"Quand est-ce que j'y arrive ?"
Translation:When do I get there?
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- nb1 is not quite correct according to the Académie Française, because there are 2 interrogative words at the beginning of the question. But people say it.
- nb2 is standard
- nb3 is formal, but never used. Note that it needs the addition of an acute accent to make it easier to pronounce: quand y arrivé-je ? This addition of an acute accent should apply with all verbs from the 1st group (infinitive in -er).
So 2 and 3 are the most correct.
That's a short question with a long answer. Here's a page that can help you start to figure it out: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pron_adverbial.htm
"Y" often correlates to "there" in English and is used to replace a noun (not a person) and a preposition such as dans, à/au, or chez.
I'm going to the store. Do you want to go (there)? (the "there" is often only implied in English and can be omitted) Je vais au magasin. Est-ce que tu veux y aller? (y replaces "au magasin.")
"En" is like "some" or "any" or "one" in English and replaces a partative article and a noun or "de" plus an indefinite article and a noun.
I have some chocolate. Do you want some? J'ai du chocolat. Est-ce que tu en veux? (en replaces "du chocolat.")
"Est-ce que" is necessary here, specifically, because of phonetic issues.
The formal question should be "quand y arrivé-je ?" - note the acute accent added on the ending of "arrivé" (vs j'arrive), meant to ease pronunciation and avoid the conflict of 2 consonant sounds: [vʒ]
Even with the help of that "eh" sound at the end of the verb, people do not use that difficult inversion.
This case is very frequent, because it covers all verbs of the 1st group (infinitive ending in -er) in 1st person, indicative present.
So, the real options to translate "when do I get there?" are: "quand est-ce que j'y arrive ?" or "j'y arrive quand ?"
The grammar makes sense. It's easy to read, but I feel like in speech, that j'y would be VERY easily lost. For native French speakers, is it obvious when you hear is, or is it something that you subconsciously assume is there because your intuition tells you it should be?
You have to hear it, because "quand est-ce qu'on arrive ?" (without 'y') is the most frequent question asked by French kids when travelling, as soon as they can speak.
But, with verb "aller", you cannot avoid "y" from infant age on, because it is not optional and all sentences with this verb need a destination: "j'y vais", "on y va", etc...