1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. When do I use lorsque vs. qua…


When do I use lorsque vs. quand?

When do I use lorsque vs. quand? Is there a difference, or are they just interchangeable?

March 6, 2018



They can be interchangeable when talking about a simple comparison of times.
However there are also some unique and non-interchangeable meanings as well.

Quand-and-Lorsque for a discussion in Duolingo.

And 'Quand,' 'Lorsque,' 'Lors de,' and 'Pendant' by Laura K. Lawless.


quand and lorsque both mean when, but they aren't always interchangeable.

Point 1:
quand can mean when or whenever (every time) whereas lorsque cannot mean every time.

For example: consider the sentence:

Je courais quand je suis tombé - I was running when I fell

This sentence could also have used lorsque instead of quand because quand in this context means a single time (a single instance - a particular instance)

now consider these three sentence

Je tombe toujours quand je cours - I always fall over when I run.
Elle va toujours à Paris quand elle est en France - She always goes to Paris when she is in France.
Je mange quand j'ai fail - I eat when (whenever) I am hungry.

In these sentences quand cannot be replaced with lorsque because quand refers to multiple instances

Point 2.
quand can act as an adverb, so it can be used in questions.
in interrogative sentences you cannot use lorsque.


Quand déjeunes-tu ? - When do you eat lunch?

Point 3
using when as a conjunction translates to lorsque

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.