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If we want to know the exact kind of a group of brids, should we say:

A: "What is the kind of these birds?"

or

B: "What kind of birds are these birds"?

If the questions above are phrased correctly, then there is a new question raised. Suppose there are three kinds of birds: A, B, and C, and the kind C is facing extinction. If we want to know the name of the kind that is facing extinction, how should we ask:

A: What kind of birds is facing extinction?

or

B: What kind of birds are facing extinction?

or

C: Which kind of birds is facing extinction?

Which one is correct?

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1  
This is several unrelated questions in one, at least two of them duplicates of existing questions. See “Which” vs. “what” — what's the difference and when should you use one or the other? and Can “what kind” be plural? –  RegDwigнt Dec 6 '12 at 10:37

1 Answer 1

  • What kind of bird is this?
  • What kind of birds are these? [EDIT]
  • What kind of bird are these? (for a flock of identical birds) [EDIT]
  • What kinds of birds are these? (assumes two or more different types of birds)
  • What kinds of birds are facing extinction? (assumes two or more different types of birds)
  • Which kind of bird is facing extinction? (assumes the three birds in the question, not the entire spectrum of bird species) [EDIT]
  • Which of these three kinds of birds is facing extinction? (same as above) [EDIT]
  • Which kinds of birds are facing extinction? (assumes a limited choice, say, 25 on a page, not the entire spectrum of bird species) [EDIT]

[Thanks to J.R., StoneyB, and Andrew Leach for the information in the EDITs].

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All those, plus, Which kind of bird is facing extinction? (assumes two or more kinds of birds, presumably only one of which is facing extinction) –  J.R. Dec 6 '12 at 10:26
    
Which is correct if we have a limited choice, say, for example, a page with pictures of 25 different species. If there's no context, then what is correct because there are too many species to choose from. –  user21497 Dec 6 '12 at 10:28
    
@StoneyB: I just edited the answer to question. –  user21497 Dec 6 '12 at 10:33
1  
Lends real substance to "The Reader Over Your Shoulder" doesn't it! ... I'm deleting my comments. –  StoneyB Dec 6 '12 at 10:34
    
And What kind of bird are these? (for a flock of identical birds) –  Andrew Leach Dec 6 '12 at 10:44

protected by RegDwigнt Dec 24 '12 at 17:01

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