Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between How and What

How vs What

“How” and “what” are used for questioning. The answers that are obtained from these questions are different from each other.

Usages as an Adverb

In what manner? For example, How did she fall?
To what degree? For example, How hurt is his leg?
In what condition? For example, How is he?
What is the effect or meaning? For example, How could she understand his plans?
A specific way to use a title or name. For example, How should one salute the king?
The quantity or the price. For example, How much are the bananas?

Usages as Conjunctions

The manner in which, for example, He could never understand how to throw a ball.
Condition, for example, He does not care how she does it but hopes she does it right.
However, for example, He can play how he likes.
That, for example, She told everybody how she could dance.

Usages as Idioms
Is he unhappy? And how! Using “how” as a toast; “Here’s how,” etc.

“What” is used in many ways, and in this article we are trying to include many usages but not all.

Usages as a Pronoun

It is used for some information about a person or origin of something. For example, What is her name? What are those animals?
To inquire about the usefulness or importance of something. For example, What is wealth without health?
A request to repeat information. For example, Sorry, you said what?
To ask for a price. For example, What did it cost?
That which. For example, We will return what was promised to you.
Whatever. For example, Let her say what she wants.
The kind of person or thing that exists. For example, They are exactly what we expected them to be.
It indicates something more to be added or followed. For example, Should he play or what?
Exclamatory phrases. For example, What coincidence?

Usages as a Noun

It shows the true nature or sum of something. For example, Whats and hows of the education world.

Usages as an Adjective

Used before nouns. For example, What books shall I take?

Usages as an Adverb

How much? For example, What does it cost?
Why? For example, For what purpose?

Usages as an Interjection

For exclamatory expressions. For example, What, no sugar?

Usages as a Conjunction

As much as. For example, They teach me what they can.

Usages as Idioms
There are many idioms with “what” like, “but what.” For example, Who knows but what the day might bring? So what. For example, What is he doing that for?


1.“What” and “how” are both interrogative words and used for interrogation. The questions they answer are different. 2.“How” answers questions like, in what manner? Or in which way? Whereas, “what” answers questions which ask about the identity of a person or thing or source of something. Sometimes it answers a specific question about something particular. There are many usages, and one can understand them by going through the examples.

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