Why vs Which - What's the difference?

why | which |


As nouns the difference between why and which

is that why is reason or why can be (uk|dialect) a young heifer while which is an occurrence of the word which .

As an adverb why

is for what cause, reason, or purpose.

As an interjection why

is an exclamation used to express indignation, mild surprise, or impatience "well, i'll tell you".

As a determiner which is

what, of those mentioned or implied (used interrogatively ).

As a pronoun which is

(lb) who; whom; what (of those mentioned or implied).

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?

why

English

(wikipedia why)

Etymology 1

From (etyl), from (etyl) . See (l).

Adverb

(-)
  • For what cause, reason, or purpose.
  • #
  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Why did you do that?
  • I don’t know why he did that
  • Tell me why the moon changes phase.
  • #
  • Why spend money on something you already get for free?
  • Why not tell him how you feel?
  • #
  • Why''' him? '''Why not someone taller?
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Welcome to the plastisphere , passage=Plastics are energy-rich substances, which is why many of them burn so readily. Any organism that could unlock and use that energy would do well in the Anthropocene. Terrestrial bacteria and fungi which can manage this trick are already familiar to experts in the field.}}
    Synonyms
    * how come, wherefore

    Noun

    (en noun)
  • reason
  • A good article will cover the who, the what, the when, the where, the why and the how .
    Synonyms
    * wherefore

    Interjection

    (en interjection)
  • An exclamation used to express indignation, mild surprise, or impatience. "Well, I'll tell you...".
  • * Daniel Defoe
  • Why , child, I tell thee if I was thy mother I would not disown thee; don't you see I am as kind to you as if I was your mother?”
    Derived terms
    * whyever * why in God's name * why not * why on Earth * whys and wherefores * why the Devil * why the dickens * why the fuck

    Etymology 2

    Noun

    (whies)
  • (UK, dialect) A young heifer.
  • (Grose)

    Statistics

    *

    which

    English

    (wikipedia which)

    Alternative forms

    * whiche (obsolete) * wich (Jamaican English)

    Determiner

    (en determiner)
  • What, of those mentioned or implied (used interrogatively ).
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-17, volume=408, issue=8849, magazine=(The Economist), author=Schumpeter
  • , title= In praise of laziness , passage=Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster.}}
  • (interrogative) What one or ones (of those mentioned or implied).
  • (relative) The one or ones that.
  • (relative) The one or ones mentioned.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= Katrina G. Claw
  • , title= Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm , volume=101, issue=3, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Many genes with reproductive roles also have antibacterial and immune functions, which indicate that the threat of microbial attack on the sperm or egg may be a major influence on rapid evolution during reproduction.}}
  • Used of people (now generally (who), (whom) or (that)).
  • * 1526 , (William Tyndale), trans. Bible , Acts IX:
  • The men which acompanyed him on his waye stode amased, for they herde a voyce, butt sawe no man.

    Pronoun

    (English Pronouns)
  • (lb) Who; whom; what (of those mentioned or implied).
  • :
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=2 , passage=Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke.
  • *
  • *:There was a neat hat-and-umbrella stand, and the stranger's weary feet fell soft on a good, serviceable dark-red drugget, which matched in colour the flock-paper on the walls.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Welcome to the plastisphere , passage=Plastics are energy-rich substances, which is why many of them burn so readily. Any organism that could unlock and use that energy would do well in the Anthropocene. Terrestrial bacteria and fungi which can manage this trick are already familiar to experts in the field.}}

    Usage notes

    * (US usage'') Some authorities insist, prescriptively, that relative ''which'' should be used only in non-restrictive contexts. For restrictive contexts (e.g., ''The song that made the charts in 2004 is better than the later ones''), they prefer ''that''. Actual usage does not support this "rule". Fowler, who proposed the rule, himself acknowledged that it was "not the practice of most or of the best writers". Even E.B. White, a notorious "which-hunter", wrote this: "the premature expiration of a pig is, I soon discovered, a departure which the community marks solemnly on its calendar." In modern UK usage, ''The song which made the charts in 2004 is better than the later ones is generally accepted without question. * When "which" (or the other relative pronouns "who" and "that") is used as the subject of a relative clause, the verb agrees with the antecedent of the pronoun. Thus "The thing which is...", "The things which are...", etc.

    Quotations

    * 1611 — 1:1 *: Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us...

    Derived terms

    * every which way * every which where * whichever * whichness * whichsoever

    Noun

    (es)
  • An occurrence of the word which .
  • * 1959 , William Van O'Connor, Modern prose, form and style (page 251)
  • The ofs and the whiches have thrown our prose into a hundred-years' sleep.
  • * 1989 , Donald Ervin Knuth, Tracy Larrabee, Paul M. Roberts, Mathematical writing (page 90)
  • Is it not true, TLL asked of Mary-Claire, that people invariably get their whiches and thats right when they speak?