We all have been there in the exam room. Wondering what we studied about and what we did not once we look at the question paper. It was a very tiring process of multiple hours. Students scribble down answers on several pages. Some passionately or under pressure used to study, some used to make the answers in their head somehow, and some used to sit clueless. But when we used to see an MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) like “Which of the following is the true statement?” we used to get amused and relieved.

When the question paper has multiple choice questions, every student takes a sigh of relief. That relief comes from the fact that the efforts required to complete their exams were reduced by a lot. MCQ or multiple-choice questions usually consist of 4 to 5 options for answers and a direct or referring question above them.

What does “Which of the following” refer to?

Often used in Multiple-choice Questions This phrase is a question that has been used for ages. Most of the people must be familiar with the phrase as it has been extremely common in tests and examinations. If you have not come across this phrase yet, it is quite tricky to understand it at first. In this article, the phrase will be discussed in detail. We will talk about what it means in its general aspect and grammatical aspects, how to use it, and everything else you need to know.

Grammatical Aspect and purpose of the phrase

Now we will talk about the aspect of grammar in this phrase. When used in a question, Phrase” provides a list of options for the readers to choose from. ‘The following’ in this phrase is a particular synonym of ‘the next’. When worded as which of the following in a question it refers to the options or answers to choose from that following question.

How to use “Which of the following?” in thright way?

The most important thing to remember here is that the phrase is used before listing multiple choices or options in front of the reader or candidate. This phrase is most used in question forming for the quiz or test papers. But you can be creative with its use in your day-to-day tasks like in texts and emails. Like when you are in a conversation with someone, you can creatively put this phrase in your sentences. It can be used in multiple ways like “Which of the following items would you like me to order for you?” or “Which of the following shirts looks good on me?”.

Some examples of its uses:

  • Which of the following statements is false?
  • Which of the following appliances do you use at home?
  • Which of the following is your favorite car?
  • Which of the following countries have you been to before?
  • Which of the following days are you off?
  • Which of the following dishes should I cook for you tonight?


Another thing is that this phrase always gets followed by multiple options and choices. This means that it is not to be and cannot be used in between verbal conversations. It is not possible to put this phrase in between a verbal conversation and make sense at the same time.

How to word this phrase correctly? 

When using this phrase in between your questions, it should be clear that it should be worded correctly to make sense.

  • Some people get confused about the usage of ‘Following’ or ‘Followings’. It does not get confused, you just need to understand the technicality behind it. ‘It means ‘the next’ in its literal sense which is correct and lines up with the meaning of the phrase. Using ‘followings’ would be out of context and grammatically incorrect.
  • Another common doubt among people is that should we use ‘is’ or ‘are’ with the phrase. The technicality here is that ‘it’ should be used if the answer required is singular. Meaning that the question here is asking the person to pick a single answer rather than to select multiple options as an answer for a question. And when the second half of the question is plural, we can use ‘are’ after the phrase. If it is a question that has more than one correct answer then we need to use ‘are’.


I hope that the whole concept of ‘phrase is clear to you all. We discussed the phrase in detail and briefly touched on its grammatical aspect. In conclusion to this article, the phrase is very commonly used and should be clear to understand. So that you can grasp the literal meaning of the phrase further improving your understanding of the specific question set in front of you.


Q- This phrase is limited to question papers.

No, the use of this phrase is not limited to question paper. It can work in text messages and e-mails. But its not possible to use it in verbal conversations.

Q- what does this phrase refer to in simple terms?

In the phrase, ‘the following’ refers to ‘the next’. Meaning that there are options following the question ahead which you have to choose from.

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