I do not know which one to choose. Grammar rules sometimes seem not to be enough. Could you help me?
1. Have you ever prescribed any tests for diagnostic purposes? What was the result?
(NB: I am not sure whether what is the right pronoun. Would you
use which here?)
2. Do you know if the Life Assured has seen other doctors? If so, which?
(NB: again here my doubt regards which - should it be what doctors
3. Has the Life Assured been hospitalized in a medical institution, sanatorium,
hospital or the like? When and for what illness?
(NB: what illness / which illness????)
Posted 10 January 2002
In example 1, what is the correct pronoun in this case. Use what,
not which, when there is unlimited choice, when the possibilities
are endless. The number of possible results is infinite.
Even though in this case there might be only two possible results - positive
or negative - what is the usual word to go with "result." You
might use which if you have already identified a small number
of the results, and those are the ones you are referring to:
the two labs sent back contradictory results? Which result
are you going to accept?
In example 2, you could say "which ones" or "which." You
could also say "which doctors," but since you have just mentioned
"doctors," "ones" is a comfortable substitute. You could also use "who," although "who" refers
more to the identity of the individual, and the question is asking for
the identity of the doctors.
In example 3, you can use "what illness" if the choice of illnesses
is wide. Use "which illness" if the choice is small. You
would know if the choice is small from the previous context. In this
seems as though the possibilities are infinite for any kind of illness,
so "what illness" sounds perfect.