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  5. "Qu'est-ce que tu as ?"

"Qu'est-ce que tu as ?"

Translation:What's wrong?

August 19, 2015



ugh I can't deal with how "What do you have" is wrong, as we were never told this was an idiom.


Welcome to the real language of French. This sentence may be taken in two very different ways. "What do you have?" and "What's wrong?" There are many expressions in French that cannot be understood by means of a literal translation. We must understand them as a single translation unit. A literal translation may not produce the intended meaning. There are different versions of this expression:

  • Qu'est-ce qu'il y a ? (which itself contains another expression (il y a) which is never translated literally.
  • Qu'as-tu (ou) Qu'avez-vous ?
  • Quel est ton/votre problème ?
  • ...just to name a few

The first step is to recognize the expression as an idiom and then translate it into the comparable English expression.



So, how would you ask "What do you have?" For instance, a child is hiding something behind his back and you want to know what he has? Can you say "Qu'est-ce que tu as ?" or would that be incorrect because it's only used as an idiom?


Is 'Que tu as?' also usable in everday conversation to mean "What's the matter with you?", and is it the sort of phrase to use when someone is upset? To me, "Whats the matter with you?" sounds more condescending than empathetic.


No, you cannot phrase it that way. You can say Qu'est-ce que tu as? or Qu'as-tu? I think maybe Tu as quoi? But not Que tu as?

You can use it when someone is upset or seems to have a problem.


Thanks, but how to say 'what do you have' in French?


Like "what's up".


"We must understand them as a single translation unit." A very useful concept. Thank you.


Merci. Good site.


If you were marked wrong for translating "Qu'est-ce que tu as ?" as "What do you have?" then definitely report it. With no further context to go on, both the literal and the idiomatic meanings should be accepted.


I thought the answer was "What do you have?" also.


I thought it was "What is wrong with you?"


What's wrong, what's wrong with you...are both accepted versions.


I put "what's with you", it's more colloquial and accepted. And thank you so much for pointed out the real tricky things about French, which is the very fact that always baffles me. Guess I need something like doulbe-languaged French&English book to get through it...


In English and in context, asking "What is it?" is just another way of asking, "What's wrong?"


WHAT?!?! How is that whole sentence "whats wrong?"


It's an idiom, not a direct translation


what is an idiom?


An idiom is a phrase where the meaning of the whole transcends the meaning of the individual words and is part of the standard language. There is a big list of them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English-language_idioms


Now that`s helpful-thx.


I don't see this as "What's Wrong?" I put down "What do you have?" and I was wrong....


It's an idiom, although I would translate it more like "What's the matter with you ?" or "What do you want ?". It's is often used by a parent towards a child who might be bothering them, won't sit still or is upset by something.


I said "What is it that you have", which should be correct, no?


That would be a literal, word-for-word translation. I suppose it's not wrong, but we would be far more likely to say in English "What do you have?" And further, this is primarily an idiom which really means "What's wrong/what's the matter?"

Translating word-for-word often does not work.


I cannot wrap my head around "que " and "qu'est ce"


qu'est ce is used usually for questions, as in "what...?"


For fun I tried "What's up?" Sort of the thing you would ask in English under the same circumstances. I got it wrong. But always worth the stretch.


I got this wrong but the idiom is a pretty straightforward arrival.

  • avoir mal (à) == to be in pain, to hurt somewhere

J'ai mal à la tête. == I have a headache. Qu'est-ce que tu as ? Tu as mal à la tête ?

What I haven't figure out from the conversation here or looking online is if this is (generally) a neutral query of concern? A bald, "What's the matter with you?", in English can easily be confrontational. Does this French idiom share the same range or is it generally/mostly a straight forward question about what might be causing someone pain or discomfort?


Doesn't 'What's the matter' and 'What's wrong' mean the same thing?


In English, yes. This may not translate to French verbatim.


It is an idiom, therefore there is no meaningful verbatim translation. Thus, there may be various English equivalents to the meaning of "Qu'est-ce que tu as ?"


Should the s in as be heard?


No, it is silent


I gave "What do you have?" and that was accepted. Duo gave the alternate translation as "What's wrong?" which seems to be the more correct answer. This leaves me with these questions: Can "Qu'est-ce que tu as?" express "What do you have?" If not, then how would one ask "What do you have?" in French?


Nobody's mentioned "got". One alternative I was offered is "what have you got". I was taught at school never to use got in the sense of ownership: I still find it very ugly English.


"got" is correct in some English speaking communities. I'm sometimes offered sentences I think are ugly and I remind myself that other people find them acceptable.


The translation in the program has an error: It says the correct answer is "What do you've?" Incorrect contraction--should be "What do you have?"


Yes, this is a long-standing bug. The software believes that "have" can always be contracted when this is not the case. "He's a car" means "He is a car", not "He has a car".


Wouldn't it be "what's up ?" a better translation?


See discussion immediately below.


This has been requested over and over by many users and in many discussion threads, but I'll try again, PLEASE please please Duo, could you add a section specifically for Idioms?!

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You can “buy” it in the shop for 30 Lingots.


Ooh, I didn't know that , thanks for the heads up Tilo_K ! :]


What is it that you have?


I wrote 'What is the matter with you' and it was marked wrong as the correct answer is 'what's the matter with you'


How about 'What's up?' And by the way my correct answer was given as 'What do you have?'


28 Jan 2019 - "What do you have?" is accepted as correct, but "another translation" is listed as "What's the matter with you?"


What is with this whole "est-ce que" and "qu'est-ce que"? It is so confusing. Everytime I see it, it means something different! What do the individual words even mean? How can I get used to this?

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“est-ce que” means something like: “is it (true), that …” and is used to introduce a yes-no question.

E.g. “Tu es une femme.” / “Est-ce que tu es une femme?” – “You are a woman.” / “Are you a woman?” (Is it (true), that you are a woman?)

“qu’est-ce que” (que est …) on the other hand means something like “what is it, that …” and is used to ask for an object.

E.g. “Qu’est-ce que tu bois?” – “What do you drink?” (What is it, that you drink?)


In general I think it would be so much less frustrating if all idiomatic expressions were left out of the lessons ( I believe that there is a selection of French idioms available from Duolingo for download) . Equally one should not use English idiom in an answer.


Can someone please explain which words mean what because I'm confused to where the word "wrong" is formed and i know "quelle" means what so..... where does it come together and what do the others words stand for?



None of the words in the French sentence directly translates as "wrong".

Often when translating from one language to another we need to consider the underlying meaning and how a phrase is used rather than the meaning of each individual word in the sentence.

The literal translation of "Qu'est-ce que tu as?" is "What do you have?" "What have you got" but in French this is understood to be the equivalent of "What's up?" or What's the matter?".

So here Duo is giving "What's wrong" as a valid alternative to "What's up?/What's the matter?"


Okay, Thanks! :)


'what is it that you have' should be included if the correct answers are 'what is it', 'what's wrong' and 'what do you have'. depending on where you are in the English speaking world (England/Australia here) it's perfectly normal to interchange the longer version of 'what is it that you have' with what do you have (or the other two meanings)


If we persist in entering literal translations when we are presented with a French idiom, we will never learn how to use the French idiom correctly. Or if you want to ask someone in French, "what's wrong", will you first have to remember, oh yes, I have to say "what is it that you have" and then translate that to French. No, learn the meaning of the idiom, not the literal translation.


While I totally agree with your comment, it would be helpful to be warned in advance that the item has an idiomatic translation. (IA for idiom alert, perhaps?)


qu'est-ce que tu as ❤❤❤❤❤?


So what if you are trying to ask someone "What do you have?"


Nothing to be heard on this question so cannot do it.


There was no sound on this question either,


NO sound on this question either!!!!


So is this something that we just have to cram into our heads or is there any grammatical rules in this sentence?

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I tried “What's up with you?”, but it wasn't accepted. Doesn't this translate well, too?


"What is it that you have?" ... ??

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Why isn't "what is it that you have" accepted?


What, whoa, are we being tested on slang usage? Never saw this one coming. I translated it literally and I was literally wrong. Geez.


Bonjour Lairdlewis, this is not slang but an idiom. There are quite a few good explanations about the construction and translation of this sentence within this discussion thread, and, as another Duolinguist kindly informed me some months ago, there is an Idiom module we can buy with our ingots if we want to investigate further.

Hope that helps? :]


"What's that you have?" is incorrect?


If you are going with the literal meaning, rather than the idiom, then I think it is "What do you have?". Your translation adds something else, because it suggests that the item owned is right there, and that you are pointing to it. Compare: "What do you have?" "I have the flu." or " I have seven of them at home." With: "What's that you have?" "This? Just some sushi I bought for lunch."


"Un couteau!" "NON"

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