1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Que font-ils seuls ?"

"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?


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.


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


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.


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


Merci pour l'explication


Thanks for that tip


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


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


Ils font un enfant


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.


it is accepted now


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?


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).


I need to know too! Any native speakers here?


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".


Where does the word doing appear in this sentence?


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


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.


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.


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


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

  • 2310

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


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


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


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


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


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


"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!


Why not "why are they alone"


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


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


It is followed by a vowel in the next word


Why the same discussion appears in two different questions?!


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


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

  • 2310

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


why Que and not Qu?


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.

[deactivated user]

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


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


    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!!!


    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.


    Why isn't working? Am I worthless?!


    You are not worthless! D:


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


    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.


    Could you also answer "Why are they alone"?


    what is que or quoi and why is pourquoi


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


    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?

    [deactivated user]

      Another translation: What are they doing by themselves?


      The translation sounds awkward in spoken english !


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


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


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

      Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.