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What I meant was, if you put "o quê" in the end of the sentence it gives a sense of surprise and disbelief, much like "you eat what?!" in English. For it to be a proper, no strings attached question, the "o quê" part should be in the beginning of the sentence (much like in English, again). In this circumstance the circumflex accent ^ is not used and it changes to "o que": "o quê", with the accent, is only used when alone or in the end of a sentence. So:
O que você come? - What do you eat?
Você come o quê? - You eat what?!
Yes. "Quê" takes the place of the object in order to make it a question. Think of it as your variable X, like in maths:
"Você come o X" - you eat X
"Você come o quê?" - you eat what?
There are also other examples. For instance, "Por quê" means "why". But "Por" can also mean "because of". So the same formula applies:
"Você come por isso" - you eat because of that
"Você come por X" - you eat because of X
"Você come por quê?" - you eat because of what? - you eat why?
Roughly, "o quê" means "what" while "qual" means "which". If you ask "Qual você come?" you're basically asking the other person to select one of different foods.
There are a lot of exceptions, though, where we use "qual" when we mean "what", for example "qual é o seu nome?" - "what's your name?".
The circumflex over the 'e' in 'quê' only happens when 'o quê' is at the end of a sentence, right?
Is this simplification okay? "que" acts like a subject while "o quê" acts like a direct object. For example, "Que come você" (What eats you?) vs. "Você come o quê?" or "O quê come você?" ("You eat, what!?" or "What do you eat?? [This is not to be confused with the conjunction "that" or "que".]