What is the difference between the following interrogative structures?

  • What train are you going on/by?

  • Which train are you going on/by?

And which of the prepositions, given at the end of both structures, would be appropriate?


Practically speaking, they both mean the same thing. Perhaps if there were a number of trains at a station, someone would say "which" train, but "what" is also acceptable.

In terms of the preposition, I have heard both prepositions used.

Personally, I would say either "Which train are you taking?" or "Which train are you on?"

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  • As tchrist says, We are looking for more substantial answers with documented references, not merely [statements that may possibly be no more than] personal opinion. Those are just comments, not answers. But OP could Google "What train are you going by?" for themself (I'm not sure of their sex). However, these two questions are both duplicates. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 5 '15 at 12:23
  • @EdwinAshworth so, an acceptable documented reference is "according to a Google search..."? I mean this question seriously. I see answers by others that aren't referenced, so I'm not sure of the standard. – michael_timofeev Sep 5 '15 at 12:38
  • Raw Google data is almost always better than nothing, and can lead to perhaps better sources. I'd agree with your answers here, but we do get 'I have heard / I use' answers advocating non-standard usages. Here, in-house searches for 'which what' and 'going on going by' rapidly lead to duplicates. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 5 '15 at 13:56
  • @EdwinAshworth So this is why you asked which dictionary I was using yesterday...to keep opinion to a minimum? Ok, got it. – michael_timofeev Sep 5 '15 at 14:01

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