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Are there any differences among the three expressions?
(1) "Where did you go to school?"
(2) "What school did you go to?"
(3) "Which school did you go to?"

paco
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Hello Paco

I would say that all 3 can be used to mean 'tell me the name of the school you attended'. But also:

(1) "Where did you go to school?"
– 'i.e. in what area did you go to school?'

(2) "What school did you go to?"
– among BrE ex-public schoolboys: to be interpreted as meaning 'I suddenly have a horrible suspicion that you are not exactly of my social class'.*

(3) "Which school did you go to?"
– i.e. 'of these two/three/etc schools, which was yours?'

MrP

* NB On hearing the name of the school in question, the ex-PS will say (if his suspicions have been confirmed): 'Ah. Don't think we played you at cricket, did we?'.
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Hello Mr P

Thank you for the quick reply. So sounds like I can take the three as a same question in most cases.
"What school did you go to?" – among BrE ex-public schoolboys: to be interpreted as meaning 'I suddenly have a horrible suspicion that you are not exactly of my social class'.* On hearing the name of the school in question, the ex-PS will say (if his suspicions have been confirmed): 'Ah. Don't think we played you at cricket, did we?'.

Hurm...a very delicate society..
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Very helpful

paco
You're welcome, Paco!

I should have added:

When the question means 'what is the name of the school you attended?', there are even then some distinctions:

1. Where did you go to school?

is more likely to be used for this meaning if the context ('naming schools', as opposed to 'naming areas') is already clear:

'And where did you go to school?'

– e.g. after one or two other people have already answered.

If you went to a famous school, you would answer with the school's name: 'Eton', etc. If not, you would probably specify the region anyway: 'MrP's Seminary for Select Young Ladies in Gloucestershire'.

2. What school did you go to?

seems the natural version, and would be perfectly polite if (say) you and I discovered that we had grown up in the same area. 'Really, Paco? You were born in EnglishForwardshire as well? What school did you go to?'

But as a general question, it might seem rather startling: as if your questioner were indeed trying to find out a little too much about you.

3. Which school did you go to?

On reflection, this seems the least likely to cause confusion or offence; 'which' often acts as a softened 'what', in BrE.

I don't know whether any of this means anything to an AmE-speaker, though! Probably not.

MrP
Mr P

If you try to google three expressions, you will get results as follows;
mostly by Americans?
(1) "Where did/do you go to school?" 15500/7390
(2) "What school did/do you go to?" 8730/10100
(3) "Which school did/do you go to?" 668/1070

(1) "Where did/do you go to school?" 288/119
(2) "What school did/do you go to?" 1100/534
(3) "Which school did/do you go to?" 99/82.

British people are likely not to use (1) so often as Americans do.
I feel (1) is somehow weird grammatically as a question used to ask a school name,
though it may correspond to a predicative sentence of the type : "I went/go to school at School Name".

paco
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