Qué, Cuál, Cuáles in Spanish… What is the Difference?

An interesting tip to sound more fluent in Spanish is to make a difference among qué, cuál and cuáles, three important question words that we use a lot!

Qué or cuál or cuáles? That is the question… Another interesting topic so that you sound a little bit more fluent is to make a difference among qué, cuál and cuáles in Spanish, three important question words in our language. 

During my 8 years of experience teaching Spanish as a second/ foreign language I have heard mistakes like:

  • ¿Qué es tu favorito? = What is your favorite? (the correct form is: ¿cuál es tu favorito?
  • ¿Qué es la capital de Uruguay?= What is the capital of Uruguay? (correct form: ¿Cuál es la capital de Uruguay?
  • ¿Qué es tu nombre?= What is your name (correct form: ¿Cuál es tu nombre?
  • ¿Qué es el significado de esta palabra? = What is the meaning of this word? (correct form: ¿cuál es el significado de esta palabra.

So, to learn how to differentiate and use them, check the following  table: 

Cuál es+ definite article (el, la, los, las)Cuál es + possesive adjective (mi, mis, tu, tus, su, sus, nuestro, nuestra…)
¿Cuál es el nombre de tu hermana? (what is your sister’s name?)¿Cuál es su número de teléfono? (what is her phone number)
Qué es + indefinite article (un, una, unos, unas) or demostrative pronoun (ese, esa, esos, esas, este, esta, estos, estas…)
¿Qué es una ruana? (what is a ruana?)¿Qué es esto? (what is this?)

Sentences like:

Cual + noun is not correct if you do not mention previously what you are talking about. For instance:

  • ¿Cuál computador tienes? (Which computer do you have?
  • ¿Cuál libro estás leyendo? (What book are you reading?)

I hope you have learned a lot about qué, cuál, and cuáles in Spanish. Be free to use and practice with your friends or at work!

Check our article Bien in Spanish? Or Bueno? Or Buen? Which One is Correct?

If you find this info useful, do not hesitate and write us a comment above! Also, visit our blog here for more tips and our Instagram stories for more amazing content.

Written by Gisela, profesora at Whee.

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