ASL University ►

American Sign Language:  "which"

Alternate holding up one "A" hand, and then the other.
Remember, when asking "WH"-type questions (using signs such as WHICH, WHY, WHO, WHERE, etc.) you should furrow your eyebrows while doing the sign as part of the question. Also, the handshapes are "loose-thumb"-"A"-handshapes. By that I mean, the thumbs are not tucked close to the rest of the hand.

Note: The video is high definition. If it looks fuzzy, change your configuration settings to 720 or better.

Signing Notes:

Note: If you were not asking a question but instead just making a statement such as "I don't know which" -- you should not furrow your eyebrows while doing the sign WHICH.  Only furrow your brows if you are actually asking a question.

Hermisaurus asks:
When asking a question such as "Do you want milk or juice?" Instead of a body shift to show "or," could you ask "which one"? I've seen "Do you want red or green, which one? " Is that correct?"

Just as there are multiple "right" ways to ask a question in English, there are likewise multiple right ways to ask a question in ASL.  

Your signing choices depend on whether you wish to be succinct or verbose. 
Succinct = brief and clear. 
Verbose = "using more words (or signs) than are needed."

If we sign: "YOU WANT MILK OR-[bodyshift] JUICE?" the bodyshift can be very small and start half-way through your sign for milk and end half way through your sign for juice -- thus taking up almost no time at all. When we add "furrowed eyebrows" near the end of the sentence the furrowed eyebrows convey the meaning of "which."  

You can choose to sign in a succinct manner by
not adding the sign "WHICH" since you have already expressed the concept of "which" via your furrowed eyebrows.   You can choose to sign in a verbose manner by adding the signs "WHICH ONE" at the end of your sentence -- but you should still furrow your eyebrows since you are asking a "WH"-type question.

If you sign the question with raised eyebrows while signing both the sign MILK and the sign JUICE you are in effect asking two questions -- both of which are yes/no-type questions:

Do you want milk?
Do you want juice?

If you use a yes/no-question approach it puts responsibility on your conversation partner to respond by signing one of the two options (or using the sign "BOTH" if he/she is a pig).


- Dr. Bill

Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy DONATE (Thanks!)
(You don't need a PayPal account. Just look for the credit card logos and click continue.)

Another way to help is to buy something from the ASLU "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)   CHECK IT OUT >

Bandwidth slow?  Check out "" (a free mirror of less traffic, fast access)   VISIT >


You can learn sign language online at American Sign Language (ASL) University  
Sign language lessons and resources.  Dr. William Vicars

back.gif (1674 bytes)