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What are the differences between какой and что?

I know that when used in interrogation, какой can mean either "what" or "which", but, when both of them mean "what", what are the differences between them??

November 30, 2015



In russian - it's not big different, it's a two different words, even not synonymous.

Какой - it's the question of quality properties. Какой сегодня день? - What day is today? Какая сегодня погода? - What is the weather today?

Что - it's interrogative or union word is used in the formulation of the general question of the object, phenomenon, action in matters of inanimate subjects. Что случилось? - What happened? Я знаю, что он уже был там. - I know that he was there. Мы видим, что за этим кроется. - We see what lies behind it. Что сто́ит? - How much is?


Basically какой is a replacement for an adjective (Какой цвет? Красный цвет! - What colour? Red colour!), and что is a replacement for a noun (Что я вижу? Я вижу кошку. - What do I see? I see a cat.)


When you ask "Какой" - you ask about property of something. Какой кот? - кот большой. What cat. Cat is big "Which" usually means 'Который' (which one). "I like the cat. Which one? This black one. " - Мне нравится кот. Который? Вот этот черный.


As a loose rule, какой means "which". The correct rule is that if a noun follows "what", use какой. If no noun follows "what", use что.

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