to use "quel est" or not

In exercise, comment/31658284, the sentence in French is: • Tu sais "quel est" le sexe du bébé ? While in exercise, comment/31458898, the English sentence to be translated into French is: We're going to learn the sex of the baby. The approved answer was Nous allons apprendre le sexe du bébé. When I answered it, I wrote Nous allons apprendre "quel est" le sexe du bébé, to be consistent with the former sentence. Can someone please explain why "quel est" is required in the first sentence above, and not in this last sentence translation?

Thank you.

September 6, 2019


Quel is an interrogative pronoun. A) It’s not needed in the 2nd sentence (it is declarative), B) the corresponding English isn’t ‘we are going to learn -what- is the baby’s sex.

(Sorry for lousy typing. Power outage. Typing on phone.)

September 6, 2019

Yup. Your French sentence doesn't back translate. Look at the below.

Note: is a little better than google translate - but it can still come up with odd/incorrect translations. If you choose to either either of them - be careful.

September 6, 2019

Thank you. I understand now the difference in these two sentences and why quel est is not necessary in the declarative sentence. Thank you also for introducing me to an alternate translation site. I will give it a try! Here are some lingots!!

September 6, 2019

I'm pretty certain it's possible to use "quel" in a declarative (it can also be a relative adjective), so take the above w/a grain of salt. It really does depend on the sentence you are working with.

For example, something like the following. NB: this is on my learning edge of French, so others might chime in and correct the below.

We will learn what the sex of her child will be. <-> Nous apprendrons quel sera le sexe de son enfant.

September 6, 2019

That makes perfect sense! It is so much easier to learn where there is a good explanation. I appreciate your help so much!

September 6, 2019
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