"What do I drink?"
Translation:Que bois-je ?
"Quoi bois-je ?" is definitely wrong, even though French people will understand what you mean, it's very bad French.
"Je bois quoi ?" is not strictly perfect French, but these kind of constructions are used a lot in common French, and that's why it's accepted.
- "On fait quoi aujourd'hui ?" = "What are we doing today ?"
- "Tu manges quoi ?" = "What are you eating ?"
Thanks for the feedback. I know that it is a different question, 'What does he owe?' as opposed to 'What do I drink?'. I was curious about why duolingo accepts that question structure for 'combien devoir ...?' but not for 'que boire....? . You say that 'Que bois-je?' is less usual, more literary. Is it also more literary, less ordinary, to ask, "Combien doit-il?" as opposed to "Combien est-ce qu'il doit?", or are these both in common usage in everyday spoken French. Maybe that is why duolingo accepts 'Combien doit-il?', but not 'Que bois-je?' ?
No, "Combien doit-il ?" is not used in common French either. We would use "Combien est-ce qu'il doit ?" or even more likely "Combien il doit ?".
I can't say why Duolingo accepts this kind of construction in one exercise and not in another, but if you use the report function, I guess it'll be changed.
You don't have to use it. Just as you don't have to use "Qu'est-ce que...".
It's just that if you want to adapt the way you express yourself to the situation in which you communicate with others, you need to know both. As I said, "Que ..." is literary, so if you write a letter, or an email addressed to an administration or any other kind of formal communication, you might want to use it.
In the other hand in common French, you might want to use "Qu'est-ce que..." to avoid weird looks and/or jokes.
You're trying to translate literally. It doesn't work this way.
"do" is a verb used for a lot of things in English, and you won't find its equivalent all the time in other languages. The reason is that other languages don't use the same kind of constructions to make the same sentence.
In French from English, you'll often have "What do ..." translated with "Qu'est-ce que ...".
"What do you think about him?" = "Qu'est-ce que tu penses de lui ?"
"What do you want?" = "Qu'est-ce que tu veux ?"
"What does he usually eat?" = "Qu'est-ce qu'il mange d'habitude ?"
Can someone please break down the "Qu'est-ce" bit? I know I should learn it as a whole but I would really like to know what it actually means.
"qu' " is the contraction for "que" (because "est" starts with a vowel), literally it means "what".
"est" is the verb "être" (to be), and literally means "is".
"ce" literally means "this/that".
If you insist on finding a literal translation, it could be something like "what is that...", but it makes no sense to do so, because it'll never be translated this way.
"Qu'est-ce" is almost always followed by "que", and is translated by "what auxiliary (to do or to be)" in English.
Qu'est-ce que je mange ? = What am I eating?
Qu'est-ce que tu veux ? = What do you want?