"What?"

Translation:Quoi ?

January 19, 2013

75 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/kavinstanes

damn! why not que is correct ?

February 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Djones123

Ok, so what I understand is that Que refers to the direct object, Quoi refers to the indirect object. So when you are to ask "What?" generally you are referring to the indirect object because... you don't know what they said!

But overall don't say "Quoi" unless you are familiar with the person. "Comment?" is much more polite, or "Comment vous dites" is most polite.

October 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"que" cannot stand alone nor at the end of a question.

"quoi" is used as a stand-alone or at the end of informal questions.

  • que dis-tu ? (formal) = tu dis quoi ? (informal) = qu'est-ce que tu dis ? (standard)

The more polite "comment ?" is used to ask someone to repeat what they just said, and it is short for "comment dis-tu ?" which is idiomatic and less formal than "que dis-tu ?".

In English, "what?" should naturally and directly translate to "quoi ?" as a general question prompting an answer in the form of a piece of information.

The following dialogue is possible, where "comment" would not be correct:

  • A: Sais-tu ce que j'aimerais ? = Do you know what I would like?
  • B: Quoi ? = What?
  • A: Un gros gâteau au chocolat =A big chocolate cake.
June 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

"Comment dis-tu?" translates to the archaic "How say you?" I love it!

November 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shankar1999

Thanks

June 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jdgamble555

"Comment" is a polite way of saying "What?" Pardon is self-explanatory. "Quoi" is familiar "What?" Think about it in english. We usually say "I'm sorry" instead of "What?" as it can be quite rude.

"Que" is not found by itself at all in french (correct me if I'm wrong). Although it generally means "that" when in the middle of the sentence, when at the beginning of a sentence it means what + a verb (usually with inversion). Ex. "Qu'est-ce que....", "Que manges-tu?" However, it can me "what" in the middle of the sentence if used with "ce." Ex. "Je veux ce que tu as."

Since "quoi" is an object, if a verb ends in a preposition, you can start a sentence with the preposition + quoi. Ex. "À quoi ça sert." Think about "pourquoi" here... "for what" has a suspiciously similar meaning as "why."

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/naphira

It is interesting. Reading the french way of putting words together makes me realize how much English has been altered to simplified speech. For example, using ce + que would be originally translated as that which "Je veux ce que tu as = I want that which you have" rather than generalizing to 'what'. Just a side note. :-) I am enjoying this App much more than I had expected to.

March 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shahood95

thank you so much that helped me a lot

February 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sirgur

Why is Comment Not correct

November 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/zajn

Good question, because it should be!

December 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sammdott

Agreed! When I translated "Comment?" as "What?", DuoLingo said that was correct. But when I translated "What?" as "Comment?" (for this item), DuoLingo said I was incorrect. A glitch in the program, perhaps?

September 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SherissaDancer

In this lesson, The correct word for "What" is Quoi. The word "Comment" also means "How" in French. It is not a glitch, and I'm sorry you got it wrong.

February 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LunaPTuna

Disagree. In conversational French, which is presumably the goal of Duolingo., asking the question "What?" would be translated as "Comment?" "Quoi?" sounds brusque to fluent speakers.

May 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/IceAge0121

I live in Quèbec, and I've never heard anyone say, "Quoi?" Even amongst friends, they always say, "Comment?"

August 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/markoslice

I ain’t not no expert or nothin’, but let’s try and clear the air a bit… In English, we use to word “what” to mean a lot of things: 1. What is that? (direct object). 2. What are you talking about? (indirect object). 3. What time is it? What book do you want? (which), 4. What a good book! (exclamative adjective) or just 5. What? (pardon?) … Among others…

French has different words for these:

  1. “Que”, as seen in “Qu’est’-ce que c’est?” (What is that?) for example, is ‘WHAT’ being used as the DIRECT subject. “Que dit-il?” (What does he say?)
  2. Quoi is used for an INDIRECT object, for example “A quoi pensent-elles?” (What are they thinking ABOUT) or “Avec quoi a-t-il coupe le pain?” (WITH what did he cut the bread?). These "with"s and "at"s and "about"s etc. are called prepositions.

Notice these were not subject/object distinctions, but rather differences in how directly they were referred to.

[formatting isssues with Duolino, please refer to the [numbers] from here on]:

  1. [3] Quel? (as well as quelle, quels, and quelles, depending on the gender/number of nouns) is like saying which: “Quel film tu recommanderais?” = (Which film would you recommend?) ... "Quels sont vos favoris?" (Which are your favourites?)

  2. [4] BUT also can be used with a preposition “A quelle heure part Pierre” = “[at] what time does Pierre leave?” ...

  3. [5] Exclamative adjective… for example, “Quel livre interessant!” (What an interesting book!) Or, “Quel rat!” (what a rat!)

  4. [6] What? As in Pardon? Is “Comment?”

Any questions? On second thought, I don’t think it’s any clearer …

Sources: Hawkins Towell. French Grammar and Usage. 2001, 2nd ed. and Lawless, L. French.about.com/od/mistakes/a/what.htm. 2014.

December 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MickeyJ68

Thanks for all those explanations, very helpful, though I do feel sorry for anyone who's learning 'English', trying to decipher your first sentence :)

January 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/anastasia_evs

It is impolite to use "Quoi?" in this sense. The French would say "Comment? Vous dites?/ Tu dis?"

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Larry_Hoover

I think that's the correct grammer but I hear french speakers say: Quoi?

July 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sweettheart314

I thought you were supposed to avoid saying 'Quoi?" because it makes you sound like a duck, and that "Comment?" was more commonly used?

March 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/daughterofAlbion

That takes me back! I remember my French teacher at school saying that...

June 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LotharioRowe

Apparently que is never correct. I was just asked to select all correct translations for 'what?' and selected both quoi and que and got it wrong because que is incorrect...

May 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/asunshine

Please explain the difference between que? C'est quoi? Pardon? Quoi?

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/moira.s

Comment is normally the polite and formal version of quoi. You use quoi when you are talking to friends. I have been living in france for 6 months so i just say this out of experience from living there.

June 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/enothere

why "comment" is wrong?

to give this test here to the self-study beginners is kind of too fast and difficult. it would make the beginners more confused, i am lost somehow.

January 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul_W

I thought 'comment' on its own simply meant 'how'.

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Veneering

This very lesson lists definitions of "what" as quoi, comment and que. So two of the answers should be correct.

May 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MlleMichael

My understanding is that "quoi" is more the type of thing that a little kid would say and that "comment" (while literally meaning "how") is the more polite, grown up way to ask "what?" for clarification.

December 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HWazir

what is the difference between que, est ce que, quoi and quel ? When do we use which ? Please help :(

December 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/CaroleWill2

Thank you very much. I will refer to this article, but it is a lot to remember!!

September 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SamirSen

Site surf - Why not Que? Please help

May 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MickeyJ68

The answer can be found in the link below Study this article and you will know for sure. http://french.about.com/od/mistakes/a/what.htm

March 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/maritby

Why is que wrong ? Doesn't que mean what ?

October 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pnitish

When 'what' comes in the end of any sentence in french it doesn't remain 'que' rather it becomes 'quoi'.

August 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rozoftg45

why is "what time is it" translated to Quelle but you ask for the translation of "what" and it is wrong. I think both quelle and quoi are correct depending on the sentence and how it is being used!

February 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MartBro

Can 'Quoi?' be used as an alternative to 'Pardon?'; is it impolite to just say "what?" ?

January 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/javiertoquica

when is correct to say quoi and when is que?

April 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SherissaDancer

I don't know for sure, but its either direct/indirect objects, or masculine/feminine objects.

February 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jeanteau

I have the same question as Sigur. why not "Comment?"

December 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuzzy255433

Context, "comment" only works when you did not understand what someone just said.

November 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/iyyume

what about "Qu'est-ce?"

January 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/trespetitefille

I think it means 'what is this', which refers to an object but the question asked for what (which makes wether or not there is an object ambigious, meaning that it is quoi)

February 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DiverRon

My Collins dictionary lists. What? ( what did you say) Comment? What! (shocked) Quoi!

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Nerukuroichi

Isn't any moderator to this? Why que is incorrect? Why not put quoi as alternative answer?

February 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"que" cannot stand alone or be placed at the end of a question.

"quoi" is used as a stand-alone or it replaces "que" at the end of a question.

  • que dis-tu ? (formal) = tu dis quoi ? (informal)
June 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MillieMaeH

Why can't I say 'Quelle'? I was sure that it meant 'What?'... PLease help!

June 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"quelle" is an adjective, so you would need a feminine singular noun to follow:

  • quelle heure (est-il) ?
June 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sized

Ah so pourquoi is for-what-(reason) I get it :)

August 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/franmar99

Why not Comment?

March 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MickeyJ68

It should be according to this paragraph: And finally, when you didn't hear or didn't understand what someone just said and you'd like them to repeat it, use the interrogative adverb comment , which is considered nicer than saying quoi (the only reason I've ever heard for this is the latter sounds like a duck quacking.) http://french.about.com/od/mistakes/a/what.htm

March 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/IceAge0121

In Québec, everyone says "Comment?" I've never heard anyone say, "Quoi?"

August 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BFN4

How to use quelle?

July 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mad_monolinguist

Quel is an interrogative French adjective that means which or what and has four forms: masculine singular (quel) and plural (quels), feminine singular (quelle) and plural (quelles). For example, quel jour sommes-nous? (What day is it?) Quelle heure est-il? (What time is it?) Quels fruits aimez-vous? (Which fruits do you like?) Quelles sont tes couleurs préférées? (What are your favorite colors?)

August 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/yan916140

So what is où?

November 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Where

November 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/_Z0007_

I don't know why, but I keep on getting the same questions. Had this three times already, in the same lesson

February 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

Sometimes it does this but asks in different ways. You might have to say it, write what you hear, translate it into English or translate it from English.

February 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/noah_x

Why is 'quelle' incorrect?

March 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

« Quelle » is closer to "which" although there is some overlap with "what". As a single word interrogative phrase, you'd say "What?" « Quoi ? », not "Which?" « Quelle ? ».

March 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"quelle" is an adjective that cannot stand alone to form a question:

  • quelle fille ? = which girl?
  • quelle est ta taille ? = what is your size?
March 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sweet_not_savory

Why is qu'est-ce que not correct...

March 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

That literally means "what is it that?" which doesn't make sense in French either.

March 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/YosrWalid

Please i have study french but i only heard about que and qu'est ce que but i have never heard of quoi what does it mean

March 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

The French words « que », « qui », « quoi », « quel(le) », « quand », « où », « comment » don't always match "that", "who", "what", "which", "when", "where", "how" as you would expect.

« quoi » means "what", but you can't use it everywhere where you'd use "what" in English.

Here is an article explaining the many ways to translate "what" by French language expert Laura Lawless: https://www.thoughtco.com/what-in-french-1369498

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoseLCastellanos

"Quelle?" should be accepted.

April 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

See Sitesurf's comment. « Quelle » can't be used by itself as a question.

May 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoseLCastellanos

Oh okay. Thank you!

May 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mjlazer

When I lived in Paris, while they said 'Quoi ?' they told me it wasn't grammatically correct, and that the correct form is 'De quoi ?', which they also commonly said. Can anyone correct me on this?

May 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There are several contexts where "quoi" or "de quoi" can be used.

As a way to have someone repeat what they just said, none is polite.

But both can be grammatically correct.

  • Devine ce que j'ai fait hier soir (Guess what I did last night)
  • Quoi ? (= What... did you do last night?)

  • Tu sais, il m'en a parlé... (You know, he told me about it)
  • De quoi ? (= About what... did he tell you?)
May 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Amber96999

Que est-ce que is what not quoi that is the one i learned not quoi!!!!

August 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Amber96999

This is stupid i have never on the history of all the french i have been taught we have never learned quoi to be what it hasa always been que est-ce que

August 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KwesiMbir

I thought comment was "how?"

November 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Katie281981

I have taken a french class for 3 years and the "what" words in french are: Quel-(masc. Con.) Quels-(masc. Plural) Quelle-(femm.) Quelles-(femm. Plural)

June 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/tsnix

I just got this as a "select all correct translations" exercise, and had to choose between "Quel?", "Que?", and "Quoi?". I have to be honest and say that the only reason I correctly guessed "Quoi?" was because I thought of the French knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

"Fetchez la vache."
"Quoi?"
"Fetchez la vache!"

Obviously not the best source of knowledge about the language, but, hey, it worked this time.

July 26, 2018
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