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Ask Significant Questions in French With These 8 Elementary Phrases


Asking questions is an important ability for significant conversations. You’re not studying French to recite monologues! Whether or not you propose on touring and need to communicate within the native language otherwise you’re seeking to make new pals from around the globe, having purposeful interactions with folks means having the ability to ask them questions, and perceive the questions they ask you. There’s a number of overlap between find out how to ask questions in French and in English. Beneath, you’ll discover info on find out how to use eight French interrogatives to start out asking primary questions in French.

While you’re able to grasp questions with out memorization, you can begin at this time with Rosetta Stone. With bite-sized classes that make studying really feel enjoyable and pure, Rosetta Stone can put together you for real-world conversations from your very first lesson

What’s an interrogative phrase?

An interrogative is a phrase that’s used to ask a query. You might discover the similarity to the English phrase interrogate. There are eight key interrogative expressions to ask who, what, when, the place, why, how, what number of, and which

English and French query building have lots in widespread. Each languages put the interrogative at the start of the sentence. When talking French, your voice will rise on the finish of the query. You may ask each closed (sure/no) and open questions, and you’ll ask questions in each formal and casual methods. However there are variations as properly—let’s dive into them beneath!

What are the variations between French and English interrogative phrases?

The largest distinction between French questions and English ones is phrase order. As you’ll see beneath, the order of topics and verbs will be very completely different in French, and the location of prepositions additionally varies from the English format.

Prepositions placement

You could have been taught to by no means finish a sentence with a preposition. However in modern English, even in formal writing, that’s extra of a method suggestion. Formal French grammar guidelines, nevertheless, don’t allow that type of flexibility. It’s a onerous and quick rule in formal French that prepositions can’t be on the finish of a sentence. Most French questions will begin with an interrogative; if there’s a preposition, it will likely be positioned in entrance of it. 

  • Avec qui est-ce qu’on kind ? = Who’re we going out with? (actually, With whom are we going out?) 
  • À quel employé avez-vous parlé ? = Which worker did you communicate to?

Gender

Many phrases in French require settlement in gender and quantity, like nouns, adjectives, and articles. Nevertheless, virtually all French query phrases are invariable, so that you often don’t have to think about settlement if you ask a query.

Commonest French query phrases 

There are 8 core query phrases in French:

French English
qui who
que/quoi what
quand when
the place
pourquoi why
remark how
combien what number of
quel which

You should utilize these phrases to ask questions in virtually each state of affairs. As you formulate your questions, don’t overlook your viewers! For those who’re chatting with a stranger, somebody older than you, or somebody ready of authority, use the formal verb varieties and sentence constructions. We’ve famous formal and informal choices within the tables beneath! 

Let’s be taught extra about find out how to use every of those query phrases.

Quoi/Qu’est-ce que/Que 

There are a number of methods to say “what” in French. Quoi is the phrase to make use of if “what” is the article of a sentence, and it principally seems in casual questions.

Que is the shape to make use of when “what” is the topic of the sentence, and it’s the shape you’ll see more often than not. Que is continuously mixed with est-ce que. Est-ce que is an interrogative expression that isn’t translated actually. You’ll be taught extra about it later within the article. For now, if you see it, you may simply know that it implies that the sentence is a query.

French English Stage of ritual
Quoi de neuf ? What’s up? informal
Qu’est-ce qui se passe ? What’s happening? impartial
Qu’est-ce que tu fais ? What are you doing? informal
Que voulez-vous ? What would you like? formal
Tu parles de quoi ? What are you speaking about? informal
De quoi est-ce que tu parles ? What are you speaking about? informal
De quoi est-ce que vous parlez ? What are you speaking about? formal

In English, you could say “What?” in case you didn’t hear or perceive somebody. Though it may be tempting in French to say Quoi ? in these situations, that may be seen as impolite. Remark ? is the right expression.

Remark 

Remark means “how.” You should utilize it actually to ask find out how to do one thing. You might also see it in primary French phrases whose English equivalents generally begin with “what.” The phrase for “what’s your title” in French, for instance, is remark tu t’appelles, of which the literal translation is “how do you name your self.”

French English Stage of ritual
Remark ? Pardon? impartial
Remark ça va ? How are you doing? / How is it going? impartial
Remark vas-tu ? How are you doing?  informal
Remark allez-vous ? How are you doing?  formal
Remark dit-on _________ ? How do you say _______? impartial
Remark tu t’appelles ? What’s your title? informal
Remark vous  appelez-vous ? What’s your title? formal
Remark tu trouves ce restaurant ? What do you consider this restaurant? informal

Où 

means “the place.” It’s utilized in all the similar contexts as in English. Take note of prepositions with . For instance, when asking the place somebody or one thing is from, the preposition “from” (de) must go earlier than the query phrase.

French English Stage of ritual
Où est mon livre ? The place is my ebook? impartial
Où se trouve les toilettes ? The place is the restroom? impartial
Où est-ce qu’on va ? The place are we going? impartial
D’où est-ce que tu viens ? The place are you from? informal
D’où est-ce que vous venez ? The place are you from? formal

Quand

Quand means “when” and it may be used for all the similar conditions as in English. What yr, day, or date one thing is occurring, what time it’s occurring, quand works for all of it.

French English Stage of ritual
Quand est la prochaine réunion ? When is the subsequent assembly? impartial
Quand est-ce qu’on half ? When are we leaving? impartial
Quand est-ce que le movie kind ? When is the film popping out? impartial
Quand est-ce que tu pars en vacances ? When are you happening trip? informal
Quand partez-vous en vacances ? When are you happening trip? formal

If you wish to particularly ask what time one thing is occurring, you too can use à quelle heure? (“At what time?”, actually “At what hour?”) 

Quand est la prochaine réunion ?  = When is the subsequent assembly?

This query may imply what day is the assembly, or what time is the assembly, or each.

À quelle heure est la prochaine réunion ? = At what time is the subsequent assembly?

For those who solely must know at what time the assembly begins, this query is extra exact.

Pourquoi

While you need to ask why one thing is or occurred, you want pourquoi. Along with beginning interrogative expressions, pourquoi is a grammatically right query by itself, identical to in English.

French English Stage of ritual
Pourquoi est-ce que tu es content material aujourd’hui ?  Why are you content at this time? informal
Pourquoi est-ce qu’on va à ce magasin ? Why are we going to this retailer? impartial
Pourquoi est-ce que le bus est en retard ? Why is the bus late? impartial
Pourquoi voulez-vous ce moveable ? Why would you like that cellular phone? formal
Pourquoi est-ce que tu apprends le français ? Why are you studying French? informal

The reply to pourquoi will usually begin with parce que (as a result of):

Je veux visiter le musée du Louvre. = I need to go to the Louvre.

Pourquoi ? = Why?

Parce que je veux voir la Joconde. = As a result of I need to see the Mona Lisa.

Combien

How a lot does that value? What number of rooms are within the resort? How many individuals are coming? It is a job for combien, which implies “how a lot” or “what number of.” Like pourquoi, it might stand by itself, or begin a extra complicated query.

Je voudrais des oranges. = I would really like some oranges.

Combien ? = What number of?

When asking how a lot of one thing, be certain that to incorporate the preposition de immediately after combien.

French English Stage of ritual
Combien ça coûte ? How a lot does that value? impartial
Combien coûtece livre ? How a lot does this ebook value? impartial
Il y a combien de croissants ? What number of croissants are there? informal
Ça fait combien ? How a lot do these value? (referring to a number of gadgets) impartial
Combien de personnes sont dans le cours ? How many individuals are within the class? informal
Il y a combien de km entre Paris et Versailles ? What number of kilometers is it between Paris and Versailles? informal

Qui 

Qui is the query phrase to make use of if you’re asking about folks. It means “who.” For those who’re asking a query that considerations something to, from, about, or with somebody, make it possible for the preposition goes in entrance of qui.

French English Stage of ritual
Qui est le responsable ? Who’s the supervisor? impartial
Qui apporte les boissons ? Who’s bringing the drinks? informal
Qui préfère le chocolat ? Who prefers chocolate? impartial
Qui va au cinéma ? Who’s going to the films? impartial
Tu parles de qui ? Who’re you speaking about? informal
De qui est-ce que tu parles ? Who’re you speaking about? informal
De qui parlez-vous ? Who’re you speaking about? formal
Avec qui est-ce que tu bavardes ? Who’re you chatting with? informal
À qui avez-vous parlé ? Who did you communicate to? formal

Quel

This phrase means “which,” and it’s the solely query phrase that requires settlement. Take note of the gender and variety of the noun you’re referring to to be able to use the right type of quel.

French English
quel  which (masculine, singular)
quelle which (female, singular)
quels which (masculine, plural)
quelles which (female, plural)

You too can use quel to say “which one.” Simply mix it with the right particular article (le, la, or les) for the noun you’re referring to.

Je voudrais un livre. = I would really like a ebook.

Lequel ? = Which one?

Ce grand livre rouge. = That huge purple ebook.

French English
lequel  which one (masculine, singular)
laquelle which one (female, singular)
lesquels which of them (masculine, plural)
lesquelles which of them (female, plural)

Don’t overlook that prepositions go at the start of questions, so when you have a preposition in entrance of lequel it must comply with the contraction guidelines.

Here’s a reminder of the contractions for à and de and the way they mix with quel:

  • à + le = au auquel = at / to which one
  • à + la = à + la à laquelle = at / to which one
  • à + les = aux auxquels, auxquelles = at / to which ones
  • de + le = du duquel = of / from which one
  • de + la = de la de laquelle = of / from which one
  • de + les = des desquels, desquelles = of /from which certainly one of them

Listed here are some examples of find out how to use these expressions:

  • J’ai adoré le livre! = I liked the ebook!
  • Duquel tu parles ? = Which one are you speaking about?
  • Je vais parler à nos collègues = I’m going to speak to our coworkers.
  • Auxquels est-ce que tu vas parler ? = Which of them are you going to speak to?

Listed here are some extra examples of questions utilizing quel:

French English Stage of ritual
Quelle heure est-il ? What time is it? impartial
À quelle heure est-ce que le cours begin ? What time does the category begin? impartial
Quel livre est-ce que tu préfères ? Which ebook do you like? informal
Quelle gown est plus belle ? Which gown is prettier? impartial
Quels movies sont en français ? Which motion pictures are in French? informal
Quelles chanteuses  préférez-vous ? Which (feminine) singers do you want finest? formal

Interrogative French phrases to develop your vocabulary

There are a number of different expressions that could be utilized in questions, particularly if you need to discover out very particular info. Listed here are some widespread phrases that you just may hear in a query, past the core eight interrogatives.

French English Stage of ritual
jusqu’où how far / to what level impartial
d’où from the place impartial
depuis quand since when impartial
non? No?used to substantiate info that you just’re unsure is right informal
n’est-ce pas? Isn’t it?used to substantiate info you already know informal
oui? Sure? / proper?used to substantiate info you already know informal
  • Jusqu’où as-tu lu dans le manuel ? = How far did you learn within the handbook? / The place did you learn to within the handbook?
  • Jusqu’où est-ce qu’elle a couru aujourd’hui ? = How far did she run at this time?
  • Depuis quand habitent-ils à Marseille ? = How lengthy have they lived in Marseille?
  • D’où est-ce que tu viens ? = The place are you from?
  • Le prepare half à midi, n’est-ce pas ? = The prepare leaves at midday, doesn’t it?
  • Il va au supermarché aujourd’hui, oui ? = He’s going to the grocery store at this time, proper?
  • Tu aimes les brocolis, non ? = You want broccoli, don’t you?

>>Able to be taught much more vocabulary? Try our record of important French expressions.

French query formation

Interrogative phrases are sometimes mixed with particular constructions to make an entire query. Beneath, we’ll dive into how you should utilize est-ce que, inversion, and extra. 

Tags and inflection

In casual conditions, you may ask a closed (sure/no) query simply by elevating the tone of your voice on the finish.

  • Paul aime le basket ? = Does Paul like basketball?

You too can use a query tag, like oui, non, or n’est-ce pas on the top of a press release to type a query.

  • Vous arrivez lundi n’est-ce pas ? = You’re arriving on Monday, aren’t you?

Est-ce que

For each formal and casual contexts, you may simply type closed questions with the expression est-ce que. Put it at the start of a press release and it turns the sentence right into a query.

  • Paul aime le basket. = Paul likes basketball.
  • Est-ce que Paul aime le basket ? = Does Paul like basketball?
  • Tu voudrais un sandwich = You want to a sandwich.
  • Est-ce que tu voudrais un sandwich ?  = Would you want a sandwich?

You too can use est-ce que for questions with a listing of choices.

  • Est-ce que tu préfères un sandwich, de la pizza ou de la soupe ?  = Would you like a sandwich, pizza, or soup?
  • Est-ce que tu reviens samedi ou dimanche ? = Are you coming again Saturday or Sunday?

You may pair many query phrases with est-ce que to make open questions; simply put the query phrase at the start of the sentence.

  • Est-ce que tu voudrais manger ? = Would you wish to eat?
  • Quand est-ce que tu voudrais manger ? = When would you wish to eat?
  • À quelle heure est-ce que tu voudrais manger ? = At what time would you wish to eat?
  • Où est-ce que tu voudrais manger ? = The place would you wish to eat?

Inversion

A 3rd solution to type a query in French is by inversion: switching the order of the topic and the verb. English makes use of inversion as properly, but it surely’s usually restricted to the very formal register, like “To whom am I talking?” 

In French, it’s thought of a proper solution to ask a query, however native audio system use it of their each day speech and writing on a regular basis. You could have already observed inversions in questions like: 

  • Remark allez-vous ? = How are you? 
  • Remark t’appelles-tu ? = What’s your title?
  • Quel âge as-tu ? = How outdated are you?

To put in writing a query in its inversion type, first consider it as a press release:

Tu joues au soccer demain. = You play soccer tomorrow.

Take the verb and the topic pronoun and reverse them, connecting them with a hyphen:

Joues-tu au soccer demain ? = Are you enjoying soccer tomorrow?

Inversions should happen with a pronoun (I, you, he, she, it, we, they): 

  • Vas-tu au parc ? = Are you going to the park?
  • Où allons-nous ? = The place are we going?
  • Que mangent-elles ? = What’s she consuming?
  • Quand va-t-il arriver ? = When is he going to reach?

Within the final instance, you could be questioning the place that “t” got here from! French avoids having two vowel sounds subsequent to one another. To stop that in inversions, a “t” is added between the verb and pronoun to make the sounds movement higher.

For those who should specify a noun, put in earlier than the inversion, however maintain the pronoun after the verb:

Nathan joue-t-il au soccer demain ? = Is Nathan enjoying soccer tomorrow?

Put together French questions for real-life conversations

Questions are key to having actual conversations with folks. You’ve discovered find out how to ask questions utilizing eight interrogative phrases in French, and find out how to prepare the phrase order of a sentence to create an accurate query. However that is only the start. There’s a lot extra to find out about French dialog, and Rosetta Stone is right here that can assist you maintain bettering your abilities! 

Our classes will aid you grasp grammar and vocabulary with out having to depend on memorization. Construct your information and confidence in listening, studying, talking, and writing with Dynamic Immersion, Rosetta Stone Tales, and Dwell Classes. Why wait?

Written by Denise Brown

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