

Keep practicing using cúal to perfect your Spanish skills.

Have you got any further advice for learning how to say “which” in Spanish?

Share your advice below in the comments section!

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