What is the difference between est-ce qu' and Qu'est- ce qu' in a question?

I am confused so if anyone out there can help me with some examples, that would be great! Merci!

August 9, 2017


Est-ce qu' => A question starting by "Do"

Do you want to play with me ? Est-ce que tu veux jouer avec moi ?

Qu'est ce qu' => A question starting by "What"

What are you cooking ? => Qu'est-ce que tu cuisines ?

August 9, 2017

est-ce que = is it that (you want to play?)
qu'est-ce que = what is it that (you want to play?)

August 9, 2017

Yes, I think the literal translation makes it clear. No rule to memorise if you understand the literal meaning.

August 9, 2017
  • 1712

You can turn any standard statement into a question by putting "est-ce que" in front of it.

  • Tu manges de la viande = you are eating meat (or) you eat meat
  • Est-ce que tu manges de la viande = are you eating meat? (or) do you eat meat?

Placing an interrogative word before "est-ce que" changes the form of the question.

  • tu manges = you are eating
  • qu'est-ce que tu manges = what are you eating

Note that there is generally no literal translation of "est-ce que" at all. So be careful when someone tells you "est-ce que" means "do". That is not correct. Open this link in a browser for more information.

August 11, 2017
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.