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Korean grammar - What kind and which? - 무슨, 어떤 and 어느

What kind and which? - 무슨, 어떤 and 어느

Pattern: 무슨 + noun; 어떤 + noun; 어느 + noun

We have already seen the article 무엇 () meaning 'what'. It asks 'what' noun.

In contrast the particles 무슨, 어떤 and 어느 attach to a noun and ask 'what', 'what kind' or 'which' about that noun.

무슨: What + noun. Used when asking what the object is.

-- This has a harsh tone and should be avoided when referring to people.

어떤: What kind of + noun. Used when asking for characteristics of the object.

어느: Which (one) + noun. Used when selecting from a number of choices.

-- The particle 어느 is often used in conjunction with 중에서 which means 'from among these'.

무슨 맛 좋아해요?
What flavour do (you) like?

Implies infinite choice.

무슨 책이에요?
What book is that? (asking for a title)
어떤 영화 좋아해요?
What kind of movies do (you) like?

Asking for more detail or description than if you used 무슨

그 사람 어떤 사람이에요?
What kind of person is that person?

Using 무슨 is rude when asking about people because you know it's a person.

어느 쪽이에요?
Which direction is it?

Implies limited choice.

무슨 차를 사고 싶어요?
What car do (you) want to buy?
무슨 일이에요?
What is up (what matter)?

means 'matter', 'affair' or 'job'

이 중에서 어느 것을 좋아해요?
Which of (from among) these do (you) like?

중에서 means 'from amongst these'

무슨 냄새예요?
What is that smell?
무슨 영화를 보고 싶어요?
What movie do (you) want to see?

Implies infinite choice.

어느 것을 원하세요?
Which one do (you) want?

Implies limited choice.

어느 나라 사람이에요?
Which country are (you) from?

Literally 'Which country person are (you)?'

어느 선생님을 가장 좋아해요?
Which teacher do (you) like the most?

Implies 'which of your/our teachers'

어느 케이팝 그룹을 가장 좋아해요?
What is (your) favourite K-pop group?

케이팝 그룹 means 'K-Pop group'