Questions: Quel, quels, quelle, quelles = Which / what ?

You already know that Que or Qu'est-ce que at the start of a question is used to ask what something is (See Qu'est-ce que c'est... and Qu'est-ce que c'est que ça/cela ? = What is... / What's that?,  C'est quoi, Qu'est-ce que c'est ? = What's that?).


Now look at these questions:

Quel est ton film préféré?
Which / What is your favourite movie?

Quels bonbons tu as choisis?
Which/What sweets did you choose?

Quelle jupe tu veux?
Which/What skirt do you want?

Quelles chaussures te plaisent?
Which shoes do you like?

Quelle est la plus belle princesse du royaume ?
Who is the prettiest princess in the kingdom?

Quel garçon a jeté cette balle ?
Which boy threw that ball?

Note that the question adjective quel also means "What/Who?" (and "Which?") in French.

So when to use quel  instead of que/quoi/qui 

Whereas que/quoi/qui will be used to define something, to ask what they are, quel is used in the context of a choice, an alternative: what is that, relative to other elements?


Note also that Quel is an adjective, so it always relates to a noun (thing/person). Therefore, it will be used when the question "What/Who" is really "What/Which <thing/person>...?" or "What is <thing>" or "Who is <person>?":

Quelle est votre adresse ?
What is your address?

  ->  Here the adjective quelle goes with adresse (What address?)

 

Quel acteur voudrais-tu rencontrer ?
Which actor would you like to meet?

  ->  Here the adjective quel goes with acteur (Which actor?)

 

Quel parfum de glace tu préfères ?
Which ice cream flavour do you prefer?

->  Here the adjective quel goes with parfum (Which flavour?)

 

Quelle est la personne que tu admires le plus ?
Who is the person you admire the most?

  ->  Here the adjective quelle goes with personne (Which person?)

 

ATTENTION: 
Quel is an adjective, so it agrees in number and gender with the thing/person it is used with ("quel", "quels", "quelle", or "quelles").

 
Case of lequel, laquelle, lesquels, lesquelles

These are pronouns, which means they're replacing pre-mentioned nouns (i.e. "Which one(s) ...?).
Therefore, they'll be used when the thing they refer to has already been mentioned, to emphasise the question:

Mets tes chaussures !
- Lesquelles ?

Put your shoes on!
- Which ones?

J'adore les bonbons !
- Oui, mais lesquels sont tes préférés ?

I love sweets!
- Yes, but which ones are your favourite?

Note that the noun is not mentioned in the question, as lequel, laquelle... already expresses it: it would be redundant!

 

See also Quel, quelle, quels, quelles + noun = What a ... 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Quel garçon a jeté cette balle ?
Which boy threw that ball?


Quelles chaussures te plaisent?
Which shoes do you like?


J'adore les bonbons !
- Oui, mais lesquels sont tes préférés ?

I love sweets!
- Yes, but which ones are your favourite?


Quelle est la plus belle princesse du royaume ?
Who is the prettiest princess in the kingdom?


Quelle jupe tu veux?
Which/What skirt do you want?


Mets tes chaussures !
- Lesquelles ?

Put your shoes on!
- Which ones?


Quel parfum de glace tu préfères ?
Which ice cream flavour do you prefer?


Quels bonbons tu as choisis?
Which/What sweets did you choose?


Quelle est la personne que tu admires le plus ?
Who is the person you admire the most?


Quelle est votre adresse ?
What is your address?


Quel acteur voudrais-tu rencontrer ?
Which actor would you like to meet?


Quel est ton film préféré?
Which / What is your favourite movie?


Q&A Forum 20 questions, 38 answers

Which is yours?

How would you say "Which shoes are yours?" 

Asked 3 weeks ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Quelles chaussures sont à vous ?

Which is yours?

How would you say "Which shoes are yours?" 

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Quel acteur voudrais-tu rencontrer ?

I pressed the report button, and it only opened up another identical page! I only wanted to report to technical staff that i hear an "s" between the end of voudrais  and the following tu. This is NOT a question.

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super star

Thanks for letting us know Andrea, I have flagged it up...

Quel acteur voudrais-tu rencontrer ?

I pressed the report button, and it only opened up another identical page! I only wanted to report to technical staff that i hear an "s" between the end of voudrais  and the following tu. This is NOT a question.

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Qu'est-ce que c'est dans la boite?

What is that into the box?

Asked 4 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Father of ,

What you are actually saying is -

What is it in the box?

which doesn’t sound quite right in English or French in my opinion...

Qu'est-ce que c'est dans la boite?

What is that into the box?

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What is inside the box?

Qu'est dans la boîte? 

Quel est dans la boîte?

Asked 4 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi,

I prefer -

Qu'est-ce qu'il y a dans la boîte? 

Qu'est-ce qui est dans la boîte? (That sounds the most natural.)C'est quoi dans la boîte? (Familiar)

Quel est dans la boîte? is not really appropriate, because quel refers to something which would have been introduced or mentioned previously.

Thank you Chris.

How about 'Qui est dans la boîte?'

CécileKwiziq language super star

Well Joan, it would have to be a pretty big box as 'qui' would refer to a person.....

Thanks Cécile...

I thought 'qui' can refer to thing also, sorry...  

CécileKwiziq language super star

Pas de problème,  Joan, you could also say -

Qu'est-ce qu'il y a dans la boîte ?

Bonne continuation!

What is inside the box?

Qu'est dans la boîte? 

Quel est dans la boîte?

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Is it right the sentence Quel ami est ce que tu preferes? And quelle couleur est ce que tu veux?

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Patrizia, 

Yes , both of these sentences are correct.

Quel ami est-ce que tu préfères?

Quelle couleur est-ce que tu veux?

Is it right the sentence Quel ami est ce que tu preferes? And quelle couleur est ce que tu veux?

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Quels bonbons tu as choisis

Quel est le temps pour le verbe choisir dans cette question ? Je pense qu'il faut passe composé, parce que on utilise avoir, mais le participe passé de choisir est choisi.  Merci! 

Asked 6 months ago
AlanC1Correct answer

Yes, but the past participle has to agree with bonbons because it precedes the verb.

Merci! Il y a un autre leçon au niveau A2 qui a dit le participe passé n'accord pas avec le verb avoir mais tu as raison parce que le objet (bonbons) est avant le verb (avoir). C'est vrai n'est-ce pas?

Quels bonbons tu as choisis

Quel est le temps pour le verbe choisir dans cette question ? Je pense qu'il faut passe composé, parce que on utilise avoir, mais le participe passé de choisir est choisi.  Merci! 

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Bonjour Madame Aurélie ! Quelle est la personne que tu admires le plus ? Should not it be “la”?

Asked 6 months ago
GruffKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Varsha, 

In this case the superlative "le plus" is modifying the verb "admirer", and adverbs have no gender so they always use the masculine form:

Le plus and le moins = the most and the least (superlative of adverbs)

However, if it were modifying a noun then you would agree with the gender:

Le, la, les plus and le, la, les moins = the most and the least (superlatives of adjectives)

Hope that helps!

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Gruff !

Bonne Journée !

Bonjour Madame Aurélie ! Quelle est la personne que tu admires le plus ? Should not it be “la”?

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LizA2

Quels or Quelles?

 Bonjour Aurélie

"Quels/Quelles sont les danseuses engagées?" 

I answered "Quels" as it was unclear if the dancers were male/female or both.  I was marked incorrect.  Was that because of an incorrect assumption on my part ( that all dancers are female) or was there another reason?

thanks for your guidance,

Elizabeth

Asked 7 months ago
LauraKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Elizabeth,

Quelles is the correct answer because both words, danseuses and engagées, are feminine. All male dancers or a mix of male and female would be written danseurs engagés.

I hope this helps, bonne continuation !

Quels or Quelles?

 Bonjour Aurélie

"Quels/Quelles sont les danseuses engagées?" 

I answered "Quels" as it was unclear if the dancers were male/female or both.  I was marked incorrect.  Was that because of an incorrect assumption on my part ( that all dancers are female) or was there another reason?

thanks for your guidance,

Elizabeth

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Bonjour Aurélie

J'adore les bonbons ! - Oui, mais lesquels sont tes préférés ?

In this example can’t the answer be as-

‘Oui,mais lequel est ton préféré?’

How to judge whether the answer of lesquelles or lequel should be singular or plural ?

Pls confirm 

Thnx a lot

Asked 9 months ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Varsha !

Here the issue is that "bonbons" is usually used in the plural, especially in this context. 

You could also say "quel type de bonbons ?", but if you used the singular here, it would imply one specific piece of candy (or one sweet in the UK) and not a type of candy :)

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée ! 

Merci Madame Aurélie !

Bonjour Aurélie

J'adore les bonbons ! - Oui, mais lesquels sont tes préférés ?

In this example can’t the answer be as-

‘Oui,mais lequel est ton préféré?’

How to judge whether the answer of lesquelles or lequel should be singular or plural ?

Pls confirm 

Thnx a lot

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J'adore les bonbons ! - Oui, mais lesquels sont tes préférés ?

In this example can’t the answer be as-

‘Oui,mais lequel est ton préféré?’

How to judge whether the answer of lesquelles or lequel should be singular or plural ?

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer
Aurélie answered...
Oui Madame

J'adore les bonbons ! - Oui, mais lesquels sont tes préférés ?

In this example can’t the answer be as-

‘Oui,mais lequel est ton préféré?’

How to judge whether the answer of lesquelles or lequel should be singular or plural ?

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Why is there sometimes an S on the end of Quel?

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Quel/quelle = masculine/feminine singular
quels/quelles = masculine/feminine plural.

Quel auteur tu aimes le plus? -- Which author do you like the most?
Quelle fille t'a apporté ton manteau? -- Which girl brought you your coat?

Quels auteurs tu aimes le plus? -- Which authors do you like the most?
Quelles filles t'ont apporté ton manteau? -- Which girls brought you your coat?

Why is there sometimes an S on the end of Quel?

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passe-temps/hobby/dada

Is there any difference in meanings?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Olena,

For me, passe-temps is a  'pastime' . So it can be anything from 'regarder la télé' to 'philatélie' (stamp collecting), randonnées en vélo ( bike rides)..

I would have said that 'hobby' was also is its translation in English but it appears it has become to mean 'favourite pastime' in French.

'Dada' in this sense means an obsessive pastime.

Hope this helps!

merci, Cécile!

passe-temps/hobby/dada

Is there any difference in meanings?

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Quel/Qu'est-ce qu* - ?

In writing challenge "Problems at the hotel" - Quel est le problème?

I wrote "Qu'est-ce qui est le problème? - can this be correct as well?

Asked 1 year ago

Yes, that's fine. 

-- Chris. 

That's not my understanding. "Qu'est-ce qui est" is generally followed by an adjective or preposition. I think you should use "Quel est" with a noun.
Thank you Alan. That is the text book explanation.

Quel/Qu'est-ce qu* - ?

In writing challenge "Problems at the hotel" - Quel est le problème?

I wrote "Qu'est-ce qui est le problème? - can this be correct as well?

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JimA2

quel est l'homme que vous avez choisi

Asked 1 year ago
What is your question?

quel est l'homme que vous avez choisi

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when to use "quel(s), quelle(s) ?

Asked 1 year ago

Did you have a specific question? Because what you're asking is in general answered in the lesson. Can you give an example where you experience difficulties?

-- Chris. 

I understand that we use quel(s) quelle(s) when there is a choice, to mean "which person/thing", but in case of 'quelle est votre addresse?' here there is no choice, this is more of a definition, and it doen't sound like an adjective as well.. so why "quelle" and not "quoi"

Have a look at this site:

https://french.stackexchange.com/questions/5933/when-to-use-quel-or-quoi

-- Chris.

when to use "quel(s), quelle(s) ?

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GioA2

So just for clarification, "Quel garçon à jeté cette balle?" and "Qui à jeté cette balle?"

both are valid correct? It's just that "quel" requires the noun, and qui doesn't.
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer
Yes, Gio, that's correct. "Quel" would be translated as "which" and, just as in English, requires a noun to follow. "Qui" is "who" which can stand without a noun.

Quel garçon a jeté cette balle. -- Which boy threw this ball?
Qui a jeté cette balle. -- Who threw this ball?

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

So just for clarification, "Quel garçon à jeté cette balle?" and "Qui à jeté cette balle?"

both are valid correct? It's just that "quel" requires the noun, and qui doesn't.

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lesquels sont tes prefere -Which ones do you prefer? why "tes" when referring to "you" singular?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer
"Lesquelles sont tes préferées" or
"Lesquels sont tes préferés" -- Both mean which are those which you prefer? But more literally and probably clearer to understant the French connection would be: Which ones are your preferred ones?" Hence the subject is "Which ones = lesquelles/lesquels".

"Tes" needs to be in plural because it needs to match the plural form of "preferred ones = préferées/préferés".

In the first sentence you are talking about feminine things (e.g., chaussures) and in the latter about masculine things (e.g., chemins). But in either case you are talking about things in plural. This is indicated by "lesquelles/lesquels" (the plural form), "sont" (third person plural), tes (also plural) and "préferées/préferés" again plural.

So, to make it all hang together, it all needs to indicate the plural form.

Hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker)
thanks much

lesquels sont tes prefere -Which ones do you prefer? why "tes" when referring to "you" singular?

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Why is it bonnes resolutions if resolutions is feminine (from my test sentence using quelle)

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Win ! I don't understand your confusion here. As you said "résolutions" is a feminine and plural noun, therefore the adjective "bon" agree into "bonnes". I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Why is it bonnes resolutions if resolutions is feminine (from my test sentence using quelle)

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Verbs conjugate with auxillary avoir - past pariciples agreeing in number/gender.

Request: Need to know the situation (and also the lesson) when verbs conjugated with Verbs using "avoir" where past participle agrees with noun in gender and number as in" Quelles bonnes resolutions as-tu prises cette année ? Thanks.
Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq language super starCorrect answer
Hi Yellamara and Arash - yes, there are special cases where the past participle in French agrees even when avoir is the auxiliary verb: Special cases when the past participle agrees (in number & gender) when used with 'avoir' in Le Passé Composé">Special cases when the past participle agrees (in number & gender) when used with 'avoir' in Le Passé Composé">Special cases when the past participle agrees (in number & gender) when used with 'avoir' in Le Passé Composé">Special cases when the past participle agrees (in number & gender) when used with 'avoir' in Le Passé Composé

Hope that helps!
Hi Gruff, Thank you very much for prompt answer. I wanted to vote plus vote to express my appreciation but inadvertently pressed downward arrow. Sorry.

Verbs conjugate with auxillary avoir - past pariciples agreeing in number/gender.

Request: Need to know the situation (and also the lesson) when verbs conjugated with Verbs using "avoir" where past participle agrees with noun in gender and number as in" Quelles bonnes resolutions as-tu prises cette année ? Thanks.

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Quelles bonnes résolutions as-tu prises cette année?

Quelles bonnes résolutions as-tu prises cette année? Does the verb "pries" agrees with bonnes résolution?
Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq language super star
Hi Arash, the verb is "prendre" (past participle "pris") and yes, it does agree with gender and number here because of the placement of the object. See my answer above. Best wishes.

Quelles bonnes résolutions as-tu prises cette année?

Quelles bonnes résolutions as-tu prises cette année? Does the verb "pries" agrees with bonnes résolution?

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Getting that for you now.