https://www.duolingo.com/EmperorIguana42

"Qu-est ce que" and "Que"

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So I know they both mean "What" but how are each one used differently? Is "Qu-est ce que" more formal and "Que" more informal?

Merci!

1 year ago

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ElijahCFGolpe
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Actually,

"Qu'est-ce que" is almost like saying "What do". "Est-ce que" is better known as "do" by itself. (Not literally is it "Do", but it's better translated that way.) To remove "est-ce que", generally you would switch the verb and the pronoun. They are mainly used in questions. Que can also be known as "that" in the middle of the sentence, never what unless put with "ce".

Let's look at this sentence for example: "What are you doing?"

You could say either:

"Qu'est-ce que tu fais?" Or "Que fais-tu?" (However, I think this is a little incorrect. Usually when asking What, you should just use Qu'est-ce que... rather than switching the verb and pronoun.)

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE HYPHENS ARE NECESSARY AND THE APOSTROPHES ARE USUALLY MANDATORY AS WELL.

Another FAMOUS example sentence: "Do you want to go to bed with me, tonight?"

"Est-ce que VOUS VOULEZ coucher avec moi, ce soir?" Or Better Known As "VOULEZ-VOUS coucher avec moi, ce soir?"

This pattern goes for most questions with other Interrogative Words like How = Comment, Why = Pourquoi, etc. etc.:

"Comment est-ce que TU t'APPELLES?" = "Comment t'APPELLES-TU?" (How do you call yourself?)

"Comment est-ce que VOUS ALLEZ?" = "Comment ALLEZ-VOUS?" (How are you (going)?)

"Pourqoui est-ce que je t'aime?" = "Pourquoi t'aime-je?" (Why do I love you?"

Common thing, when there's no consonant between verb and pronoun when switched, the French like to put a "-t-", and usually "Que" becomes "Qu'il" or "Qu'elle" when next to each other.

"Que a-t-il?" = "Qu'est-ce qu'il a?" (What does he have?)

Je doute QU'ELLE t'aime bien. (I doubt THAT she likes you.)

Some questions are so common and quick that you can hear them remove "est-ce que" and not switch the pronoun and verb. For example:

"Comment ça va?" or "Comment tu t'appelles?" and a whole bunch more.

Neither are really considered more formal than the other. You'll hear people say "Comment allez-vous" in many formal situations. But that just depends on the pronoun you use. Both forms are used regularly in speech and writing and you just have to get used to both forms.

Also, there are more "What"s. Quel/Quelle (What/Which) generally comes before a noun and Lesquel/Lesquelle usually means "Which/What One".

Quel/Quelle is used with the verb Être (the most irregular, rebel verb in the French language imho). "Quel est ton/votre nom?" "What is your name?" So you would never say "Que es-tu?" You would say "Quel es-tu?" or even "Qu'est-ce que tu es?", but those are all very weird sentences lol. I mean, how many times a day do you ask "What are you?" I just don't hear it enough to know if my French sentence was even correct. XP

I hope this helps you somewhat. If you need more help with asking French Questions and words, I suggest you keep at it and also watch French With Pascal on YouTube or other French YouTube teachers.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kangourex
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So you would never say "Que es-tu?" You would say "Quel es-tu?" or even "Qu'est-ce que tu es?", but those are all very weird sentences lol. I mean, how many times a day do you ask "What are you?" I just don't hear it enough to know if my French sentence was even correct. XP

You can say "Qu'es-tu dont ?", "T'es quoi ?" or "Tu es quoi ?".

"Quel es-tu ?" is "Which one are you?"

"Pourquoi t'aime-je?"

We say "Pourquoi je t'aime ?" even if grammaticaly your sentence is correct.

A better example sentence with "Quel" is "Quels loisirs préférés-tu?" ("What are your favorite hobbies?" Or literally "Which hobbies do you prefer?")

"Quels loisirs préfères-tu ?" ou "Quels sont les loisirs que tu préfères ?"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElijahCFGolpe
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Yeah! Exactly!

I shortly mentioned that there are some questions that get rid of "est-ce que" colloquially (like "Comment Ça Va" and "Comment Tu T'Appelles?", etc.) and I didn't want to list all of them but I hadn't known that they did that in that sentence. MDR

And yeah, I realize that I didn't give all the different ways to ask these questions. I totally forgot things like "T'es quoi?"

Merci pour votre aide! Je ne suis pas le meilleur avec Français, mais j'essaie le mieux!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sparklehappy

Is there a specific reason "Quel es-tu ?" is "Which one are you?" or is that sentence simply idiomatic? If I (a non-native French speaker) had to translate "Which one are you?" to French, my first idea would be "Lequel es-tu?" But then, French is not my strongest language, so.

Merci!! :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElijahCFGolpe
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A better example sentence with "Quel" is "Quels loisirs préférés-tu?" ("What are your favorite hobbies?" Or literally "Which hobbies do you prefer?")

When words are asked alone, with no pronoun, well, you just do it like English I guess. "Qui est ton/votre ami?" (Who is your friend?).

Actually, the whole, pronoun-verb switch, is very similar to English. "Should I know you?" = "Devrais-je te connaître?"

And if you haven't realized yet, Accusative Pronouns (him, me, her, you, us, them) come before the first, conjugated verb. Hence, "Je T'aime" (I love you) or "je nous aime (bien) ensemble" (I love us together. With "bien", aimer means "like" only. So Je t'aime bien is something you'd hear in the Friendzone lmao jkjk, but actually, yeah, basically).

And, c'est tout pour maintenant. (That's all for now.)

Bon Courage! J'espère que ça t'aide avec ton Français! (Good luck! I hope that this helps you with your French!).

I finished the French Course back in like October or something. Duolingo helps a lot, but it's better if you go online, on YouTube and watch some videos, or read all the Tips & Notes and Discussion Streams on sentences. I'm not fluent in French, but I've learned a lot and can hold a basic conversation in French nowadays. Just keep at it!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sparklehappy

Thank you, ElijahClydeSK7! I have been wondering about this for some time and I found your comment very helpful. :)

Just one thing though, when you say,

"Que a-t-il?" = "Qu'est-ce qu'il a?" (What does he have?)

there should be an apostrophe between the u and the a in "Que a-t-il," making it "Qu'a-t-il" instead -- the e should be cut out entirely. It sounds really awkward otherwise and you have two vowels side by side, which is generally not liked in French.

But despite this one error, you've done a great job of explaining the concept, I'm sure many new users will also find your comment helpful. :)

Happy learning!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElijahCFGolpe
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Hahaha, Merci Beaucoup!

I forgot about "Qu'a-t-il". I don't talk enough in French to even be familiar with that sentence. MDR

But yeah, I agree, even when vowels are put next to each other in French, I get a little frustrated as well and laugh about it. And verbs sometimes are so irregular and so strictly regular sometimes and I've been realizing this recently: "étudiions" or "étaions".

En tout cas, encore, MERCI BEAUCOUP pour votre aide aussi! Joyeux Apprenant!? I tried mdr

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sparklehappy

My apologies for the late reply.

Pas de problème! Honestly I've only ever had to use a sentence like that on Duo -- which is only in like one lesson, so I've had to ask a French friend of mine to clarify on it for me before. XD

That's a very optimistic attitude to have. We can't all be perfect at a language all of the time, and making mistakes is a good way to learn a language because chances are you will have learned something from them -- that is, assuming one does not become discouraged through them. ;) Oh yes, verbs can be very tricky in French. TBH I had to look up what your verbs above meant; I have not yet come across them in my own lessons.

Encore, pas de problème! One of the things I like about the Duolingo community is how helpful we seem to be towards each other. Still thank-you for your explanations! ^-^

(And good job translating "Happy Learning" by the way! I'm not sure if it's correct (would that be "Happy Learner"?) but you're right, all one can do is try. ;) )

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmperorIguana42
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Thanks! This comment is really useful! Have some lingots :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElijahCFGolpe
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De Rien! Et merci beaucoup!

Good luck with your French Learning! Keep at it and it will surely pay off!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmperorIguana42
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Merci! :D

1 year ago
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