In general, use qué when asking for a definition, or when there are few or no restrictions on what the answer might be. (¿Qué onda? What's up?)
Use cuál when there's a restricted pool of possible answers to choose from. (¿Cuál es tu numero? What's your number?)
This also includes the sense of cuál meaning "which". (¿Cuáles de los gatos son tuyos? Which of the cats are yours?)
I hope this helps.
I think it would be more helpful to restrict it just to this type of questions:
"¿Qué es...?" is used if you want a definition.
"¿Cuál es...?" is used if you want an answer.
- ¿Qué es un problema? - What is a problem?
- ¿Cuál es el problema? - What is the problem?
When you start using a different verb or other words after cuál or qué, the meanings change accordingly
Good answer, but there are few or no restrictions on what the problem could be.
what is the difference between que and como
First, realize that there is a difference between "que" and "qué". "Qué" means "what". "Que" means "that," and it is used to begin a subordinate clause.
Example: ¿Pensás que habrá algunos insectos? Do you think that there will be any insects.
Second, realize that there is a difference between "cómo" and "como".
"Como" means "like", "as", "similar to", or "such as".
"Cómo" means "how" or "why", or "come again" (what did you say?, come again). ("¿Cómo? Yo te no oigo," What? I don't hear you.)
Now the difference between "qué" and "cómo."
Both "qué" and "cómo" are "question words" aka "interrogatives" (these specifically are "interrogative pronouns".
"Que" (that) is a relative pronoun, or a conjunction.
"Cómo", as an interrogative, means "how" or "why".
Qué is just used as an interjection, like you would use "how" in those situations in English: "How beautiful" or "How great".
Several words that end in -ma (and come from Greek) are masculine: el problema, el poema, el idioma, el drama, el trauma, el programa, el tema, el sistema, el clima, and many more.
I think ur right. but in some cases like "el aula" el is used even though the word is feminine and u would say las aulas.
This happens when the word starts with the letter A; the reason is that two letters A next to each other would be difficult to pronounce. I think it's similar to the Spanish prepositions - you can't say "de el", it's always "del".
That happens only if the beginning 'a' of the noun is stressed. So you have "el aula" and "el agua", but it's still "la agente" or "la arena".
Ramon, Spanish is challenging, but so are all Romance languages. Keep practicing. :)
It's not a likely sentence, but sure, it's a possible translation.
"Which is the problem, the food industry or your eating habits?"
"What is the problem" is an open-ended question, with many possible answers. "Which is the problem" assumes a limited number of answers. This distinction is the same in Spanish.
So, NO, it should not be accepted.
Note that RagonIV gave context, and correctly used "which."
I'm not sure what you mean by "This distinction is the same in Spanish." "¿Cuál es el problema?" is the only way this sentence can be expressed, and, depending on context, it can translate to both "What is the problem?" and "Which (one) is the problem?"
If you want somebody to bore you to tears with the saga of their ingrowing toenail.
There are so many translations for "what" me español like I can not keep up. comprende?
Not as a translation here, since there is no indication whom or what the problem is associated with. But in Spanish you can easily say "¿Cuál es tu problema?"
Problema is a noun that originated in Ancient Greek, where it was of neutral gender. While transferring to Spanish, it kept its form, but all neutral nouns became masculine.
"Problemo" is not a Spanish word, even if media wants you to believe that. :)
I wrote "what is the problem?" and it marked it wrong because I didn't use the contraction of what's -_-
That is odd; I wrote "What is the problem?" and it was accepted properly Nov.8, 2018. Perhaps something else was misspelled, or "the problem" has been corrected. ;-)
Problema is a masculine noun. It was originally neuter in Greek and in Latin, and all Latin neuter nouns became masculine in Spanish.
I have seen por que translate as why? (Excuse the missing accent). When is that apprpriate?
Is there any context to this question? The phrase "por qué" just translates to "why" in English. More literally it's "for what (reason)".
How to remember the Spanish of what, which, who, when? Any shortcut trick for remembering these?
Hmm, let's see.
Cuánto (how many) describes the cuantity.
Cuál (which/what) describes the cuality.
Quién (who) asks for the Queen and all her subjects.
Qué (what) is for Quéstions in general.
Cómo (how) is a bit like "How come?"
And for cuándo I only have this classic.
Also remember that 'qu' can only precede 'e' and 'i' in Spanish. For all other vowels you have to use 'c' or 'cu'.
I am more concerned about the use of el instead of la for problema. I thought feminine use "a" instead of the masculine "o"
That is true for most nouns, but not for all. Problema, specifically, originated from a Greek neutral gender word. It kept the -a ending through the ages, but the neutral gender went away and was replaced by the masculine gender when Spanish developed. There are a couple dozen of those, mostly ending in '-ma' or '-ta': el problema, tema, idioma, drama, atleta, pacifista, mapa, and so on.