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English definition of “what”

what

pronoun (THAT WHICH)    /wɒt/ US  /wɑːt/
B1 the thing(s) which; that which: What I wanted to find out first was how long it was going to take. What really concerned her was how unhappy the child was. She wouldn't tell me what he said. I hadn't got much money on me but I gave them what I had. The letter showed clearly what they were planning. I can't decide what to do next. Have you thought about what to send as a present?Relative forms used to introduce something you are going to say: You'll never guess what - Laurie won first prize! I'll tell you what - we'll collect the parcel on our way to the station.Relative forms Grammar:Questions: interrogative pronouns (what, who)We use interrogative pronouns to ask questions. They are: who, which, whom, what and whose. These are also known as wh-words. Questions using these are called wh-questions:See moreGrammar:Interrogative pronouns: usesWe use who and whom on their own:See moreGrammar:WhatWhat is a wh-word. We use what to ask questions and as a pronoun and determiner.See moreGrammar:What as a question wordWe can use what to ask for information about things and actions:See moreGrammar:What meaning ‘please repeat’We can use what in informal situations to ask someone to repeat something if we don’t hear it or understand it:See moreGrammar:Emphatic questions with whatever and what on earthWe can ask emphatic questions using whatever or what on earth to express shock or surprise. We stress ever and earth:See moreGrammar:What as a pronounWe can use what as a pronoun to mean ‘the thing(s) that’:See moreGrammar:What as a determinerWe can use what in exclamations to express a strong feeling or opinion. In this case, we use what as a determiner before a noun or before a/an (+ adjective) + noun:See moreGrammar:What … for?We can use what … for? in two ways. We can use it in informal situations to mean why?:See moreGrammar:What: typical errorsSee more
(Definition of what pronoun (THAT WHICH) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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