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"What is the question?"

Translation:¿Cuál es la pregunta?

5 years ago

87 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Athalia2

I thought "cual" meant "which." Why is it offered as a correct translation of "what"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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If you say "¿Que es la pregunta?" you are literally asking for the meaning of "la pregunta", and you'd get a response along the lines of "la pregunta is a way of requesting information."

The only time you can use "qué" as "which" is when it is followed IMMEDIATELY by a noun. For example "which book?" would be "¿Qué libro?", and "which question?" would be "¿Qué pregunta?"

But when you are asking what IS the question, you must use cuál, unless you actually want the definition of a question.

In my class our teacher reinforced this by always answering what we asked, even if he knew it wasn't what we meant. Pretty soon we were doing it to each other. Someone would say to someone else "¿Qué es tu problema?" and the other person would respond "Pues, «mi problema» es algo qué me molesta..." (Well, "my problem" is something that bothers me..."). The correct way to ask "what's your problem?" is "¿Cuál es tu problema?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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Short version: "¿Qué es ...?" asks for a definition.

"¿Cuál es ...?" means "What is (the question, your problem, etc.)" as well as "which one is ...?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pat_May

Thanks for the short version. That helps and I will remember it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/butterfly813

Very helpful. Thanks a lot

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MuratAkbul

Great explanation, gracias

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

It can be translated as which one, what, which -- depends on context. What is your favorite fruit? Can use can use 'cual' because the options are limited. Many questions can use cual or que, I have been taught.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EdwardDov

hmm, but in that example "what is your favorite fruit?" and "which is your favorite fruit?" are practically the same question since you have a limited selection either way (fruit).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/joehhendrickson

English distinquishes between what and which slightly differently than does Spanish. "Qué" won't work her because you know what it is. It is a question. But English doesn't want "which" because there is not a defined set of questions.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/emmaleek67

Because "which question is it" also makes sense.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Whisente

Same!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ThiemeZ.

I think in this context you could've used Qué, cómo or cuál

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brilboud

I thought cual and que could be used interchangeably in this situation?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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They are not interchangeable here. Cuál is correct. Qué would be asking for the meaning of "the question".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/birnard

Wouldn't you say "Qué significa la pregunta?" if you were asking for meaning?

I think the "... would be like asking for the definition of the words 'la pregunta'" explanation is incorrect. And just is a shot it the dark explanation given by some teachers.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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You could use significa, and probably would in this particular case, but there are definite times I've heard "qué es...." alone to ask for a definition. I've never heard a native Spanish speaker use it to ask for which. (Using "qué" directly before a noun, however, that is proper. But not with the verb ser in between.)

It's not a shot in the dark. I spent 3 years speaking with native Spanish speakers, and my experience matched what I was taught.

The main problem is people don't want to let go of English's patterns for using what versus which, but they don't apply in Spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NLucidC

(can't use accent marks since i'm using the mobile app) cual means what, which. if there is a range of options you use cual. Ex: que es capital? means what does capital mean? but cual es capital [de...] means what is the capital [of...]

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bob.Harrison

Accent marks are easily accessible within the AP using either iphone or android. Simply hold the desired letter key down without releasing it. Within 2-3 seconds your phone will display the possible accents for that letter.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/serenittee

I switch back & forth between English & Spanish languages on my Android b/c sometimes I'm not sure about the accent placement. Makes it easier for me.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/leighebark

Ser o no ser: ESA es la pregunta. ;P

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HeatherR444

I don't understand the difference between que and cual (sorry I'm missing the accent marks). Is it just contextual? For example, I know you can say: "Que escribes?" (What do you write?) but can you say "Cual escribes?" ? Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/holacandace

hello,

que= what cual = which

if you were to write "cual escribe?", that would be "which do you write?". do you see how this will not work? :)

i hoped this helped. i was confused myself but i took some tips from the posts above!

have a good day

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/osiol3k

As you can see in the posts above cual also means what and the diffrence between "que" and "cual" is in the number of answers to the question and, sadly, there's more to remember. To avoid quoting here's the link to some good grammar explanation site of Spanish. http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/que_vs_cual.htm

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lballam

Great link. Thanks for the tip. Really helped sort things out.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/V.Lagopus

This is how Wiktionary defined it:
what (in terms of a very specific item), which, which one

This is how I understand it:
Because we want to know something specific form the person we ask (in this case, the question that he has) we use cuál.

If we wanted to know what "the question" is (more general) we would use qué?

Correct me if I'm wrong please ^^

Edit: Kind of like the difference between:
What is your question and what is the question?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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There seems to be a lot of confusion between qué and cuál. I'm going to put an explanation here, so that it won't be buried in replies (for anyone new who comes along).

In English, we often use what and which interchangeably. In Spanish, whether you use qué or cuál depends on the construction of the question, and switching them is usually either grammatically incorrect, or actually changes the question. Forget about English conventions for what and which, and just learn the following:

Rule #1: If you are going to put the noun directly after the interrogative, use "qué".
So: "What book?" and "Which book?" would both be "¿Qué libro?"
"What question?" and "Which question?" would both be "¿Qué pregunta?" Using cuál, followed directly by a noun, is grammatically incorrect. (Never "¿Cuál pregunta?)

Rule #2: If you are asking for a definition, explanation, or description, use "qué".
The most common use is "¿Qué es eso?" ("What is that?") Frankly this is the only question I can think of at the moment of this form.

Rule #3: If you are asking "what is....?" but not asking for a definition, use "cuál". So: "What is the question?" "¿Cuál es la pregunta?" "What is today's date?" "¿Cuál es la fecha de hoy?" "What's your problem?" "¿Cuál es tu problema?"

If you use "qué" in any of the examples in #3, it changes the meaning of the question entirely, because of rule #2. So "¿Qué es la pregunta?" actually asks for an explanation, description, or definition of "la pregunta", and you'd get a response along the lines of "A question is a way of requesting information." (And yes, it is an odd way to ask that. You'd normally say "¿Qué es una pregunta?" or "¿Qué significa pregunta?", but they would probably think you just mixed up la and una on accident.)

If you ask "¿Qué es tu problema?" the answer would be "Mi problema es algo que me molesta or que me impide" (My problem is something that annoys me or that impedes me.)

These are the rules I was taught, and the subsequent three years I spent speaking and living with native Spanish speakers confirmed they are correct.

Here is an example of a possible conversation. I'll give the English first: "What is the question?" "What question?" "David's question, what is it?"

"¿Cuál es la pregunta?" "¿Qué pregunta?" "La pregunta de David, ¿cuál es?"

And another: "I have the book." "Which book?" "The red book."

"Tengo el libro." "¿Qué libro?" "El libro rojo."

And, so as not to leave #2 out.... "I like Root Beer." "What's Root Beer?" "It's a type of soda." (Or, depending on where you're from, it could be a type of pop, coke, or soft drink.)

"Me gusta Root Beer." "¿Qué es Root Beer?" "Es un tipo de soda."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PratikP7

Gracias

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vwearmouth

So 'what is it' is Cual es? and 'what is that' is que es eso? Must we just learn that or is there a rule followed please? Thank you

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athalia2

The "él/ella/Ud." form of a verb gets used for "he," "she," "you" (polite), or "it"--never "that." Thus, when the subject (or in a question, the object) isn't stated in Spanish, and when it's clearly not referring to a person, then always assume the implied word is "it." For the word "that," one needs to add a pronoun--"que" before a subordinate or relative clause, and ese/esa/eso or aquel/aquella/aquello for demonstrative pronouns and adjectives (used before a noun).

E.g. "Es mi balón." = "It is my ball." vs. "Ese es mi balón." = "That is my ball." "Es mi padre." = "It is my father/He is my father." vs. "Ese hombre es mi padre." = "That man is my father." Other examples--"Es verano." = "It is summer." "Son las siete." = "It is seven o'clock." "Fue construido" = "It was built." "¿Cuánto es?" = "How much is it?"

Hope that helps!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vwearmouth

Yikes! :) thank you. So would 'what is that?' be que ese?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athalia2

Almost. Don't forget your verb: "¿Qué es eso?"

(Note that question words always seem to use the accent; that's part of what distinguishes them from their non-question pronoun form. Spanishdict.com also uses the neuter "eso" instead of the masculine "ese" for this question--presumably because if we don't know what something is, we won't know what gender to use.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duovincenzo
duovincenzo
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Is cuéstion ever used? If so when?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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I've heard it only rarely, and usually in a statement like "it's a question of how important this is to you", rather than meaning an interrogative.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megapolis2014

these brain teasers are killin me

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rorabear01

what about pregunta?!?! I never learned cuestion?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/roropunkii

I thought "what" meant "que" from the previous lesson

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athalia2

It does, but Spanish sometimes uses "cuál" ("which") where we would use "what." Read the comments above.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ron1956
ron1956
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My answer was cual es la pregunto? Would someone help with an explaination?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athalia2

"Pregunta" ends with an "a" since it is a feminine noun. "Cuál" also has an accent mark on the "a."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eslamsaad2

What's different between cuál,qué,cuáles? All give same mean

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Flugschein

Cuáles is plural.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alexa87703

Qué is used to find what something means, unless used directly before a noun. For example, ¿Qué biblioteca? means, Which library? But ¿Qué es la biblioteca? means, What is a library? Cuál is used to ask what or which, like qué, but has no need to be in front of a noun. For example, ¿Cuál es la biblioteca? means, What/which library? Cuáles is used for cuál when the subject is plural.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/albertportnoy

Sorry, I was snoozing in school again.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jade934750

Wow

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mattdog456

It means What is the question this conversation is over.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pat567426

Would it be correct if it read "Que es la pregunta?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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That basically means "can you define 'the question'"?

It is not the same.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/missliteracy12

Hi - I don't understand why the question in feminine. Pregunto is the way I was taught this word - but here it is pregunta. Why? That is my question. (I wrote - ?Cual es el pregunta? (With upside down ? at beginning and correct accent marks.)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athalia2

"Pregunta" ("question") is a feminine noun and thus requires a matching feminine article ("la" rather than "el").

"Pregunto" ("I ask") is the present tense first person form of the verb "preguntar" and thus uses no article. (Other forms of "preguntar" include "pregunta"--"he/she asks," "preguntas"--"you ask," "preguntamos"--"we ask," etc.)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abelardocr

Like Shakespeare

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/winsenken

Are both qué and cuál acceptable for this translation?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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Not really. Both are grammatically correct, but they mean different things. I wrote a detailed post above explaining the difference (it begins with "There seems to be").

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/juaneichler

What is the difference between que and cuales when translating "what"?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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"Cuáles" is plural, so you would only use it if the noun is plural. For example, "¿Cuáles son las preguntas?" (What are the questions?).

For the differences between qué and cuál(es), please see my detailed post above (it begins with "There seems to be").

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/will077

How do you know when to put La instead of El?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/simsvm1

What's the difference in "Que" and "Cual"? Why can't this be "Que es la pregunta?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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Please see my detailed post above. (It begins with "There seems to be")

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rowith
rowith
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Why not estás?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrisdfrank

This is about forms of "ser" versus forms of "estar." Well, this might be over-simplified, but in a general sense "estás" means "you [informal] [temporarily] are." Examples? You are sick today. Estás enfermo hoy. Temporary. You are wrong / mistaken. Estás equivocado. Temporary. You are very beautiful. Eres muy bonito. Permanent condition or state of being. (Though this might be a bad example: beauty fades, yes? But that will be someday, not any time soon.) You are a man. Eres un hombre. (Does, "Eres hombre," work, too?) Permanent, usually. If your perception changes, let us know. :-)

  • Ser for permanence. Soy un payazo. I am a clown; it is who I am. Es grande tu casa. Your house is big. Probably, it won't be getting any smaller. Eres perfecto. You are perfect. Oh, forever and ever. I love you. Marry me!

  • Estar for impermanence, temporary things, things that might change, will or must change, or are expected to change. Estoy descansando. I am relaxing. But you know it won't last; there's no rest for the wicked. :D Está cansado él. He is tired. But not always. Estás por la calle. You are out on the street. Again. Not always; it just seems like it. :p

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rowith
rowith
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Thanks for the reply. But if we're asking "which question", that sounds like something not permanent. You're explanation is great, so I guess I'm just thick!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DarkLightStar

why is cual es de pregunta wrong??? Hmm.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrisdfrank

"What is of question?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/warmheartedbear

I didnt finish the the question and it checked it for me when i didnt want it to

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lortesha

Why can't I just say ¿Cual es pregunta? Is the la really necessary. Cause when we say it is you can just use Es so why the difference on some and not on all questions

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athalia2

In English, it would be ungrammatical to say "What is question?" We would instead say, "What is THE question?" or possibly "What is A question?" In the same way, "la" ("the") is necessary in this Spanish sentence before "pregunta."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PratikP7

When we sould use Cuàles and cuàl?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/haleighej
haleighej
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What is the difference between Cual es and Cuales?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MJMGruver
MJMGruver
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"Cual es" means "which is". "Cuales" is the plural of "cual". It would be used with a plural verb - "Cuales son" to be "which are"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SugaAndTea

es/la? I thought es was masculine.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MJMGruver
MJMGruver
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"el" is the masculine article; "es" is the third person singular form of the verb ser - to be.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/unchary

Why is this in the indirect pronoun lesson for les/nos?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jade934750

I think my answer was right how come it corrected it wrong ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gkeisler917

Is there any easy way to remember this???

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xomaddiexo

the last time it told me to put tu now its saying put la?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SariahLily
SariahLily
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La means the. Tu means your.

So:

¿Cuál es la pregunta? = "What is the question?"

¿Cuál es tu pregunta? = "What is your question?"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Panness

When did I learn this? Some random question pops up in the food tutorial......anyway, I'm seeing 2 different answers. I guessed the answer , but got told it's 'Qué es la cuestión?' But in this section....'Cual es la pregunta?.....all fun and games

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BaconLover3113

I'm confused, how come "Cual es pregunta" is wrong here, but when i look it up, it shows as the perfect translation?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnelieSop

Duolingo should have made the difference clear between the words and explain it better.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ScienceKatMaddy

idk- what is the question? me- how do you spanish?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TenzinW.

Spanish teacher: what is the questin? Me: What is the answer?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gawroon7
gawroon7
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I have a question: (Yo tegno una pregunta!) If we can move the pronoun, could this be also stated as: "¿La pregunta cuál es?" ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HasanKhan921656

google translate doesnt work for this question

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HendYousse3

what is the difference between Que and Cual ?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mia678226

Ugh

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlmaPeterson

U

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carin228386

How do you know when to use "cuál" and when to use "que"

5 months ago

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