what */*/*/

UK [wɒt] / US [wɑt] / US [hwɑt] adverb, determiner, interjection, predeterminer, pronoun
Summary:

What can be used in the following ways: - as a question pronoun (introducing a direct or indirect question): What do you want? Tell me what happened. - as a relative pronoun (starting a relative clause that is subject, object, or complement of another clause): She showed me what she had bought. - as a determiner (followed by a noun and introducing a question): What subjects are you studying? (followed by a noun and introducing a relative clause): I'll give you what money I have. - as a predeterminer (before "a", "an", or "the"): What a nuisance! - as an adverb: What does it matter? - as an interjection: What! You mean I've been wasting my time?
1) which thing
a) used for asking which thing, action, or idea something is, or which type of thing, action, or idea something is

What's your name?

What time is it?

What was the weather like?

I asked her what kind of music she liked.

People sometimes ask me what I'm going to do when I retire.

"I'm worried, Harry." "What about?"

b) used when someone knows or says which thing, action, or idea something is

I told him what the problem was.

She wasn't quite sure what she was going to say.

We suddenly realized what was happening.

I haven't even thought about what I'm going to wear to the dinner.

what to do/say/think etc:

Poor Kevin! He doesn't know what to do.

2) a particular thing used for referring to a particular thing, action, or idea

You haven't given me what I asked for.

What you need is a good long holiday.

What annoys me is the way he boasts about what he's done.

George always does his best, and that's what I like about him.

3) all of an amount used for referring to the whole amount that remains or is available

Tom eagerly finished up what was left of the champagne and chicken pie.

What little free time he had was spent with the family.

4) spoken used for emphasizing a quality used for introducing a remark in which you emphasize how big, good, bad etc someone or something is

What awful weather we've been having!

What a nice surprise!

What a nuisance for you, having to make all these changes.

5) spoken used for showing surprise used for showing that you are surprised or shocked by something that you have just heard or seen

What! Are they still in bed?

What! You mean he can't read or write?

6) spoken used when you did not hear what someone said used for asking someone to repeat what they have just said because you did not hear it clearly

"Turn the radio down, will you?" "What?"


Usage note:
It is more polite to say "pardon" or "I beg your pardon".
7) spoken used when you pause to think used when you pause to think because you are guessing a number or amount

You'll have to pay rent, which is, what, about £300 a month or something like that.

8) spoken used when someone calls your name used when someone has just called your name or shown that they want to speak to you, and you are asking them to continue

"Hey, Julie!" "What?" "Come here – I've got something to show you."

...and what have youspoken used for showing that you could also mention other things of the same kind

The problem is we're all so busy right now – with conferences and what have you.

or what?spoken used at the end of a question when you are impatient to find out what is really happening

Do you want to go down to the shops now, or what?

Is this guy stupid, or what?

so what?/what of it?spoken used for showing someone that you think a particular fact that they have mentioned is not important

"But they're living together and they aren't married." "Well, what of it?"

"She didn't invite us to the party." "So what? I don't care."

what about...?spoken used for making a suggestion; spoken used for reminding someone that a particular person or thing needs to be considered

What about a quick cup of coffee?

"When shall we next meet?" "What about Tuesday afternoon?"

What about Eileen? Shouldn't we invite her too?

"What about transport?" "That's all arranged."

what does it matter?/what does someone care? — mainly spoken used for showing that something is not important to you or to someone else

Of course, some people will criticize you, but what does it matter?

To hell with politics! What do I care about politics?

what if...? — mainly spoken used for asking what would happen in a particular situation, especially an unpleasant situation; mainly spoken used when you are making a helpful suggestion; mainly spoken used for showing that you think something is not important

What if something goes wrong?

It sounds like a good offer, but what if it's a trick?

What if I lend you the money?

Well, what if she's young as long as she's qualified to do the job.

what now?/now what?spoken used for asking what should be done next

The car won't start. Now what?

what's (up) with someone?spoken used for asking why someone is behaving in a strange way

What's up with David? Is he drunk or something?

what's (up) with something?spoken used for asking someone for an explanation about something

What's with this bill? I don't owe you any money.

you what?British

spoken used for asking someone to repeat what they have just said. This is not a polite expression. It is better to say pardon.



English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • what^ — what s up? …   Glossary of chat acronyms & text shorthand

  • what — W1S1 [wɔt US wa:t, wʌt] pron, determiner, predeterminer [: Old English; Origin: hwAt] 1.) used to ask for information or for someone s opinion ▪ What are you doing? ▪ What subjects did you enjoy most? ▪ What colour is the new carpet? ▪ What s… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • What — What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative pronoun,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What ho — What What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What if — What What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What of it — What What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What if? — (comics) What if? Éditeur Marvel Comics Format Série continue Date(s) de publication février 1977 octobre 1984 (Vol. 1) juillet 1989 novembre 1998 (Vol. 2) Numéros 47 (Vol. 1) 114 (Vol. 2) Scén …   Wikipédia en Français

  • what — [ wat, hwat ] function word *** What can be used in the following ways: as a question pronoun (introducing a direct or indirect question): What do you want? Tell me what happened. as a relative pronoun (starting a relative clause that is subject …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • what — 1. general. As a relative pronoun, what is an especially complex word because it can be either singular or plural and can refer both to words that have gone before and to words that come later in the sentence. In general it stands for a group of… …   Modern English usage

  • what — [hwut, hwät, wut, wät] pron. [ME hwat < OE hwæt, neut. of hwa, who < IE interrogative base * kwo , * kwe > WHERE, WHO, L qui, who what, Lith kàs, what, who] I as an interrogative: which thing, event, circumstance, etc.?: used to ask for… …   English World dictionary

  • What If? 2 — subtitled Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been , is a collection of twenty five essays dealing with counterfactual history. It was published by G.P. Putnam s Sons in 2001, ISBN 0 399 14795 0, and edited by Robert Cowley. It is the suc …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.