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Why "nous sommes" in "quel jour sommes nous aujourd'hui?"?

I understand "nous sommes" as "we are" in english. However, "what day is it today" in french is "quel jour sommes nous aujourd'hui?", which directly translates to "what day are we today?". It does not make sense to me. Could anyone explain it, please? Thank you in advance!

April 25, 2020



French is another language. It means you won't be able to translate everything word for word. You may already know that comment vas-tu ? means how are you? and soon you'll learn that quel temps fait-il ? means what is the weather like? Different languages have different structures.


Often things are expressed differently in other languages. This is one of those cases.

“Il fait beau" (literally he/it - makes - beautiful), meaning the weather is nice, is another such case.


Learning a new language is not just different words - but also a different way of thinking and looking at the world. Relax and enjoy.


Yes, it does literally say, "Which day are we today?" That is because different languages express things differently. Even if it doesn't make sense in English, it makes perfect sense in French. It's just something you'll have to get used to.


They are idioms in both languages.

Quel jour sommes nous is funny because we're not literally days.

"What day is it" is funny because there is no clue what "it" is.

To think either language is deficient is ignorant. I hope the person who said that somebody should improve French will soon come to see the charm and ingenuity that have surfaced as humans try to convey baffling subjects such as time.


Thanks a lot. Ok, I just have to learn it then.


Well I haven't noticed that before but you're right this is weird. On one hand we say "En quelle année sommes nous ?" and "En quel mois sommes-nous ?" but on the other hand we say "Quelle heure est il ?". I guess you'll have to learn it by heart.


That's an interesting question ! Well in fact some things are just different from one language to another as have explained the others. Maybe in French we say it that way because it is something that concerns everyone ? Just an hypothesis. ^^


That's what I thought first but then the example of "Quelle heure est-il" came to my mind. Couldn't find anything interesting on google by the way

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