“Which of the following” is a good way for us to set up a question about specific things. It’s common for nouns to follow “following,” but you need to know everything there is about using it. This article will explain what you need to understand.
What Does “Which Of The Following” Mean?
“Which of the following” asks someone to answer a multiple-choice question. There will usually be a noun after “which of the following” like “things” or “answers,” and we will ask the reader to try and work out which one is correct based on a list.
We could see it as follows:
- Question: Which of the following items is the most expensive?
- Answers: Apples, pears, oranges, bananas
To answer a question like that, you’d need more context (i.e. which store are the prices based on). But that’s generally how we use “which of the following.”
It always refers to a multiple-choice question. However, there doesn’t always have to be one correct answer.
Examples Of How To Use “Which Of The Following” In A Sentence
Here are a few more examples that should help you understand more about it:
- Which of the following pieces of information is the most relevant to what we’re looking for?
- Which of the following answers would you give me if I were to ask you about your day?
- Which of the following is the easiest way to cross the bridge?
- Which of the following are the answers to the question about where to get off on this bus?
- Which of the following members of society is the one who is in the most danger currently?
- Which of the following TV shows are currently hosted on NBC?
- Which of the following news sites do you tend to visit to find out about local situations?
“Which of the following” is a simple question we use to ask for answers. They are usually followed by multiple-choice answers, and the reader can give one or more answers depending on what we are looking for from the question.
Does “Which Of The Following” And “Which Of The Below” Mean The Same?
“Which of the following” asks someone to answer a question based on examples. “Which of the below” is grammatically incorrect because “below” is an adverb. We would need to write “which of the answers below” or use some other noun to describe them.
As long as the extra noun is present, the following are both correct:
- Which of the following answers is right?
- Which of the answers below is right?
We can use “following” and “below” in very similar ways when we’re trying to look for multiple-choice answers.
It might help if you take a look at a few more examples to see how they work:
- Which of the following situations is the one that applies to you most?
- Which of the situations below is the one that applies to you most?
- Which of the following is your strongest asset?
- Which of the assets below is your strongest?
- Which of the following are the candidates for government office?
- Which of the candidates below are for government office?
As you can see, the questions are almost identical in wording. The only thing you need to pay attention to is the position of the noun.
The noun toward the end of the question with “which of the following,” but it comes directly before “below” with “which of the below.”
Is It “Which Of The Following” Or “Which Of The Followings”?
Some people think that you can swap the singular form of “following” with “followings” when you want to refer to multiple answers. However, this isn’t quite how it works.
“Which of the following” is the only grammatical correct variation. We must write it in this way because “following” is an adjective relative to the noun that comes after it. Adjectives cannot be pluralized in this way, so “which of the followings” is incorrect.
Here are a couple of examples to help you remember:
- Correct: Which of the following is correct?
- Incorrect: Which of the followings are incorrect?
Is “Which Of The Following” Used To Specify One Or Multiple Correct Answers?
So, how exactly do we refer to multiple answers? Well, “which of the following” already gives us the chance to do this.
“Which of the following” works to specify one or multiple correct answers. We typically include “is” after the noun form when we only want one answer or “are” after the form when we’re looking for two or more.
- Question: Which of the following fruits is your favorite?
- Answers: Apple, banana, orange, grape
Here, we are making it clear that we’re looking for only one answer. Using “is” is a great way to show that we only want a singular answer.
- Question: Which of the following fruits are your favorites?
- Answers: Apple, banana, orange, grape
The answers are the same, but the question makes use of “are” and “favorites” (in the plural form). This shows that we can select multiple different answers if we’re not quite sure what our overall favorite option is.
Is It “Which Of The Following Is” Or “Which Of The Following Are”?
We’ve briefly touched on this already, but let’s clarify our meaning.
“Which of the following is” and “which of the following are” both work. We use “is” when we only want a single answer because we are only looking for a singular thing. We use “are” when we’re looking for multiple answers and asking about plural things.
The difference is subtle, but it’s something that many native speakers can pick up on. Therefore, it is useful to make sure you can remember the difference between “is” and “are” when you see them written down like this.
“Which Of The Following” – Synonyms
Finally, let’s check out some synonyms that we can use to replace the question “which of the following.” These all still work to ask a multiple-choice question:
- Which of the (noun) below
- Which of these answers
- Of these, what
- Which one
- Which answer
- How many of these
- Can you name the
- Are there any here that
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.