Which of the Following

Which of the Following: Definition + Complete Usage + Grammar

Welcome back to my English teaching page! Today I have a very important and practical subject to teach you.

Perhaps you have seen the phrase “which of the following” quite often in your English tests, but what does it mean exactly and why is it used in this way?

Are there any other ways to express such sense?

Follow me through this lesson to learn everything you need to know about it. After reading this lesson, I’m pretty sure you can make your own multiple-choice questions in the best way. Let’s begin!

 

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What does “which of the following” mean?

We often face this phrase in multiple answer questions in exams.

“Which of the following” is used to ask the reader to choose one or more answers that follow the question.

It actually refers to a list of items that come after the question. Following are a few examples of the use of this phrase in English tests.

 

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Examples:

  • Which of the following is a preposition?
  • Which of the following is correct?
  • Which of the following is incorrect?
  • Which of the following are adverbs?

Is it correct to use “which of the followings”?

The answer is a strict ‘No’. that is because “the following” means “the next”, so it can not be pluralized.

Actually, “following” is an ‘adjective’ and we cannot make adjectives plural. Let’s take the example of “sunny” as an adjective.

We can never make it plural and say “sunnies”. Therefore, “which of the following” is always used in this fixed way.

“Which of the following is” or “which of the following are”?

Actually, both are correct, but there are important grammatical points to consider about each of them.

When we use singular verb after “the following”, we are asking the reader to choose ‘only one answer’ from the list of options. Look at the following examples to understand this better.

Examples:

Which of the following is a reptile?

  • Lizard
  • Seal
  • Bear
  • Dog

Which of the following is a winter sport?

  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Skating
  • Swimming

Which of the following is not a flying bird?

  • Chicken
  • Swallow
  • Sparrow
  • Crow

As you see in all of these questions, we are asking the reader to choose only one of the answers. Actually, there is only one correct answer to choose.

We use “which of the following are” when we want the reader to choose more than one item of the list.

For example, there can be more than one correct answer or there may be no ‘right or wrong’ answers, but we only want to know the preference of the reader, like in psychological tests. Let’s check a few examples to understand this better.

 

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Examples:

which of the following are mammals?

  • Bear
  • Sheep
  • Snake
  • Bat

Which of the following are summer activities?

  • Swimming
  • Mountain climbing
  • Skiing
  • Hocky

Which of the following are adverbs of time?

  • Never
  • Always
  • Now
  • Here

As you see in the above questions there are more than one correct answer. Therefore, we use “are” after “the following”.

As I mentioned earlier, “which of the following are” can also be used when there are no right or wrong answers, but we just want to know the preferences of the reader.

For example, many psychological tests use this phrase to encourage the reader to choose one or more of the offered options.

Examples:

Which of the following hobbies do you like the most?

  • Reading
  • Partying
  • Going out for a walk
  • Listening to music

Which of the times of day are you most energetic?

 

  • Morning
  • Noon
  • Evening
  • Midnight

Which of the following ways do you prefer to spend your spare time?

  • Reading a book
  • Going for a walk
  • Shopping
  • Visiting a friend

Which of the following types of movies do you prefer to watch?

  • Romantic
  • Horror
  • Fiction
  • Science fiction

In all of the above questions the reader can choose one or more options and there is no limitation for them.

Can we use “which of the below” instead?

Well, the phrase “which of the below” is grammatically incorrect. That is because ‘below’ is an adverb.

However, there is one way to use ‘below’ in this phrase. We need to add a plural noun before ‘below’. Take a look at the following example to get this better.

 

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Example:

Which of the answers below is right?

Here, the plural noun ‘answers’ has come before ‘below’. So, this question is grammatically correct. Let’s look at a few other examples.

Examples:

  • Which of the items below is a carpentry tool?
  • Which of the sentences below is grammatically incorrect?
  • Which of the options below suit your interest best?
  • Which of the countries below is the greenest?

“Which of the following + plural noun”

We are free to use or not use a plural noun after “which of the following” because the meaning would not be lost. Look at the following examples to learn this better.

  • Which of the following tools is a carpentry tool?
  • Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?
  • Which of the following options suits your interest best?
  • Which of the following countries is the greenest?

As you see, in all of these questions, if we omit the plural noun that has come after ‘the following’, nothing happens to the meaning.

That is because ‘the following’ by itself conveys the meaning of plurality. It shows that next comes a list of options.

Synonyms for “which of the following”

So, let’s learn some other phrases you can use instead of “which of the following”.

  • Which of the (plural noun) below
  • Which of these (plural noun, e.g., options/ items)
  • Which one
  • Which answer
  • How many of these (plural noun)
  • How many of the following (plural noun)
  • Can you name the
  • Are there any here that

Tips For Proper Usage of “Which of the Following”

When creating your own multiple-choice questions, you need to have in mind a few simple but important notes. Here are some tips for using the phrase “Which of the following?” correctly.

1. Make a comprehensive list of options that includes all possible answers to the question.

2. Be careful to list options that are mutually exclusive – that is, that only one of the options can be chosen. Of course, this tip is applicable when you are creating questions that ask the reader to choose only one answer.

3. Create the question in a way that the respondent can provide an informed answer.

4. Use clear and concise language when providing the list of options.

5. Avoid using slang or jargon in the question and the list of options.

 

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Concluding note

So, today I tried to teach you all you need to know about ‘which of the following”. I told you about its meaning and usage.

I then explained to you the difference between “which of the following” and “which of the followings”.

As I explained in detail, the second phrase with “followings” is grammatically incorrect. We also learnt the difference between “which of the following is” and “which of the following are”.

We learnt that both of these phrases are correct to use but their usage is different according to the purpose of the question. Following these, I talked about the phrase “which of the below” and why it is grammatically incorrect.

I also told you about the correct way to use this phrase instead of “which of the following”.

Next, I talked about using a plural noun after “which of the following” and its grammatical point. In the end, I provided a list of synonyms for “which of the following”.

Now that you learned everything about this subject, go on to make your own multiple-choice questions and lists of answers.

I’m sure you are now ready to do this. Make sure to contact me here on this page to ask your questions. I will be ready to answer and guide you. Visit my page for more interesting English lessons!

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Hi there, welcome to my website! I’m Omid and now you are reading the text of a passionate teacher. I’ve been teaching the English language for about 12 years while applying different updated methods of teaching. It’s my absolute pleasure that you are visiting my website. Here we go with the hope of improving your English language capabilities using various methods. Let’s learn English together here.