Tips for French

I am having trouble with the Questions Skill. I can't memorize the words and what they mean. I have tired Tiny Cards but it doesn't work. The grammar is also tricky. I have tried putting the person first and then the present next, but it's wrong. Why? The different meanings of words are confusing too. Please help!!!

December 16, 2018


You generally have three choices for turning statements into questions. Consider the indicative statement "you have a car."

In french, there are three common ways to turn that into a question:

  1. Have you a car? (this is called "inversion")

  2. You have a car? (like the indicative, but with a questioning, higher-frequency intonation on the end)

  3. Is it that you have a car? (this always works)

That's pretty much it. Later on you can worry about the subtleties, like which is the most vulgar version and which is the upper-crust version (i.e., which would sound more natural with "tu" and which with "vous"), but for now it's all about duolingo-level French, and they'll generally accept most constructions.

Let's practice:

  1. Avez-vous une voiture?

  2. Vous avez une voiture?

  3. Est-ce que vous avez une voiture?

Note the hyphen in the first one. Also, you'll have occasion to put -t- (a letter T with hyphens on either side) when the inversion results in elle or il being immediately preceded by a vowel. That's a minor detail. e.g., a-t-il une voiture?

As far as the vocabulary introduced in that skillset, it's mostly the Five Ws, as we say in English: qui, que, quand, oú, and pourquoi? (there are a few other Ws as well: quel, laquel, etc., and an H: comment)

Also, Romance languages use "which" in places where we use "what", e.g., quel est ton problème? You'll get used to that.

There's also that pesky à which rears its ugly head from time to time. That will be a long-term beast of burden, but you'll eventually get a feel for that as well. (We actually have that in proper English as well: To what do I owe this pleasure? To whom am I speaking? but we probably forgot to speak like that.) Also, there is some good news. At least you don't have to worry about different words for the nominative and objective cases for certain French words. Qui is always qui, whether it translates into english as Who or Whom.

December 16, 2018

Thank you!!!

December 17, 2018

Try this site; He has little videos covering asking questions, also you will see a transcript of each of the videos there which you might want to copy and paste into a text file for future reference.

December 16, 2018

Ok, I'll see them. I am really grateful. Thank you!

December 17, 2018

This is probably one of the best sections of Duolingo French, but the poor audio lets it down. simple tip, persistence will pay off. what seems hard now will make sense in a few days.

I passed my French a1 a few days ago and every "difficult" aspect of French learning simply became easy without warning in a matter of days.

if you're struggling to learn words, forget tiny cards make a memrise account now! its superior and designed scientifically to teach vocabulary.

December 16, 2018

Thank you! I did and its going good!!

December 17, 2018

We've just posted Tips and Notes for the Questions Skill on the forums.

There's a lot of information for that skill, but hopefully you will find it useful. Questions.

December 16, 2018

Thanks for the help!

December 17, 2018

I get what you mean. I only started a couple of days ago but I have the same problem. The way that I have to memorise the words is confusing and I don't understand it. :(

December 16, 2018
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