Sentences with “... je fais pour”...
I came across the following sentences in one of the units: Comment est-ce-que je fais pour prendre le métro? Comment est-ce-que je fais pour aller à cette adresse?
I don’t understand the usage of “fais pour”. Can I write the sentence as “Comment est-ce-que je prends le métro?” Or “Comment je prends le métro?”.
Can someone please explain how this sentence structure works. Thanks!
It means "what do I have to do to take the metro". In French, we use "pour" as you would use the words "to" or "for" to express your ability to do something. "I have to do it for it to work" becomes "je dois le faire pour que cela marche".
If you want, you can use your example "comment est-ce que je prends le métro", it's not grammatically wrong, but we don't really use it. We use the structure with "pour" in a more casual and oral conversation, when you want to ask what to do in order to do something else.
I hope this helps, it is sure hard to see the difference, but think that the structure "je dois faire -something- pour faire -something else-" isn't particularly used in written language, and more to ask someone to explain something. "I must -something- in order to -something else-.
Some more examples : Comment as-tu fais pour passer ton examen ? --> how did you pass your exam?
Comment est-ce que je fais pour ouvrir cette boîte ? --> what do I have to do to open this box ?
Qu'est-ce que je dois faire pour qu'il se calme ? --> what do I have to do for him to calm down ?
Others answered your main question.
Two other points: "est-ce que" has one hyphen (Verb-Subject inversion).
"Est-ce que" can be used after "qui" and "que" and is tolerated after "où" and "quand" which are one-syllable interrogative words.
All other interrogative words of 2 or more syllables do not need "est-ce que": comment, pourquoi, combien, lequel, etc.
Comment est-ce que je fais pour prendre le métro. What does it take to take the metro.
What does it take to = comment-est ce que je fais pour