Posted by: Idioma Extra | March 2, 2011

Thursday Tidbits

Exclamations with How, What, or That’s

In Spanish, Que is most often used in exclamation expressions like ¡Qué emocionante! or ¡Qué café más rico! However, in English these types of expressions are used with WhatHow or That’s.

How do you know when to use one or the other?  Let’s take a look:


Grammatically, exclamation expressions using what are followed by either a noun or an adjective + noun. Here are some examples:

What a beautiful shirt! (adjective + noun)

What terrible weather! (adjective + noun)

What a game! (noun)


Expressions with how are followed only by an adjective. Here are some examples:

How exciting!

How tragic!

How wonderful!


Expressions with That’s are the same as with How. They are followed by an adjective. The two are more or less interchangeable.

That’s lovely!

That’s interesting!

That’s obvious!

Check Yourself

Complete the following mini-dialogues below with either What, How, or That’s.

1. A: The teacher talked for hours and hours.

B: _________ a boring class!

2. A:  I took my son to the hospital yesterday.

B: ____________ terrible! Is he OK?

3. A: I bought a new car last week and I’m already having problems with it.

B: ____________ a piece of junk! You should have the dealership fix it for free.

4. A: I forgot to bring my wallet with me last night and my friend refused to buy me a beer.

B: ______________ a cheapskate!

5. A: My sister just had twins.

B: _____________ wonderful! Are they boys or girls? Or one of each?

6. A:  My mother made her homemade lasagna last night.

B: _______________ delicious! I love Italian food!

7. A: I love ketchup on my pizza!

B: ____________ gross!

8. A: I won the lottery just after losing my job.

B: ______________ a lucky break!

9. A: It took me three hours to get home because of traffic.

B: ______________ frustrating! I hate rush hour!

10. A: Look! My dog destroyed my house while I was at work.

B: ________________ a mess! This’ll take hours to clean up!

Answers to last week’s Check Yoursef

Complete the sentence or question with what or which.

1. _Which__ day are you having the party, Friday or Saturday?

2. I’m not sure _which_ car I want to buy. The sports car or the economical one?

3. Do you know __what__ time the meeting the meeting starts?

4. What__ is your baby’s name?

5. ___What__ day does Christmas fall on this year?

6. __Which____ one of your two brothers is married?

7. Do you know __what___ is the name of the currency in Morocco?

8. I can’t decide __which__ restaurant I want to eat at. TGI Friday’s or Soda Tapia?

9. __Which__ is your sister’s name? Sally or Shelly?

10. Have you decided __what___ computer you’d like to buy?


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