Why is Qué not accepted in this sentence?

Hola, I was wondering why "Qué es mi nombre?" is not a viable translation of "What is my name?" It corrected me to "Cual es mi nombre?" instead. This happened on the English from Spanish course (I was doing a reverse tree). As the discussion was locked there, I could not ask why this was the case. Thanks in advance for answering my question!

8 months ago


There is a rule in Spanish that dictates that 'cuál' is used directly before forms of the verb 'ser' ('es' is a form of 'ser')

  • Cuáles son los nombres de tus hijos? = What are your kid's names

  • Cuál fue tu número de teléfono = What was your telephone number

  • Qué hora es? = What time is it? (the 'ser' is at the end in this one)

  • Qué están haciendo? (estar) = What are they doing?

etc, etc...basically before any form of 'ser', but not 'estar'.

I'm not exactly sure why that is but someone might be along in a while to explain that though ;)

8 months ago
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If you say "Que" + ser you're asking for the dictionary definition of what follows.

for example: "¿Qué es un nombre?" means "what is a name" (as in, define what a name is).

so the answer to ""¿Qué es mi nombre?" in English would be " 'Mi nombre' is what I am called to distinguish myself from others". (I don't know how that would be phrased in Spanish). The answer would not be your actual name.

8 months ago
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You just made it easier for me to understand now. Thank you!

8 months ago

Thank you for explaining the reason for using cual instead of que.

8 months ago

May use the "what" for "qué", "which" for "cuál" rule of thumb.
However, that is incorrect more than it is correct.

There are some specific rules determining whether to use "Cuál" over "Qué".
In this sentence, "Cuál" is used because it precedes "es".
Here is a link with an explanation as to when to use which word:

8 months ago
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