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If someone were to ask what your favorite band was, which of the following would be correct?

  1. Who is your favorite band?

  2. What is your favorite band?

I feel like this is obfuscated by groups named after the lead singer. For instance, "Dru Hill" or "Sisqo" would not be a proper answer to "What is your favorite band?" as they are individuals.

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  • 2
    "What is your favorite band?"...."The Who...." Aug 2, 2018 at 17:44
  • 2
    Obligatory Slappy Squirrel routine: Who's on stage?
    – 1006a
    Aug 2, 2018 at 19:10
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    To me, clearly, neither. "Which" would always be better. Why are you asking here, though? Why not somewhere more obvious, like English Language Learners? Aug 17, 2018 at 21:06
  • Robbie, I am very fluent in English, this is more of a fringe case in my opinion which is why it is here. It all started because a restaurant I frequent asked the question "Who is your favorite band?" on their cups. This started a discussion between my friends and I then I decided to bring it here as I thought it was interesting.
    – LWhitson2
    Aug 17, 2018 at 21:15

3 Answers 3

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A band is a group of people making music. A group is a thing or entity, not a person.

Ergo, "Which band is your favorite?"

And no who's, that's what Horton hears. [joke]

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Who is: singular (a band is a group of people).

Who are: awkward.

The correct way of putting it would therefore be:

What is your favorite band?

Or, if you truly wish to be anal about it:

What is the name of your favorite band?

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'Whom' is your favourite band might be the most awkward, but most correct, option.

As you are talking about 'bands' rather than string quartets, most answers will be skewed towards more conversational English, in which 'Who' is fine, and 'What' is strange as it objectifies: if you really love the band, you will treat them as individual people (who), not a collective noun (what).

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