"What is impossible?"

Translation:Qu'est-ce qui est impossible ?

March 27, 2013

105 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/EnzoVan

Why "qui" instead of "que"?

March 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"qui" is subject of "est" and "que" is the object form.

  • qu'est-ce qui est impossible ?
  • qu'est-ce que tu fais ?
March 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Ishana92

But it says bellow in this thread that qui means who and que means what. So why use qui here? Shouldn't that mean who is impossible and not what is impossible?

January 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Que and Qui can be either interrogative pronouns or relative pronouns:

As interrogative pronouns:

FORMAL:

  • qui est là ? = who is there?
  • que fais-tu ? = what are you doing?

VARIANTS:

  • qui est-ce qui est là ? = who is it that is there?: the 1st "qui" is interrogative subject and the 2nd "qui" is relative subject
  • qu'est-ce qui est là ? = what is it that is there?: "qu'" is interrogative subject and "qui" is relative subject
  • qui est-ce que tu vois ? = whom do you see?: "qui" is interrogative subject and "que" is relative object
  • qu'est-ce que tu fais? = what is it that you do?: "qu'" is interrogative subject and "que" is relative object

As relative pronouns:

  • "qui" is subject and can represent masculine or feminine, singular or plural nouns:

-- l'homme / la femme qui est là = the man who is there
-- le chien qui dort ici = the dog that is sleeping here
-- la chose qui est impossible = the thing that is impossible
--- les vêtements qui sont lavés = the clothes that are washed

  • "que" is object and can represent masculine or feminine, singular or plural nouns:

--- l'homme que je vois = the man whom I see
-- le chien que je promène = the dog that I walk
-- la chose que je veux faire = the thing that I want to do
-- les vêtements que je lave = the clothes that I wash

January 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lukeknight13

It would be helpful if the app version of duolingo let you follow a discussion without necessitating a reply. (I want to keep this response for future reference, hence this)

October 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Lukeknight13

Sitesurf, I can't reply to your question for some reason so am replying to myself. The app is the only problem. If someone replies I get an email alert then I can click the link and view it on the Web. The Web based pages I can follow easily but not when I'm on the app, as I invariably am when I find a useful comment. The only way to save it for later is to reply to it.

October 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Can you keep it now?

October 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

I would suggest you use the app for practice and a PC for forums where you can copy and save what you would like to keep for further reference.

October 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DerekSimms

I have A LOT to learn...

December 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/YahyaZuhair

So could this question vary according to context?

- He's doing the impossible.
-- What's the impossible?
- He's trying to win the marathon.
-- That's impossible. He can't do it.

Can we translate that second sentence to "qu'est ce qu'est impossible ?"

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Lii22221

I'm guessing not, because once you put it into that sentence, the object in question is the subject of your question.

January 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/akilann

Well, you actually changed the question. "What is impossible?" is different from "What is the impossible?"

In the Duolingo sentence, "impossible" is a predicate adjective modifying "What." In the second sentence, "impossible" is actually the subject, and "What" is the object. (You can rewrite it as "The impossible is what?").

So in the second case the translation would be, « Qu'est-ce que c'est l'impossible? »

June 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"What is the impossible?" = Quel est l'impossible ?

Besides, the verb "être/to be" never has an object.

In a sentence with this state verb, the subject is either described or defined by what in French is called "un attribut". This "attribute" can be an adjective or a noun.

June 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Thiagaraj_M

Would Qui est impossible ? be accepted as the right answer?

April 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

what you propose is "who is impossible?"

April 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Thiagaraj_M

Then how about Que est impossible?

April 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"que est" would be elided in "qu'est" ; so you could say "qu'est-il impossible ?" but because it does not sound very clear, you will be able to say "qu'est-ce qui est impossible ?" (standard) or "quoi est impossible ?" (casual)

April 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/pistachio8

Can I say "qu'est impossible?" (without "qu'est-ce" in front of it)?

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There is a lot to read here for this is a long thread. Please take the time to do so.

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/pistachio8

ah, sorry! I did read through and used the search as well, but I couldn't find the answer then. Now I do. :'(

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Steph24305

A useful tip is that the "qui" in "Est-ce qui" is usually immediately followed by a verb (because it is the subject), whereas the que in "Est-ce que" is usually followed by the subject and then the verb.

June 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/koreanjesu5

Wow man u deserve more upvote. Ur comment somehow just make it alot easier for me

September 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/bonnie03

what about... quel est impossible? if not, why not? :)

April 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"quel/quelle/quels/quelles" are adjectives, you would need a noun after them, like "quelle chose est impossible?"

April 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Chartreux

Above you state "quoi est impossible ?" is valid, but in another discussion you stated that quoi must come at the end of the sentence. I'm a little confused... and hurt... though not terribly. ;)

September 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

I also said it was casual, and in this sentence "quoi" is subject of the sentence while in the other case it was object. I know... nuances...

September 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/DSendros

I tried quoi est impossible and it told me no. Is this not valid? You seem to say it should be.

November 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

As a general rule, "quoi" does not start a question, unless it is preceded by a preposition:

  • de quoi parlez-vous ? (what are you talking about?)
  • à quoi pensez-vous ? (what are you thinking about?)
November 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/bonnie03

thank you :)

April 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Flugs1

What about "lequel est impossible?". That's a subject, isn't it?

February 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/EStyrke

Would "quoi est impossible?" be correct?

May 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

you can hear it, but it is not the most correct form.

May 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Caversham

That was my version - alas, marked INCORRECT. Not quite sure why.

November 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Because it is not the standard register but rather relaxed/oral only.

November 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Caversham

Thanks, Sitesurf

November 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mindlesslauree

Forming French questions is so impossible!

August 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/YahyaZuhair

pourquoi dites-vous ça ?

August 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/GandalfThe752294

"Why do you say that?" Am I right? @YahyaZuhhair

August 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/YahyaZuhair

yes, that's correct

August 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryLouise872063

Oh I'll never get this. I console myself that my French is not required for anything purposeful, other than for self satisfaction, whenever I am confronted by these challenges.

July 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/toh.weilun

Hi Sitesurf you mentioned that quel, quelle have to come before a noun, but I read Quel est ton chanteur prefere? as an example sentence in a grammar book. Are there situations when you can use quel in front of verbs?

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Hi there! You are right, "quel" can be used in front of verb "être", when there is no specific frame of reference:

  • quel/qui est ton chanteur préféré ? = quel/qui chanteur est ton préféré ? = who is your favorite singer?

  • quel est son nom ? = comment s'appelle-t-il/elle ? = what is his/her name?

You will use "lequel est ton chanteur préféré ? = which one is your favorite singer? when the frame of reference is more closely defined, like "between X, Y a,d Z..."

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/toh.weilun

Thanks a lot! So is etre the only exception to this rule or are there others?

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

I cannot think of another verb than être at the moment.

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/thoscorco

Confused as to why "quel est impossible" does not work. It is using etre.

November 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Quel" is an adjective, so you would need a noun to pair with it, like "quel exercice est impossible ?".

In the English sentence "what" means "what thing"; it is therefore a pronoun and not an adjective. To translate "what" before "être" you need "qu'est-ce qui" (lit. what is it that is).

November 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ibuco

Why was "C'est impossible quoi?" Incorrect?

March 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Yes, it does not work.

Back translated into English: This is impossible what?

The question "what is impossible?" is asking about the nature of the thing that is impossible.

The correct translation "qu'est-ce qui est impossible ?" directly translated is: "what is this thing that is impossible ?"

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ibuco

Ok, cool. I thought it might pass in an idiomatic sense like, for example, "Tu me dis quoi!?". But I guess I crossed the thin line somewhere along the way :-) Thanks for your response, and for all the work and enthusiasm you invest here. You're the best!

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Some people use "non-words" to complement their speech, like "you know?" every now and then, in English (in French: tu sais ? or vous savez ?).

Among these non-words, some use "quoi" without any intention to mean anything with it (below, non-words are in italics):

  • bon, alors, tu sais, je lui ai dit : "c'est impossible, quoi !" tu sais, il exagère, quoi ! alors, bon, il n'a qu'à faire un effort, quoi !

See what I mean?

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/YahyaZuhair

Can we still use "impossible est quoi ?" or is that still wrong?

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

At the very least, you could hear "Quoi est impossible ?", not the other way around.

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/YahyaZuhair

But you stated above that "quoi est impossible ?" is a casual way to ask the question.
So, can we use it in written conversations? not formally, of course.

this sentence has confused me a lot :)

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

You can use it in writing if your intention is to do an exact transcription of a conversation.

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/linkinparkSWE

uhh french is so difficult and i`m swedish so my english are not perfect either.

December 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/GandalfThe752294

Better than most native English speakers from the looks of it. ;)

August 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/malooney

So to put it simply this 'qui' that confused me means 'that'? So when is que used again?

April 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Interrogative pronouns are used as follows:

  • qui = who
  • que = what
April 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/arandaneri

Why is the DUO server putting some of the words you type together? Can you trick it so this does not occur? Btw: You rock!!! :-)

August 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/InonCohen

Why is "qu'est ce qu'impossible" not correct ?

May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Look at this sentence in two parts:

  • qu'est-ce = what is it / what is that thing (interrogative clause per se)
  • qui est impossible = that/which is impossible (relative clause)
May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/InonCohen

Oh i see so i was supposed to put another est in front of the impossible .. But why aren't qui and eat become qu'est ?

May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"qu' " is elided from "que" and "qui" never elides.

May 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/InonCohen

I think I got it .. Thank you so much !

May 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/CarolinaKiss

Why "quoi est impossible?" is wrong?

June 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Quoi" does not start a question, in general.

June 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kpypton

what is impossible? this is my last question and i have no heart left and i miss it

July 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/abby32922

Why must the correct answer be all complicated? Why can't it just be "Qui est impossible"?

December 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

It can't be, because in questions "qui ?" means "who?".

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/halstead

why can you not use Quel or quell ?

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/novoid13

why not - qu'es qu'il y a d'impossile?

February 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiraan1

Is anything wrong with " c'est quoi impossible?"

September 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"what is impossible?" means "what thing is impossible?" and it is a question.

So your question has to start with the translation of "what is?".

All questions starting with "what is" can be translated to "qu'est-ce qui est" (lit. what is it that is). This is an idiom that you have to learn as is.

In speech, you may hear people say "quoi est impossible ?" but it is not proper French, for "quoi" should not start a question.

September 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/S.Z.Q.S.

Why can't there be a liazon on the second "qui est"?

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There should be one, but TTS is not always reliable.

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/S.Z.Q.S.

I mean in the writing. Wouldn't it be qu'est? Or something like that?

March 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"qui" is a relative pronoun and subject. It never elides to qu', which is reserved for "que", also a relative pronoun but an object:

  • je vois le chien qui est ici ("qui" is the subject of "est")
  • je vois le chien qu'elle promène ("qu' = que" is the object of "promène")
March 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bobingtony

Why is it "qui est" not "qu'est"

October 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"qui" and "que" are relative pronouns.

"qui" is the subject form and "que" the object form.

  • qu'est-ce qui est impossible ? has "qui" as the subject of "est".

  • qu'est-ce que tu fais ? has "que" as the direct object of "fais" (the subject is "tu").

October 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AlfiePad04

Qu'est-ce qui est impossible impossible insufferable out of the question ?

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/catherineschipul

Sitesurf, you have the patience of a saint! Merci!

June 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Amir.pro

I read the whole topic but couldn't figure out the reason why "qu'est-ce qu'il est impossible" is incorrect? May I get some help on this please?

July 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Let's parse this:

qu' = what
est = is
ce = it
qu' = that
il = it
est = is
impossible = impossible

Actually, you have used "qu'il" (conjunction + a new subject in the form of an impersonal pronoun = that it) instead of "qui" (relative pronoun = that).

As a consequence "qu'est-ce qu'il est impossible... " misses something like "... de faire ?", as if the English were "what is it that is impossible... to do?"

July 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Peter724589

when do you use quel and when do you qu'est ce que?

July 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/NeilDavids6

This reads to me what is that what is impossible.

August 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/koreanjesu5

This is too hard. I dont understand even with all the explenation sitesurf has given. I just didnt know the difference between this as a subject or this as an object.

September 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EllyMoody

Can I get a literal translation for the answers word by word?

September 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Please scroll up and read the detailed answers already given (especially the 4th post on this page).

September 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Milad285643

All of (( qu'est-ce qui)) for just a simple "what" ?! Damn,french is a funny language!!

October 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Les997682

Qui not que? This is very hard to understand even with the explanations.

November 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/antlane

qui is subject, before le verbe: qu'est-ce qui est hard?

que is object, complete a transitive verbe: qu'est-ce que tu veux?

Qui est-ce qui est arrivé ? = Who has arrived? - the subject is a person

Qu'est-ce qui fait ce bruit ? = What makes this sound? - the subject is a thing

Qui est-ce que tu cherches ? Marie ? - Who are you looking for? Marie? - the object is a person.

Qu'est-ce que vous voulez ? Du café ? - what do you want? Coffee? - the object is a thing

November 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoyceGee1

That should be who is impossible if you put qui, surely. I put que

November 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/majid993616

Ça va bien

November 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/missmart2

I used Ce qui as noted and it was wrong , Does anyone know why?

December 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Only when "what" is not in a question can you translate it to "ce qui" or "ce que".

  • What is impossible? = qu'est-ce qui est impossible ?
  • I know what is impossible. = Je sais ce qui est impossible.
December 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ADRIANKLOS2

why not simply "quel est impossible ?" ?

January 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Pam520742

Isn't 'qui ' who? There are no living subjects in this sentence "what is impossible?'

February 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Qui" can be two things:

  • an interrogative word meaning "who", as in "who's there?" = Qui est là ?
  • a relative subject pronoun meaning "that/who/which", as in "I know the man who is here" = "je connais l'homme qui est ici", or "There are things that worry me" = "Il y a des choses qui m'inquiètent"

"What is impossible?" translates to "qu'est-ce qui est impossible ?", literally "what is it that is impossible", where "qui/that" is a relative pronoun, representing "qu'/what" and the subject of "est/is".

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sheila_Balis

Doesn't 'qui' mean 'who'?? Why is the word 'qui' in the sentence "What is impossible?"

April 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

In this sentence "qui" is not the interrogative "who?" but the subject relative pronoun, which can be the translation for "who/which/that".

"Qu'est-ce qui est possible ?" literally translates to "what is it that is possible?", where "qui/that" are the subjects of the verb "est/is".

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/thoscorco

Not when it is part of the question stem "qu'est-ce qui". This stem is always followed by a verb and then it means "What" A good phrase to learn is "Qu'est-ce qui se passe?" which means WHAT is going on?

April 9, 2019
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