"Que font-ils seuls ?"

Translation:What are they doing alone?

January 17, 2013

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Aede6250

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

https://www.duolingo.com/ChrisLine3

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Aede6250

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

November 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Perseph1955

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

https://www.duolingo.com/travelgirl_ckp

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

November 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Shane599520

Merci pour l'explication

December 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryLouise872063

Thanks for that tip

May 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/excellence2018

True

March 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Norane55

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

https://www.duolingo.com/mattcolor

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

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/acrim0nian

Ils font un enfant

June 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tomboysquirrel

Un bébé

December 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHarpyEagle

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

https://www.duolingo.com/ArdeJohnson

Not good enough

January 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/seedney

it is accepted now

April 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/john.l.franklin

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Lane973

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

https://www.duolingo.com/MsLagerkvist2

Same question.

March 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Perseph1955

Ditto.

March 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/batboobies

I need to know too! Any native speakers here?

March 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/OJFord

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Reefy

Where does the word doing appear in this sentence?

January 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems

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

http://french.about.com/od/verb_conjugations/a/faire.htm

January 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Vladislav123

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

March 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/heytee24

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Cyndiluwho

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

https://www.duolingo.com/ArdeJohnson

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

https://www.duolingo.com/vanagouveia

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

October 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1717

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

April 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Queeene12

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

December 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ChrisLine3

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Rubyrehema

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Bluerivergum

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

September 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jeeves9

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Nityaji

"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

https://www.duolingo.com/james743122

Why not "why are they alone"

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ehsan1986

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

https://www.duolingo.com/ItayBM

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

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/leeorbentovim

It is followed by a vowel in the next word

December 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AbdullahCh11

Why the same discussion appears in two different questions?!

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/OJFord

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

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RoyK.

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

April 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 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

https://www.duolingo.com/Elly199119

why Que and not Qu?

August 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Nityaji

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeff126148

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

February 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ReasonOverwatch

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

https://www.duolingo.com/SandraSweatman

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

https://www.duolingo.com/ReasonOverwatch

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

https://www.duolingo.com/ReasonOverwatch

some* things

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Noodlehead1st

Why isn't working? Am I worthless?!

April 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ReasonOverwatch

You are not worthless! D:

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/YDdraigGoch

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

June 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ReasonOverwatch

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Cynder360

Could you also answer "Why are they alone"?

October 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DoubleLingot

what is que or quoi and why is pourquoi

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Davis462129

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

May 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JenelleCla

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

https://www.duolingo.com/Smith-Jones

Another translation: What are they doing by themselves?

July 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/maria236016

The translation sounds awkward in spoken english !

July 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DebbieWilk12

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

July 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/zohargoldskasher

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

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Norane55

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

February 18, 2019
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