It seems like they both mean "which." I know the combination of такой (же)…какой implies similarity, so is that the basic difference? In other words, does using какой over который in a sentence imply some sort of similarity in the things being discussed?

  • 2
    About "такой (же)…какой", this form is not used widely (not sure if it is used at all). If you want to compare things and show their similarity in some property - it is "такой же...как" . "Он такой же умный, как и ты" - "He is as smart as you are". As for your example, you can say "Он такой же обаятельный, как и умный", here you compare two qualities o the same person: "He is as charming as he is smart" (not sure how to say it correctly in English). But it sounds more modern and better if you use brief forms and "так... как" - "Он так же обаятелен, как и умён".
    – Highstaker
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


"Который" is used when there is a specific set of objects, and you want to choose one:


  1. Какой по порядку, по счёту?
  2. Какой именно, какой из нескольких? отт. Кто именно, кто из нескольких?
  3. Употребляется как союзное слово, присоединяя изъяснительные и определительные придаточные предложения.

So, it is possible to answer "- Который тебе понравился? - Первый". Or "- Который? - Этот"

"- Здесь есть синий, красный и фиолетовый плащи. Который тебе понравился? - Синий." Note that in the last example the "blue one" is one of the possible choices.

"Какой" is more abstract - this is a question about some qualities:

КАКО́Й, какая, какое, мест. 1. вопросительное. Обозначает вопрос о качестве и свойстве. К какому выводу вы пришли? Какой ваш любимый цвет? Какая сегодня погода?

Basically "какой" in many cases can be used instead of "который", but "который" always means that there is a set of possible options, while answering on "какой" you may talk about imaginary things or about options that are currently not present.

-- Какой смартфон бы ты купил?

-- Я бы купил смартфон, который можно неделю не заряжать.

As Higstaker mentioned in comment, the 3rd meaning that both "which" and "который" have in common, but is not present in "какой" is "союзное слово, присоединяя изъяснительные и определительные придаточные предложения":

Smartphone which costs less. = Смартфон который стоит меньше.

A comission was created which began to investigate the accident. = Создана комиссия, которая приступила к расследованию обстоятельств катастрофы.

You cannot use "какая" or "какой" in these examples.

  • You may also mention the use of "который" as in "Физика - это наука, которая изучает..." ("Physics is a science that studies...")
    – Highstaker
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 9:25
  • @Highstaker this actually is an example of a relative clause.
    – Viridianus
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 20:38

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