Well, me again.
Today I come up with a question:

Quel est ..?


Qu'est-ce que ..

This seems to be easy to answer. But compared with English usage, they seem different.
Firstly, we know "quel" means which and "que" means what. Obviously we ask "What is the price?" when we buy things. But on the contrary, we use "Quel" in French like "Quel est le prix?".
I find this very interesting because I find it philosophical.
And here is my explanation. When we use "which", It indicates that we are going to pick up certain items in a set. And when we use "what", It denotes that we want to figure out the feature of our target.
And my question is: Why it is totally converse in English and French? Is it due to the habit of the usage or the convenience of pronunciation or some other reasons?
I really want to know this, any help will be appreciated, thanks for your time!

  • Please capitalize languages in English. Also, avoid non-standard forms like gonna and wanna. Why are you comparing French to English when English is not your native language? Because of this, your question is quite confusing...You need to post your sample sentences clearly. I can't understand your question at all. [Today, I came up with a question].
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 30, 2022 at 19:24
  • @Lambie, thanks. I've changed those words as you mentioned. As for you question, I make the comparison because I find it easier to learn French this way. Thanks anyway, I will take care next time.
    – Eric
    Commented Jan 30, 2022 at 19:36
  • quel does not mean which in Quel est le prix? [for something] It is: What's the price [for x]? Unless the English is completely clear in your mind, you cannot do this thing this way. It will not work....so, your first statement is inaccurate. I think one should always learn a third language via one's native language and not through a second language. – La
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 30, 2022 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


When we ask for a price, we rarely if ever say Quel est le prix ? unless something follows (e.g. Quel est le prix d'une chambre d'hôtel au Ritz ?)

The usual questions when you ask it to a vendor are:

  • Combien ça coûte ?

  • C'est combien ?

  • Ça coûte combien ?

  • C'est quoi, le prix ?

I see no way for Qu'est ce que to be used in such a context. If you say Qu'est ce (c'est) que le prix ?, the reply would be: That's an amount of money you need to give to the vendor to purchase the object.

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