The Difference Between Который and Какой

To connect sentences that have more than one clause, we use relative pronouns. The relative pronouns in English are who, whom, which, that, and whose. What about Russian language? Have you ever heard some of these Russian relative pronouns: который, какой, кто, что, чей, and сколько?

For now, we will focus on learning about который and какой. These two relative pronouns have the same meaning ‘which’. This can be used to refer a person, animal, idea, or things. But although it looks similar, there is a difference between который and какой.

The function of который/-ая/-ое/-ые

This relative pronoun is used to refer a choice between a particular object and a list of possibilities. It also has a function to connect clauses. The declension который is depended on the number, gender, and cases. To find out how to change который into Russian cases, you can learn it by visiting genitive case, dative case, accusative case, and prepositional case.

For Example:

  • Я не понимаю девушку, которая не любит мороженое.
    (Ya ne ponimayu devushku, kotoraya ne lyubit morozhenoye)
    I do not understand a girl who does not like ice cream.
  • Я ищу человека, которого я видела вчера.
    (Ya ishchu cheloveka, kotorogo ya videla vchera)
    I’m looking for the person that I saw yesterday.

Note : Который in this sentence change to которого because the subject is in the accusative case. This comes from two sentences:

– Я ищу человека (Accusative case)

– Я видела его вчера

  • Который вам понравился?
    (Kotoryy vam ponravilsya?)
    Which one do you like?
  • Первый
  • (Pervyy)
  • First.

The function of какой/-ая/-ое/-ые

Besides which, какой also can mean what and how. Basically, какой can use overly replace который that describes the adjectives of the subject. For example: большой (large), красивый (beautiful), красный (red). But there are some things that make this relative pronoun not replaceable. Какой is used to refer to the quality, more abstract things, and an option that is not present. Same as который, the declension of какой is depend on the number, gender, and also cases.


  • Какая у тебя школа? Большой.
    (Kakaya u tebya shkola? Bol’shoy)
    How is your school? Big.
  • Какой из цветов платья более красивый, черный или синий?
    (Kakoy iz tsvetov plat’ya boleye krasivyy, chernyy ili siniy?)
    Which of the colors of the dress is more beautiful, black or blue?
  • Какое было вчера число?
    (Kakoye bylo vchera chislo?)
    What was yesterday’s date?
  • Какой телевизор бы ты купила?
    (Kakoy televizor by ty kupila?)
    What kind of TV would you buy?
  • Какой это прекрасный день!
    (Kakoy eto prekrasnyy den’!)
    What a beautiful day!

That is the explanation of который and какой. Since these relatives pronouns can be associated with color, ordinal and cardinal number, try to improve your vocabulary by memorizing some new vocabulary every day. Learning by studying family phrases can also be a good idea to learn Russian in a fun way. Keep practicing.

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