https://www.duolingo.com/dylan468637

Qu'est-ce que grammar [Question]

Hello again Duolingo. I am learning questions in french and i have learned that with most questions, you should use Qu'est-ce que and Qu'est-ce qui and I was unaware if i was doing this right? From what i also saw, you usually want to switch the pronoun and the verb around when asking a question, is this also correct? An explanation would be greatly appreciated, Thanks. -Dylan

I am trying to say: what do you want

My Attempt: Qu'est-ce que veux-tu?

I am trying to Say: what do you love?

My Attempt: Qu'est-ce que aimes-tu?

1 year ago

14 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ruferales

In French, you can formulate questions in 4 ways:

Qu'est-ce que tu veux? -- no inversion, a bit formal (use "vous" for full formality)
Tu veux quoi? -- no inversion, usual
Que veux-tu? -- inversion required after simple que/qui
Veux-tu aller au marché? -- inversion, correct but kinda formal

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dylan468637

when do you use the inversion, is my attempt not correct grammar?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/curabex09
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You would normally add Qu'est-ce que to make a formal question just like with ruferales' example "Qu'est-ce que tu veux?" alternatively you can use the inverted method to post the same question " Que veux-tu? " what do you want? " Comment vas-tu? " how are you doing?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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You would normally add Qu'est-ce que to make a formal question

Note that using est-ce que is not formal. The standard/formal formulation is the one using the inversion.
Formulations using the locution est-ce que are more colloquial than the previous ones, and the ones using neither the inversion nor the locution est-ce que are even more colloquial.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/curabex09
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Yup, thanks! The inverted method is the formal and usual way to ask question.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aroboticist

My French teacher has taught us that you almost never use "qu'est-ce que" with the inversion. You either form a question by going "qu'est-ce que [subject] [verb] [rest of sentence]" or by the inversion "[verb]-[subject] [rest of sentence]. So, you could change your two examples to either of the two forms, but I don't think mixing them is very common.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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My French teacher has taught us that you almost never use "qu'est-ce que" with the inversion.

-> My French teacher has taught us that you never use "est-ce que" with the inversion.


You either form a question by going "qu'est-ce que [subject] [verb] [rest of sentence]" or by the inversion "[verb]-[subject] [rest of sentence].

Either:
"You either form a question by going "Est-ce que [subject] [verb] [rest of sentence] ?" or by the inversion "[verb]-[subject] [rest of sentence] ?"

Or:
"You either form a question by going "qu'est-ce que [subject] [verb] [rest of sentence] ?" or by "[subject]-[verb] [rest of sentence] quoi ?"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aroboticist

Ah, thank you for clarifying. I was a little uncertain after seeing this question, but you have made it clear.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dylan468637

What about when people say Comment alley-vouz or sentences similar to that?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aroboticist

'Comment' is a question word, it is different from 'est-ce que'. Question words do work with the inversion, but 'est-ce que' does not.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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what do you want

  • If you = tu
    => Que veux-tu ? or, more colloquial (and unrecommended by the French Academy) , Qu'est-ce que tu veux ? or, more colloquial (but not "unrecommended"), Tu veux quoi ?
    Exact same meaning for the three.
  • If you = vous
    => Que voulez-vous ? or, more colloquial (and unrecommended by the French Academy) , Qu'est-ce que vous voulez ? or, more colloquial (but not "unrecommended"), Vous voulez quoi ?
    Exact same meaning for the three.

what do you love?

  • If you = tu
    => Qu'aimes-tu ? or, more colloquial (and unrecommended by the French Academy) , Qu'est-ce que tu aimes ? or, more colloquial (but not "unrecommended"), Tu aimes quoi ?
    Exact same meaning for the three.
  • If you = vous
    => Qu'aimez-vous ? or, more colloquial (and unrecommended by the French Academy) , Qu'est-ce que vous aimez ? or, more colloquial (but not "unrecommended"), Vous aimez quoi ?
    Exact same meaning for the three.

An explanation would be greatly appreciated

est-ce que is a locution that adds no meaning to the sentence but only serves to mark the fact that the sentence is a question.

Why "qu'est-ce que" is unrecommended? ("qu'est-ce que" is the combination of interrogative pronoun qu' and (interrogative) locution est-ce que)
Exactly because est-ce que is here to mark that a sentence is a question but the pronoun que/qu' already indicates clearly that the sentence is a question so adding est-ce que is redundant.
For the same reason, you don't add est-ce que with inversion verb-subject as the inversion already clearly indicates that the sentence is a question.


you usually want to switch the pronoun and the verb around when asking a question, is this also correct?

Yes. But, as said, you don't add est-ce que to it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dylan468637

Hey! Thanks for the awesome reply, it cleared up the est-ce que for me, but im still a little lost on inversions? So when you are using Qu'est-ce que you DO NOT use inversion(if Qu'est-ce que was being used) and when you are using just Que/Quelle/Quel you WOULD use inversions?

Example: What i am saying : What do i eat / Attempt: Que mange-je ? / or is it Qu'est-ce que je mange?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
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So when you are using Qu'est-ce que, you DO NOT use inversion (if Qu'est-ce que was being used)

Yes.
But remind to prefer not use est-ce que at all with que/qu'.
Recall that qu'est-ce que is doing that as it is "qu' + est-ce que".

and when you are using just Que/Quelle/Quel you WOULD use inversions?

Not exactly. When you are using Que/Quelle/Quel (or any interrogative pronoun, interrogative adverb or interrogative adjective) you can either use inversion or use the colloquial formulation with the interrogative word after the subject+verb (no inversion).

But, not also that there are exceptions and your example is one. ;)

Example: What i am saying : What do i eat / Attempt: Que mange-je ? / or is it Que je mange?

For 1st person singular of present tense of verbs ending (at infinitive) with -er(*),

  • if you choose the inversion, then the last e takes an "accent grave": Que mangè-je ?. However, this formulation (for this spacial case, only: 1st pers. sing. PRESENT of -er verbs) is barely used (among other reasons, because it sounds like a past tense)
  • therefore, it's a case where the use of (the usually unrecommended) qu'est-ce que is more than tolerated and very common: Qu'est-ce que je mange ?
  • and you still have the usual more colloquial option : Tu veux quoi ?

(*) except verb aller

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/curabex09
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If you have unlocked the questions skill tree you can view the tips and notes section when using duolingo on desktop, hope that helps.

1 year ago
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