Which is correct: "What's a nice place to go shopping?" or "Where's a nice place to go shopping?"

Why do we use "What's?" and not "Where's?"

  • 2
    Subtle. "What's a nice place" generally would imply a query for a specific store. "Where's a nice place" could mean that, or could be asking someone to name a street or shopping center or even a town. – Hot Licks Dec 13 '15 at 1:48

The answer is very simple:

  1. What's a nice place to go shopping?: You use this when you are making a general enquiry about a nice place for shopping.

  2. Where's a nice place to go shopping?: You use this when you are asking someone about the location of a nice place for shopping.

  • In American English this distinction is not so clear cut. – NES Dec 13 '15 at 4:03

"What's a nice place to go shopping" sounds like a request for a specific store, as if the asker is looking for a place carrying a specific type of goods. "Where's a nice place to go shopping" sounds like a request for directions to the shopping district in general.


The word, "what's or what is" is asking somebody what is a nice place to shop like a shopping center or mall. The word, "where's or where is is asking for direction to that receivers own personally nice place to shop.. Read that and then break the grouped words out rewrite the sentence then read the sentence out loud and the out loud . Bring those words down and rewrite the sentences and say them out loud and tell you understand the differences between a compound word and


"What's a nice place to go shopping?" is completely acceptable, but technically incorrect. You ask, "why do we use "What's?" and not "Where's?" I would contend that "we" don't necessarily. Though I am not surprised it gets used and is just one of thousands of colloquialisms and is completely fine.

The technical problem with "what's" is best observed by answering the question literally:

Q: "What's a nice place to go shopping?"

A: A commercial, retail center in a populated and thriving urban or suburban district. Though I prefer factory outlets myself.

Edit: After reading other answers that seem to be trying to discern some nuance I want to add: there isn't any nuance. "What's" is just flat wrong, grammatically, for getting the assumed, desired info as to where, specifically is a good place to for the questioner to go to buy things. When you ask "what is" (something) you are, technically asking what is the essence of the object, not in any way asking where that thing can be found. Though, again, it is completely acceptable as a colloquialism since the gist of the ambition of the question is not hard to figure out, especially in opposition to the absurdity of someone asking "what is the essence of a nice place to shop?" (unless of course they were alien or AI.

Think like this:

"What is an archipelago?" I assume most people would answer with a description of the essence of an archipelago.

"Where is an archipelago?" You'd tell them where one is located.

"What's a nice place to go shopping?" is decidedly 100% wrong (at least far as the intention is to get information as to where is a nice place to go shopping). It is absolutely fine, though and is one of the myriad ways in which we colloquialize English, a practice of which I am quite fond of and wholly support. Just so long as everybody being addressed is "gettin' it," and the OP's usage is completely gettable, if still officially, "wrong".

  • "Where is a nice place to go shopping?" "On the corner of Main and Valley." If you're too literal, you can answer any question wrong. – Peter Shor Jul 10 '16 at 17:16

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