"What is impossible?"
Translation:Qu'est-ce qui est impossible ?
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Que and Qui can be either interrogative pronouns or relative pronouns:
As interrogative pronouns:
- qui est là ? = who is there?
- que fais-tu ? = what are you doing?
- 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
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.
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? »
"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.
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..."
"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).
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 ?"
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?
"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.
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?"
qui is subject, before le verbe: qu'est-ce qui
que is object, complete a transitive verbe: qu'est-ce que tu
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
"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".
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".