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"Est-ce qu'elles écrivent un livre ?"

Translation:Are they writing a book ?

January 2, 2013



It is very difficult to hear the difference between est-ce qu'elles rather than est-ce qu'elle un livre!


"elle" and "elles" are identical in oral. The difference between plural and singular in this sentence is in the verbal form : "écrivent" in plural vs "écrit" in singular. And there should be a liaison between "écrivent" and "un" like : écrive-T-un"

  • 1852

In the plural form, there is a liaison between "elles" and "écrivent", which sounds like "elles-Z-écrivent".


Unfortunately the liaison does not exist in the dictation.

  • 1852

Right, the one between "écrivent" and "un" is missing, and we are working on fixing liaisons issues.


Oui, that would clear up the issue. Merci.


But Google translate does not pronounce the liaison between "écrivent" and "un", is it required or optional


This is true. You will need to live in a french speaking country in order to get your hear trained. Another good answer for this question will be "do they write a book?" I hope this helps.


does this mean "do they (feminine) write a book?" so would "do they (masculine) write a book?" be "Est-ce qu'ils écrivent un livre ?"


Yes, that is right.


I really dont understand how to use "est'ce que". It can mean "is that/is this" and also "Are../do.."? Merci


"est-ce que" (is it that) introduces a question, in the form of a simple statement:

  • est-ce que tu lis ? = are you reading?

in front of a word starting with a vowel "que" is always elided (drop the -e- and replace it by an apostrophe, in order to ease pronunciation),

  • est-ce qu'il lit ? est-ce qu'elle lit ? est-ce qu'ils lisent ? est-ce qu'elles lisent ?


Merci. That was very helpful


Sounds like the second in e in elles is being pronounced. I thought it would've sounded more likes ell-Z-ecriv... not elle-Z-ecriv...


To me as well. I hear ell-uz-ecriv

  • 1852

Right, the second "e" of "elle" is slightly pronounced here: even if it is better not to pronounce it, the way it is pronounced here is still correct, since the second "e" if very slightly pronounced.


I don't hear that, but rather that she insists on the LL sound before the Z liaison.


why is it not sont-elles ecrivent en livre? I don't understand why a plural is being associated with "est" and not "sont"


"est-ce que" is an interrogative adverb, that you should consider as a block-word to introduce questions.

"they are writing" is a continuous present meaning that the action is in progress at the time you speak, but such a verbal form does not exist in French. So, either you say "elles écrivent" or you use the formula "elles sont en train d'écrire" which expresses the same idea of "continuity" of the action.

so, the simple present is "est-ce qu'elles écrivent ?" (do they write ?) and the 'continous' present is "est-ce qu'elles sont en train d'écrire ?" (are they writing?).


I answered in the singular. Frustrated I do not hear the difference between elle/elles or ecrive/ecrivent. Suggestions?


go to Google/Translate and compare écrit - écrivent. Focus on the V in écrivent.

  • 1852

Please have a look at the top comments.


Why does the " qu' " never comes into play as "what" in the sentence? Instead it's "do they" or "are".

  • 1852

"Est-ce qu'elles écrivent un livre ?" translates to "(Do they write/Are they writing) a book?"

It is different from what you seem to suggest: "What (do they write/are they writing)?", which translates to "Qu'est-ce qu'elles écrivent ?" ("what" implies that you do not know what is the object, in this case "un livre").


est-ce que for concrete thinkers it helps to realize the phrase they want us to memorize as an interrogative "block" translates more specifically as ...IS IT THAT...[see SiteSurf above] so: Is it that they are writing?...Is it that you are late? Is it that you want a drink? Just a freebie stuck at the beginning to clarify the questioning instance. Gotta say, much more helpful than the uplifted sound at the end of a sentence to indicate a Spanish oral question.


can't you just say "elles ecrivent un livre??" as an informal way of saying a sentence, going up to indicate a question mark??

  • 1852

Yes, you can.


why would "Est-ce qu'elles écrivent un livre ?" not translate to "Are the women writing a book?"


Who knows who exactly "elles" are? In lessons, you cannot replace a pronoun by a noun (nor vice-versa, by the way).


Why is the article 'que' needed in this instance?


"que" is not an article but a relative pronoun (=that)

"est-ce que... ?" means, word for word, "is it that...?"

you use it as a block to start an interrogative sentence, the actual question is contained in the second part which is built as a statement (subject, verb, complement)

[est-ce qu'] elles écrivent un livre


what is the difference between "est-ce qu-ils"/ "est-ce qu-elles" I'm not hearing a difference but am getting it marked wrong guessing the wrong one.


"est-ce qu'ils" (apostrophe) refers to males or a mix of males and females

"est-ce qu'elles", to two or more women

Since "ils" and "elles" translate to "they", Duo accepts both translations.

If/when Duo doesn't, you may report it.


Can this also be translated as "Are they writing a book?" or is that written differently?


"Are they writing a book?" is fine.


How to distinguish between qu'elles, quelle, quel, quelles?


how would you know from the pronunciation that this is plural?


elles Z écriVent


I don't know about the site version, but, in my experience, the mobile app lessons are far from comprehensive enough. They are okay as an assistant material(I take French lessons at school), but if I were a blank page and I was suddenly presented with all these complicated structures with no further explanation on how, for example, to correctly construct questions, what "il y a" means, why is "est-ce" even needed, etc., I'd have a very hard time figuring it out on my own before I could move forward. Needless to say, it's still difficult as is.


Is the ce in "Est-ce que" always silent?

  • 1852

It is never silent: it always sounds like "eskel".


Do you mean the whole phrase "Est-ce qu'elles" sounds like "eskel"? I'll remember that thanks.

But to help me with pronouncing stuff in the future, how is the "ce" part pronounced? I gathered that the "Est" is the "es" in "eskel" and the "qu'elles" is the "kel" part in the "eskel". So I figured the "ce" is silent. Or is it the "qu" that is silent and the ce gives the "k" sound?

Thanks for the help and sorry for the complicated question to something that's probably obvious to most :)

  • 1852
  • "est" sounds like "è"
  • "ce" sounds like "ss"
  • "qu'elles" sounds like "kel"


Great, I see it now. Thank you very much.


this was my last question and i had no hearts left... how was i supposed to hear the difference?


Why does Duolingo French not pronounce the "s" at the end of a word when it precedes a vowel sound?

The "s" in "qu'elles" is supposed to be pronounced. However, it isn't, nor does Duolingo French normally pronounce such "s" sounds.


The TTS is not flawless... and I confirm that the final -s in "elles écrivent" should be pronounced as a Z


I thought that it was "elles", then I deleted it after I clicked the repeat button over and over. I believe that it is very hard to hear the difference, and also, maybe they should still give you a point for writing what you think you hear correctly, because my sentence structure was right.


I think I can hear the liaison in the regular mode, but on the slow mode, it's not evident. Has anyone else noticed this? Or am I imagining things?


It'really hard to tell when it's plural.

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