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Quick answer
"El" is a definite article which is often translated as "the", and "lo que" is a phrase which is often translated as "what". Learn more about the difference between "el" and "lo que" below.
el(
ehl
)
A definite article is a word that identifies a noun as as specific or known to the speaker (e.g. the girl).
1. (general)
a. the
El gato está en el tejado.The cat is on the roof.
El teléfono estaba encima de la mesa.The telephone was on top of the table.
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lo que(
loh
 
keh
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (general)
a. what
No sé lo que quiero para mi cumpleaños.I don't know what I want for my birthday.
Lo que no entiendo es cómo entró el ladrón a la casa.What I don't understand is how the thief entered the house.
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