An ELL post says

The difference here is that there is no inference you expect him to come back more often once the study has completed.

I don't think I understand what the difference is. Maybe it is the difference among 3 original example sentences. Maybe it is the difference between the meaning with "since" and "while".

So, I asked the nice answerer

the difference is between which and what?

I am aware it is not idiomatic at all. Maybe it is not even grammatical. So, how to ask that difference in the idiomatic way?

1 Answer 1


You might say "What difference do you refer to? The difference between what items?"
Note that I have added a comment to the post in your link that probably answers the question that you asked this question about.

  • Thank you, that's very kind of you. Does "The difference between what items?" sound a bit informal, as it is not a standard question sentence. "What items are the difference between", is this one grammatical?
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 21, 2020 at 3:40
  • 1
    The formal part is the first part. For the second sentence, you could ask (very formally) "What items are you differentiating?", but that seems a bit stiff, and not the best way to say it. Your last suggestion will work but you need "is", not "are", because the subject is "difference". That would be grammatical, but a little stiff, too. Mar 21, 2020 at 3:45

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