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Which/Who won the game, the Mets or the Mariners?

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
I have a little question.
Which would be used?
(a) Which won the game, the Mets or the Mariners?
(b) Who won the game, the Mets or the Mariners?

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 
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"Which" is fine, but that word has to modify a noun, rather than being used alone:

"Which team won the game, the Mets or the Mariners?"

If you don't want to specify a particular class of object, you can use something like "which one" or "which of them" instead:

"Which of them won the game, the Mets or the Mariners?"

"Who" works, too, and sentence B is perfect. I'd say it's more likely to be used just because it's shorter.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, Julimaruchan.
So (a) would be rarely used without putting any noun after "which", right?
 
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Not just rarely, never. There are very few cases where "which" (in that sense) is used alone, and that isn't one of them. In fact even "Which would be used?" is something I wouldn't say; I would say "Which of these would be used?". The only case I can think of where it would be used alone is in quick, terse expressions such as "Which do you prefer?" or "Which is it?".
 
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To be clear, "Which would be used?" isn't really bad per se, it's just one I wouldn't use personally.

If you're going to change it, you should make it "which ones", because "which one" implies that you think only one choice is correct. I would actually say "which of these", though, because "which ones would" is difficult to say.
 
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