Although I've never heard "what one(s)?" before. But if we talk about many elements, I think that "what" should be used.


A: Do you know that hotel in London?

B: What one?

I believe there are many hotels in London, so, "what one" should be used.

2 Answers 2


I think you've never heard it because it's not common English. Most people would not understand what you're saying if you say "what one." In this situation, I think you should not substitute with "one" at all, e.g. "what hotel?" But since there are specific hotels already in London, "which one?" would still make more sense.

  • I disagree that most people would not understand ‘what one’. It’s somewhat common colloquially in the UK, particularly among young people (though of course still nowhere near as common as ‘which one’), and I would venture that any native speaker would easily understand the phrase, even if they deem it ungrammatical or odd. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 22:19

If the answer to your question is going to be along the lines of "the one next to the station", "the one on the table", "the one xxx", then your question should be which rather than what.

Which implies that you've already got a list of elements and you're trying to pick the right one.

  • 1
    -1 Since this is an English Language and Usage site, please write in standard English format with proper sentences and capitalisation.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 23:30
  • I don’t know that I believe that. It’s really hard to devise a context in which “What one?” would ever be preferred over ”Which one?” — at least for me.
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 0:04

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