"What a tall boy he is!"

Translation:Quel grand garçon il est !

March 22, 2013

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Uh, I'm really having difficulties with this one. How come it's 'quel'?


I'm trying to figure it out myself, but something I think is helpful is remembering that quel/quelle is in front of a noun or modifies it. For the most part, you will use quel/quelle for every exclamation. Que is always the object of a question (the target of the verb, not the subject performing the verb).


eesh. this "questions" segment is the toughest for me still. It introduces you to so many concepts at once.


because "quel" also means "what a" whilst "que" does not, that is why there is no "un" in the sentence. At least that's the way i understood it; native speakers, feel free to correct if i am wrong


quel, quelle, quels and quells are used for interrogation... and they mean "what/which".. if u are getting confused between these and the ones of lequel, then the difference is that lequel, lequels, laquelle and lesqeulles mean which one/ones :)


Why does one not need to put 'un' for 'a': quel un grand garcon il est?


You're trying to translate word by word, which rarely leads to an accurate translation, and often to absurd sentences. Please understand that different languages have different mechanisms. I agree that sometimes English and French work the same way, but sometimes not.

"Quel" = "What a" or "what" or "which"

All these are correct, but their use depends on the type of sentence (exclamation, interrogation, statement...) and on the context.

  • "Quelle heure est-il ?" = "What time is it ?"
  • "Quelle femme magnifique !" = "What a beautiful woman !"
  • "Dites moi quel jour je dois venir." = "Tell me which day I must come."


Why 'Quel grand garcon c'est !' is wrong?


As far as I know, some adjectives come before nouns (Beauty/Age/Number/Good-Bad/Size). Why does 'magnifique' come after femme? It's representing beauty I guess?


"Magnifique" comes either before or after the noun.


Adding "Il est " is incorrect. It's an anglicism, "Quel grand garçon !" is more natural and correct as it's an exclamative sentence.


Nope, it's correct common French, and is used by French native speakers. I agree that it may not be right according to the Académie Française, but common French has nothing to do with the French they stand for so...

If you want to fight against Anglicism you would have to change almost the entire common French these days. It's a lost cause.


Unrelated but I could've sworn that "c'est" in this case rather than "il est" in this case (I originally thought "c'est" was for situations while "il est" was for an actual subject but i got some wrong).


I'd also go with : quel grand garçon! but now i know that it's incorrect... it does sound funny if we add the "il est"


No, "Quel grand garçon !" IS correct French. You don't HAVE to add "il est", it's just an emphasis.


It's like saying "what a great boy he is!", right? That's why you add the "il est".


'il est' is used to emphasise who it is you are talking about, just in case it's required in some situation, weird as it sounds, it is correct.


But is there any way to distinguish audibly between "Quel grand garçon!" and "Quels grands garçons!"?


Not really. In parts of France the plural 'quels' is enunciated in a slightly more elongated way, but it's very subtle.


You are at a school yard watching children play, talking with another parent about the decline of western civilization as reflected in children's behavior. You say...Quel grand garçon il est. Now the other parent knows you have switched to talking about a particular child who is in your field of awareness. He/she looks to see who you are referring to.

Why does the other parent notice that you are suddenly talking about a particular child. Because you added il est to the end of your sentence. It is not incorrect to concentrate awareness or shift focus if that it is your intent. There are a number of ways of doing so and this is one of them.


northernguy, I have somewhat different question, and I would appreciate if you could give your opinion on it. We would say, for example, "C'est un grand homme." instead of "Il est un grand homme.". Why then we wouldn't say "Quel grand homme c'est !" instead of "Quel grand homme il est !"? Is it really the case that we would use "c'est" instead of "il est" only when it directly precedes the noun, and not when it is placed after the noun to which it refers? Only if this is the case, it can make sense.

(I have referred here to the following link http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est)



That is a very good question. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer.

Hopefully, someone else will come up with something.


The very reason I have even mentioned it is that such an answer (with "c'est" instead of "il est") is actually offered here (in "multiple choice" type of exercise), and if you choose it, you're marked wrong. I haven't seen so far anyone referring to this issue previously here on discussion pages. As you say, hopefully indeed someone can say something about it in the future.


What? I've heard comme il est grande been used before! on me! Kind of like...'ohh comme il est grande le garcon n'est pas' or something like that


Yes "Comme il est grand !" is correct French (not "grande" which is for feminine).


Why is "Que grand garçon il est" not also accepted since it also translates to "What a tall boy he is"? Is que used more for a question and quel for a statement?


Your proposition is not correct French.

"Que" is an interrogative pronoun, "quel" is an interrogative adjective.

I think you might need those links to understand better how questions work in French :






Thanks, that helped me a lot. I had the same question as CasW.


I tried "quel grand garçon est-il!" and that was wrong -- why?


Because the correct translation is "Quel grand garçon il est !"

Usually we invert subject and verb with the interrogative form.


Ah! Your second sentence cleared it up for me; thank you!


"c' ", "ça", "ce", "cela" or "ceci" are not personal pronouns, they can't be used for human beings.


here says that the adjective is placed before the noun, when the adjective is figurative. so, why is it "quel grand"? http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_4.htm


This kind of differentiation has been dropped for some words in common French. "ancien" and "grand" are one of those. Strictly speaking, it's a mistake, but it can't be helped. ^^


Random question, if they said 'Quel chaud garcon il est!' would it literally mean 'what a hot boy he is?" Hot as in handsome or hot as in temperature?


No. "chaud" is not used for handsomeness in French.

However, it can mean "horny" (sexe) or "warmed up" (sports).

It can also be used for different things in familiar French :

"je suis chaud(e)" :

  • "I'm motivated" (to do something which we talked about in the discussion)
  • "I'm on a (winning) streak"
  • "I'm skilled"

"C'est chaud !" = "It's difficult !"


Why is it you can say "quel grand garcon" and it is correct despite the fact that garcon does not have an article of any kind?


It's a specific structure using the exclamation form. Usually articles are mandatory in French, but there are cases when they can, or must be dropped. For this exercise, you absolutely can't use an article before garçon. It would not be correct French.


The kid sees a person who looks confused. Helps them out a bit.


Exclamative adjective "quel" is here also a "determiner", and it cannot be used with yet another determiner for the same noun (for example with definite or indefinite article). It would be same as placing both "le" and "un" before one and the same noun. You only need one determiner. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/determiners.htm


Why grand garçon instead of garçon grand


quel hauter garcon il est!


No, "hauter" is not a French word.


Arjofocolovi, je pense que haut est plus appropriable que grand, n'est-ce pas?


No, "haut" is not more appropriate. To describe people, we use "grand".

"haut" can be used for objects, and has other uses as well.

Have a look at this link to know more about "haut" (don't worry we don't use all the different meanings in common French) :


(I'm answering in English so everyone can understand what we're talking about. Your sentence is almost correct, just replace "appropriable" with "approprié".)


As a lurking-listener I really appreciate all your efforts and kindness as you facilitate our learning....Thanks so much. I'm giving you a lingot to emphasize appreciation!


Quel grand garçon est lui?


Nope, that's not correct French.


Why is it quel? I thought quel was feminine so it should be que, right? help..... :(


"Quel" is for masculine, "Quelle" is for feminine. In this exercise, they are adjectives.

"Quel beau cheval !"

"Quelle belle vache !"

"Que" can be used for many different purposes, but not as an adjective. You can make some research if you want to know more. You can start here :



I tried "qu'il soit un grand garcon" and it was marked incorrect. Is this not something that would be said?


hi, can anyone explain why it is "il est" not "c'est"? Merci.


Where is the "he is" in this sentence?


why is "quel grand est le garçon" wrong?

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