"Que font-ils seuls ?"

Translation:What are they doing alone?

January 17, 2013



How do you know that this is plural "Que font-ils seuls" instead of "que font-il suel" I had to get it wrong once and just remembered they had it pluralized, but I would like to know what I am missing in the pronunciation that indicates the plural?

November 26, 2014


I had the same question, actually, but eventually realized that you can tell the difference without worrying about the il/ils pronunciation. The singular conjugation of the verb would be "fait", e.g. "que fait-il seul", if it were singular, so the use of "font" means it must be plural.

November 26, 2014


Thanks. that makes so much sense. Still learning all these verbs and the different forms for the different conjugations.

November 26, 2014


You might want to download free app Conjugate French. It gives all the verb forms as well as having options to test your learning. It's a fabulous resource. I got it through PlayStore.

December 6, 2015


there are several conjugation apps available. do you have one in particular? thx.

November 29, 2017


Merci pour l'explication

December 6, 2015


Thanks for that tip

May 31, 2018



March 14, 2019


1/ Il or elle +s = they Et tu dois apprendre la conjugaison par coeur : font est le verbe faire conjugué avec Ils . C'est comme ça que tu peux savoir

February 18, 2019


Why can't this be, "What are they making alone?"

March 6, 2014


Ils font un enfant

June 13, 2015


Un bébé

December 12, 2015


It just doesn't really make sense outside of a very specific context. I would say it was marked wrong because, the majority of the time, "do" will make more sense.

April 19, 2015


Not good enough

January 1, 2016


it is accepted now

April 3, 2017


In English, this can mean either "What activity are the people who are on their own doing?" and also "How has it come to be that they were left alone without supervision?" Does this French sentence have both meanings, too?

February 16, 2015


I wonder this as well. I answered "what do they do alone?" and it was accepted as correct but Duo gave "what are they doing alone" as an alternative answer. My answer is focused on what they are doing, whereas the alternative Duo gave could be interpreted as questioning why they are alone (e.g., why were those children left alone without adult supervision).

January 6, 2016


Same question.

March 1, 2015



March 22, 2015


I need to know too! Any native speakers here?

March 28, 2015


I'm suspecting not - because I had assumed that if anything the second was the intended meaning; yet it does not accept my translation "why are they alone".

February 3, 2016


Where does the word doing appear in this sentence?

January 17, 2013


"font" = French verb "faire" = English verb "to do"


January 17, 2013


sounds like a question mom will ask dad when their children are doing something alone

March 29, 2015


I also don't understand why it can't be what are they making alone. I've just learnt that font is make for ils.

August 5, 2014


I did too, faire=to make. So now it's to do too? Ok, I looked up faire in the Larousse and it has danged near a whole page of meanings, I have to read more.

September 2, 2014


I'm paying less and less attention to huge lists of defenitions, often they're just alternative figurative usages of the same word the English translation had

January 1, 2016


Can I ask "Qu'est-ce qu'ils font seuls?" in a less formal way?

October 23, 2015

  • 1717

Yes, that is quite acceptable. Using "est-ce que" to form a question is standard French.

April 15, 2017


How does "What is he doing alone" sound differently?

December 29, 2014


See above -- for "he" instead of "they", you would use fait-il instead of font-ils, so the verb would sound different.

December 31, 2014


It gave me green for the sentance but the question mark was red. Is that because my voice didnt sound like a question?

May 7, 2016


I believe that you're correct. Add a rising inflection to any sentence with a question mark.

September 1, 2017


How would you say : "what makes them lonely" - i can come up with identical French for this and "what are they doing alone"

October 16, 2016


"what makes them lonely" is a different sentence construction that is covered in the next unit Pronouns 1. (see Duo Tips and Notes https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Pronouns-1/tips-and-notes).

I think that you could translate your sentence as something like "Ce qui les fait se sentir solitaire ?" or "Ce qui les rend solitaires ?". In your sentence "them" is the object of the sentence and the subject is the thing that is making them lonely that the sentence asks about. In the Duo sentence "they" is still the subject of the sentence, and the question is about the activity they are undertaking, or the reason why they are alone.

If any native French speakers or English grammar experts can offer more help please chime in!

July 18, 2018


Why not "why are they alone"

July 16, 2018


when this site is going to make better audios? the sound and even sometimes pronunciations are terrible, I can barely hear what the heck they say

August 2, 2018


Why is the "t" pronounced, even though it is the last letter in a word?

November 13, 2014


It is followed by a vowel in the next word

December 21, 2014


Why the same discussion appears in two different questions?!

February 8, 2016


Same question in different formats probably (e.g. translate other way around, choose words, write what you hear, etc.)

February 8, 2016


Is there a reason why it can't be ' Que ils font seuls? '

April 13, 2016

  • 1717

If you start a "what" question with "que", one way is to use inversion (que font-ils). Another issue is that "que" may mean "what" or "that"; it would be contracted when the following word begins with a vowel but I don't believe you can contract it when asking a "what" question, except when using "est-ce que", e.g., qu'est-ce qu'ils font seuls ? Here we see the contracted "que" in its two different meanings. For more on how to ask questions in French, open this link in a browser: https://www.thoughtco.com/questions-in-french-1368935

April 15, 2017


why Que and not Qu?

August 18, 2016


Que elides and becomes qu' when the following word starts with a vowel sound (see info under Elisions here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Basics-2/tips-and-notes).

You could also say this question in French as "Qu'est-ce qu'ils font seuls ?", and in this case "que" is elided in front of "est" and "ils" because they both start with a vowel sound. In "Que font-ils seuls ?" "font" starts with a consonant so "que" doesn't need to change.

July 18, 2018


They and Alone, wouldn't they be together instead of alone, sort of an oxymoron in translation.

February 28, 2017


Two children may be left alone. Alone can mean they are not with their parents. It can also mean an abstract group is isolated.

September 13, 2017


Sometimes the microphone picks up the recorded voice before you have chance to speak. It's amazing how often they are wrong on some of the words!!!

April 14, 2017


It probably starts recording half-way through the playback and marks singe things wrong because it expects a full translation from the start. You could try using two phones to test this better.

September 13, 2017


some* things

September 13, 2017


Why isn't working? Am I worthless?!

April 22, 2017


You are not worthless! D:

September 13, 2017


Why is 'que' used here and not 'quoi'?

June 12, 2017


I got this one wrong and was told I was typing in English! I wrote "que font il seuls" as a complete guess. I guess the technology for recognizing near-correct translations has some flaws still.

September 13, 2017


Could you also answer "Why are they alone"?

October 16, 2017


what is que or quoi and why is pourquoi

February 22, 2019


I got O.k " What do they do alone ? "

May 9, 2018


Does this mean: What are they doing alone? (They should have an adult with them?) Or What are they doing when they are alone?

Or both depending on context and emphasis, like it does in English?

July 13, 2018


Another translation: What are they doing by themselves?

July 22, 2018


The translation sounds awkward in spoken english !

July 23, 2018


I put what are they doing on their own marked wrong could someone please explain?

July 23, 2018


is this the formal way of asking that question? if yes, the informal way is "ils font seuls que?", right?

August 28, 2018


Je peux bien entendre qu'elle dit feront et pas font

February 18, 2019
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