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"What are you saying?"

Translation:Qu'est-ce que tu dis ?

July 18, 2017



whats wrong with "Qu'est-ce que dis-tu?" as opposed to "Qu'est-ce que tu dis ?"


There are 3 ways of asking this question in French:

  • formal with a Verb-Subject pronoun inversion: que dis-tu ? / que dites-vous ?
  • standard with "est-ce que" + a statement form: qu'est-ce que tu dis ? / qu'est-ce que vous dites ?
  • informal/in speech, as a statement: tu dis quoi ? / vous dites quoi ?


Could you say "Dis-tu quoi?"


"Dis-tu" belongs to the formal register of speech (which needs the interrogative word before) and "quoi" to the informal one (to be placed at the end of the question). So you cannot combine them.


I thought 'Que dis toi?'' would work. Now it looks like it should be 'Que dis tu?'

But 'tais toi' is allowed. Please explain tu vs toi?

Thanks in advance from the still- mostly-frozen Canadian Prairies!


"Dis-tu" has "tu" as the subject of "dis", and this is a formal question.

"Tais-toi" has "toi" as the direct object of "tais" and this is a command in imperative.

The reason for this is that if it were not a question or a command, you would have:

  • Tu dis = you are saying
  • Tu te tais: reflexive verb = you keep quiet

In the imperative, the subject disappears:

  • Dis ! = Say!
  • Tais-toi ! = Keep quiet!

In the interrogative, the subject is inverted with the verb:

  • Dis-tu ? = Are you saying?
  • Te tais-tu ? = Do you keep quiet?


Thanks for your explanation. Now it makes sense to me!


Wait so can you say "quoi dis-tu"?


Sitesurf clearly gave the six possible alternatives; yours is not among them. “Quoi” never stands at the beginning of a sentence, you have to say “que dis-tu ?” That is the first of Sitesurf's alternatives.

  • 2216

Basically, you can't combine two different forms of a question in one sentence. You have combined the "qu'est-ce que" form with the inversion form. Use "(qu')est-ce que" before a statement.


@n6zs Please, If you don't mind me asking for clarification; In a recent "match the words" exercise, "Qu'est-ce que" paired to the word "do", as in "Do you know the time?"


How is Qu'est-ce que used for statements, rather than questions? Merci.


If you are referring to n6zs' comment “use (qu')est-ce que before (not for!) a statement,” he meant to say: Don't use inversion after (and in addition to) “(qu')est-ce que.” Rather, use the indicative form that is used to form statements.

  • Statement: tu viens (you are coming)
  • Question: Est-ce que tu viens? (are you coming?)
  • but not: Est-ce que viens-tu – wrong.
  • Question by inversion: Viens-tu? (are you coming?)


The first que in Qu'est-ce que tu dis ? is interrogative, and the usual subject-verb inversion follows it. The second que is a relative pronoun and doesn't call for an inversion.

Qu'est-[ce que tu dis] ? is grammatically similar to Que mange [le chat que tu vois] ?


Why not "Quoi dites-vous?"


"quoi" cannot start a question:

  • que dites-vous ?
  • qu'est-ce que vous dites ?
  • vous dites quoi ?


I thought "Que" meant "That" not "What" ? Am confused!


Just like the English word "that," which has multiple meanings depending on context, so goes the French word "que."

[deactivated user]

    Whats wrong with saying vous


    Nothing if the rest is correct:

    • Que dites-vous ?
    • Qu'est-ce que vous dites ?
    • Vous dites quoi ?


    And why is "tu dis quoi?" incorrect?


    Why was my 'qu est ce que vous dites' marked wrong?


    ‘qu est ce que vous dites’ is wrong. It should be Qu'est-ce que vous dites ? but I don’t know if that’s why it was marked wrong.


    "qu'est-ce que tu es en train de me dire" looks ok to me ... feedback gratefully received ...


    This is all good except "me", because there is not "to me" in the English sentence.


    Why not "Qu'est-ce que tu parles"?


    "Parler" is to speak or talk.

    "To say sg" is "dire quelque chose".


    So ... I can't just say "Que tu dis?" I have to say ... "Qu'est-ce que tu dis?"


    Please read the whole thread.


    So confused. It is saying i have typos, but what i have typed is identical to what it suggests - every letter and space are the same


    When you have a question like that, you should copy and paste your entire answer into the comment.


    Why not est-ce que tu dis?


    “Est-ce que tu dis ?” lacks the “what” of the English sentence.

    Est-ce que tu dis ?
    Are you saying?

    Qu’est-ce que tu dis ?
    What are you saying?


    Does French not have an implied subject like other languages or is Duo being pedantic to teach the basics early on? "Qu'est ce que dis?" seems correct...?


    No, French does not have an implied subject (“pro-drop”, like Czech, Italian, Spanish, Russian, …). You cannot omit the subject even if it is a personal pronoun.

    And many French verb forms are so similar that it would be hard to guess the subject from the verb.


    Why oh why are we insisting on punctuation marks when the words are right but only on certain things, a little uniformity would be better surely


    Punctuation marks ", . ?" are ignored. Hyphens and apostrophes are part of the word and are not optional. What are you referring to?


    This is NOT how you conjugate dit


    "Dire" in indicative present: je dis, tu dis, il/elle/on dit, nous disons, vous dites, ils/elles disent.

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