Wednesday, February 21, 2024

5 Easy Methods to Say “What” in Spanish (With Instance Sentences and Audio)

what in spanish

Figuring out how one can say “what” is an important a part of any Spanish learner’s arsenal.

In Spanish, there are a number of methods to say “what,” equivalent to: qué, cómo, lo que and cuál.

On this publish, you’ll study 5 methods to say “what” in Spanish and see how they’re utilized in context with the assistance of instance sentences.

For a enjoyable twist, the instance sentences all characteristic a well-loved matter: Meals!


“What” could be translated as two completely different variations of the phrase qué: one as a pronoun and one as an adjective.

When qué is adopted by a verb, it capabilities as a pronoun.

As an interrogative pronoun, qué will at all times have an accent mark no matter its place within the sentence is. Nevertheless, you’ll usually discover it firstly:

¿Qué quiere comer tu novio?

(What does your boyfriend need to eat?)

¿Qué necesitas para preparar la pizza?

(What do it is advisable to put together the pizza?)

¿Qué has desayunado hoy?

(What have you ever eaten for breakfast right now?)

Regardless that the final three examples had been all direct questions, this is not going to at all times be the case. Qué also can seem as an interrogative pronoun in oblique questions:

Necesito saber qué vas a comer.

(I have to know what you’re going to eat.)

Dime qué pediste en el restaurante.

(Inform me what you ordered on the restaurant.)

No sé qué puedo añadirle al batido.

(I don’t know what I can add to the milkshake.)

Lastly, you’ll additionally discover the interrogative pronoun qué in reported speech sentences. Though there are many reporting verbs, essentially the most often utilized in entrance of qué are preguntar
(to ask), preguntarse
(to surprise), querer saber
(to need to know) and necesitar saber
(to wish to know):

Me preguntó qué estaba comiendo.

(He requested me what I used to be consuming.)

Se preguntaba qué podía usar en lugar de azúcar.

(She puzzled what she might use as an alternative of sugar.)

Mi madre quería saber qué había cenado.

(My mother wished to know what I had for dinner.)

Necesitaba saber qué iba a cocinar.

(She wanted to know what I used to be going to cook dinner.)

The second which means of “what” in Spanish (qué) might appear to be it’s barely completely different from the primary one.

This time, qué capabilities as an adjective within the sentence. For that purpose, it is not going to be adopted by a verb, however by a noun.

Should you’re not likely into studying grammar and simply have to study conversational Spanish, you may ignore this reality and simply keep in mind that “what” is translated as qué more often than not, however I do consider it’s factor to know these little fascinating details in regards to the language you’re finding out.

No matter your scenario could also be, simply know that qué may also be adopted by nouns:

¿Qué fruta es tu favorita?

(What’s your favourite fruit?)

¿Qué desayuno es ese?

(What sort of breakfast is that?)

¿Qué sopa es mejor para el dolor de estómago?

(What soup is one of the best for a stomachache?)

As with the earlier qué, adjectival qué also can seem in oblique questions and oblique speech:

Necesitamos saber qué fruta es tu favorita.

(We have to know what your favourite fruit is.)

Me preguntó qué desayuno period ese.

(She requested me what sort of breakfast it was.)

No sabía qué sopa period la mejor para el dolor de estómago.

(He didn’t know what one of the best soup for a stomachache was.)

Lastly, you can even discover the adjectival qué as an exclamatory adjective. Keep in mind so as to add the opening exclamation mark (¡) each time you employ the closing one:

¡Qué alegría comer pizza!

(I’m so joyful to eat pizza! [Lit.: What happiness to eat pizza!])

¡Qué cosas tan deliciosas cocinas!

(You cook dinner such scrumptious meals! [Lit.: What things so delicious you cook!])

¡Qué tomate más delicioso!

(What a scrumptious tomato! [Lit.: What tomato more/so delicious!])

Cómo means “what” solely in very particular conditions, so concentrate now.

Use cómo with the which means of “what” when you’re expressing your incredulity and/or annoyance for what has occurred or what somebody has mentioned.

¡Cómo! ¡Eso no puede ser verdad! ¡Él no sabe cocinar!

(What! That may’t be true! He doesn’t know how one can cook dinner!)

¿Cómo? ¡No me lo puedo creer! ¿Ana ha hecho el pastel?

(What? I can’t consider it! Ana has made the cake?)

In each different case, cómo will imply “how.” Listed here are some examples:

¿Cómo se usan los palillos?

(How are chopsticks used?)

¿Cómo cocinaste el pollo?

(How did you cook dinner the hen?)

If we translate lo que actually, its which means can be “that which.”

Nevertheless, this makes the English translation sound slightly bit awkward:

Lo que más me gusta es comer pasta.

(That which I like essentially the most is consuming pasta.)

No sé lo que vamos a almorzar.

(I don’t know that which we could have for lunch.)

Come lo que quieras.

(Eat that which you need.)

But when we substitute “that which” for “what” in these sentences, they sound way more pure. Take a look:

Lo que más me gusta es comer pasta.
(What I like essentially the most is consuming pasta.)

No sé lo que vamos a almorzar.
(I don’t know what we’ll have for lunch.)

Come lo que quieras.
(Eat what you need.)

From this, we will conclude that lo que is healthier translated as “what.”

Take a look on the examples once more and also you’ll discover this que doesn’t have an accent mark. It’s essential that you just keep in mind this. Lo qué is a vulgarism used as an alternative of the interrogative pronoun qué, and it is best to undoubtedly keep away from it just like the plague.

The final which means of “what” in Spanish is cuál, which can also be an interrogative phrase that may be a pronoun or an adjective relying on whether or not it’s adopted by a verb or a noun.

You could be questioning then, what’s the distinction between utilizing qué and cuál? And the reply is easy.

Use cuál when you could have to select between two or three issues. There could be greater than three, however the quantity will usually be small and restricted/outlined. More often than not, you may substitute “what” for “which” and the which means might be unchanged:

¿Cuál vino prefieres?

(What wine [of the ones I’m showing you] do you favor?)

¿Cuál pastel te gusta más?

(What cake [of the ones you’re eating] do you want essentially the most?)

Alternatively, go for qué when the selection isn’t restricted to a couple particular objects, however to an entire class. You’ll perceive this higher with a few examples:

¿Qué vino prefieres?

(What wine [of all the wines in the wine category existing in the world] do you favor?)

¿Qué pastel te gusta más?

(What cake [of all the cakes in the cake category existing in the world] do you want essentially the most?)

These guidelines of thumb ought to provide help to keep in mind when to make use of qué and cuál.

Another factor: You must also use cuál when utilizing “what” as a pronoun—that’s, when utilizing it in entrance of a verb as an alternative of a noun (normally the verb ser
[to be]):

¿Cuál es tu comida favorita?

(What’s your favourite meals?)

No sé cuál es mi verdura favorita. ¡Me gustan todas las verduras!

(I don’t know what my favourite vegetable is. I like all greens!)

The way to Observe Saying “What” in Spanish

Studying the which means of “what” in Spanish is a straightforward activity even newbie learners can do. I hope this publish has been helpful and also you’re able to rock your Spanish qué like there’s no tomorrow.

If you wish to see extra examples of those phrases in use and even discover ways to ask your personal questions in Spanish, there are many apps and sources on the market that may provide help to.

For instance, you may apply utilizing qué and cuál on 123TeachMe with this qué vs. cuál quiz, in addition to this quiz.

You could possibly additionally strive utilizing an immersive language studying program like FluentU to identify all of the completely different ways in which native audio system use “what” in Spanish media clips.

Observe Quiz

Attempt to fill within the gaps with the appropriate time period (or phrases) to say “what” within the following sentences:

1. ¿______ es tu plato favorito? (What’s your favourite dish?)

2. Mi novio no me quería decir ______ iba a cocinar para nuestro aniversario. (My boyfriend didn’t need to inform me what he was going to cook dinner for our anniversary.)

3. ¡______ paella más rica! ¿Me puedes dar la receta? (What a tasty paella! Are you able to give me the recipe?)

4. ¿______ plato quieres? ¡Toda la comida se ve deliciosa! (What dish would you like? All the meals seems to be scrumptious!)

5. ¿Ya sabes ______ vas a pedir en el restaurante esta noche? (Do you already know what you’re going to order on the restaurant tonight?)

6.  Te hice un pastel por tu cumpleaños. / ¿______?, ¡¿en serio?! (I made you a cake on your birthday / What, actually?!)


1. Cuál
2. Qué/Lo que 
3. Qué
4. Qué/Cuál
5. Qué/Lo que
6. Cómo


At this fee, you’ll know how one can say “what” in Spanish very quickly.

¡Qué orgulloso estoy de ti!
(I’m so pleased with you!)

Keep curious and, as at all times, joyful studying!

And One Extra Factor…

Should you’ve made it this far meaning you in all probability get pleasure from studying Spanish with participating materials and
will then love FluentU.

Different websites use scripted content material. FluentU makes use of a pure strategy that helps you ease into the Spanish language and tradition over time. You’ll study Spanish because it’s truly spoken by actual individuals.

FluentU has all kinds of movies, as you may see right here:


FluentU brings native movies inside attain with interactive transcripts. You possibly can faucet on any phrase to look it up immediately. Each definition has examples which have been written that can assist you perceive how the phrase is used. Should you see an fascinating phrase you don’t know, you may add it to a vocab checklist.


Evaluate a whole interactive transcript below the Dialogue tab, and discover phrases and phrases listed below Vocab.


Study all of the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s sturdy studying engine. Swipe left or proper to see extra examples of the phrase you’re on.


One of the best half is that FluentU retains monitor of the vocabulary that you just’re studying, and provides you further apply with tough phrases. It will even remind you when it’s time to evaluate what you’ve discovered. Each learner has a very customized expertise, even when they’re studying with the identical video.

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