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If someone is talking about something, saying:

I don't like the [list]

I'd like to ask "which list" in German. It's "die Liste", so I should ask:

Welch-e [Liste]?

Am I right?

In general, is it like adding the ending of the word [something] to the end of "welch-"?

Another instance would be:

Der [Mann] war affig

Welch-er [Mann]?

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2  
You can ask "Was für eine [Liste]?" and "Was für ein [Mann]?", too, although most people would agree that "Welche(r)...?" sounds more elegant. –  Landei Mar 2 '12 at 18:58
    
Additionally, you can use "welch" for "was für ein" (z.B., "Welch ein großes Problem!") or for "einige" (z.B., "Es gibt keine Äpfel mehr. Oh, hier sind doch welche!") usw. –  Kevin Mar 3 '12 at 21:00
2  
I'd like to add, and be it just for clarification, that "was für ein..." is only proper if you don't know anything about any options whatsoever, that is, the other person is mentioning "the" list for the first time. If there are 3 lists "was für ein..." doesn't really feel right to me. If you have 20 lists of different kinds the question "which" asks for one specific list while "was für ein..." is asking for some certain type of list that would allow to reduce the available options –  Emanuel Mar 3 '12 at 21:19

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

First: Welche [Liste] and welcher [Mann] are correct. It's either welcher (der), welche (die) or welches (das).

(Edit: I misunderstood your question about the ending. But now that I wrote the whole text about adding the word, I'll just keep it.)

Now to the difficult question whether you add [something]. I would say you add the word when you're not sure that there is a something. Some examples:

You have a green, a blue and a yellow list. If you say

Ich mag die Liste nicht.

and the other person knows that there are these three lists, he/she would only ask Welche? because it's clear you're talking about those three lists.

If you do not have any list -- or if the other person doesn't know of any list -- she would ask Welche Liste? emphasizing that she's slightly surprised you're talking about a list.

To your second example: If we're in a zoo and there are plenty of people around us and then you say

Der Mann ist affig.

I would probably ask Wer? because it's clear you're talking about a man and a person next to us.

If you would ask while we were walking through the streets (and there where a couple of men but it was not so clear which one you were talking about) I would ask Welcher?.

And if we were alone and there was no man around us (and you were talking about a man you've seen before) I would ask Welcher Mann? because I have no idea which man you could be talking about.

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There are also:

welchen as akk. masculine and dat. plural

Welchen Mann findest du affig?

Von welchen Blumen sprichst du?

welcher as Dativ feminine.

Mit welcher Frau gehst du essen?

welchem as dat. masculine and neuter

Welchem Mann guckst du hinterher?

Mit welchem Auto fahren wir heute Schatz, mit dem Ferrari oder dem Bugatti?

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I guess it's " mit dem Ferrari oder dem Lamborghini?". =) Thank you, that helped a lot. –  user508 Mar 3 '12 at 19:37

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