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

Varsha

Kwiziq community member

8 November 2018

2 replies

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 November 2018

8/11/18

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 ! 

Varsha

Kwiziq community member

9 November 2018

9/11/18

Merci Aurélie

Varsha

Kwiziq community member

5 November 2018

2 replies

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 ?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

14 November 2018

14/11/18

Aurélie answered...

Varsha

Kwiziq community member

15 November 2018

15/11/18

Oui Madame

Samantha

Kwiziq community member

8 October 2018

1 reply

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

8 October 2018

8/10/18

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?

Olena

Kwiziq community member

9 August 2018

2 replies

passe-temps/hobby/dada

Is there any difference in meanings?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

11 August 2018

11/08/18

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!

Olena

Kwiziq community member

11 August 2018

11/08/18

merci, Cécile!

Dragana

Kwiziq community member

10 July 2018

3 replies

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?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 July 2018

16/07/18

Yes, that's fine. 

-- Chris. 

Alan

Kwiziq community member

17 July 2018

17/07/18

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.

Dragana

Kwiziq community member

17 July 2018

17/07/18

Thank you Alan. That is the text book explanation.

Jim

Kwiziq community member

2 June 2018

1 reply

quel est l'homme que vous avez choisi

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 June 2018

4/06/18

What is your question?

garen

Kwiziq community member

10 February 2018

3 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

10 February 2018

10/02/18

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. 

garen

Kwiziq community member

11 February 2018

11/02/18

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"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 February 2018

14/02/18

Have a look at this site:

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

-- Chris.

Gio

Kwiziq community member

28 January 2018

2 replies

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.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

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).

Nataly

Kwiziq community member

21 March 2018

21/03/18

Peggy

Kwiziq community member

29 October 2017

2 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

30 October 2017

30/10/17

"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)

Peggy

Kwiziq community member

30 October 2017

30/10/17

thanks much

Win

Kwiziq community member

20 June 2017

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

20 June 2017

20/06/17

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 !
Thinking...