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Excuse-moi, comment tu t'appelles ?

In my answer to a question 'Excuse me, what is your name?' I said 'Excuse-moi, comment t'appelles tu?' . This is apparently the wrong answer, but I would like to understand why. The correct answer was given as 'Excuse-moi, comment tu t'appelles ?' thank you.

May 21, 2020



"Comment t'appelles-tu" (verb before noun) is the correct way to express a question in formal French, but you will hardly hear it in the streets.

"Comment tu t'appelles?" (noun before verb) sounds more natural and that's what you will commonly hear in spoken French.

Memorize both forms, just in case.

Anyway, your answer was correct and thus, should have been accepted. You should report the mistake.


Would "formal French" tutoyer here? Surely formality would require a vous if you needed to ask their name?


Yes, of course. But you can also imagine the situation when a teacher asks a young pupil for his/her name in a formal way, using "tu" instead of "vous" because it's less intimidating.

You can also use "vous" to put some social distance even when you're using informal speech.
(Vous vous appelez comment? Or even more colloquial c'est quoi, votre nom?)


Ah, of course. I'd not thought about the "asking a child" side of it.


It is not so binary. You just don't have on one side formal speech with vous and colloquial tu on the other. There is plenty of room for all kinds of variations depending on who you are talking to. You totally can say comment t'appelles-tu ?, even to someone you have never met before.

[deactivated user]

    Excuse-moi, comment t'appelles-tu is a valid way of expressing this and should be accepted.

    I have checked the question and it is not accepted - so it is a mistake in Duo, and if you see it again, press the "report" button and select "my answer should be accepted"


    Have you noticed that there's not much action by the contributors lately?

    I report "my answer should be accepted" often. On 4 July 2019 I started keeping a special folder in my email inbox for all communications that I receive from duolingo. Mostly it is feedback related to my suggestions. Once in a while it's a bug report. From July 5 until April 14 I received email consistently and regularly. I received 163 messages during that period saying "your translation is now accepted" in the French course. That's 163 messages during a 249-day period. A small number compared to the number that I reported, but it shows that they do make a difference. (Also, they don't send email to everyone who reports a particular translation. Only to the first one. It is likely that someone reported the same translation for the same sentence before I did in many cases.)

    But since April 14 there has been no communication of this type. I have had three messages since April 14. One was for a bug report and two were from a Catalan moderator provided links to some Catalan websites. But for the past five weeks I have received no feedback regarding sentence reports, even though I have probably reported 30 or more in that time. It seems very strange. I wonder if this is related to having paid staff take over duties that were previously handled by volunteer contributors. Do the paid staff have priority assignments that must be completed first before they have time to look at sentence reports? I assume that there must be thousands per day and that a high percentage of them are incorrect. Or maybe there's a new policy, unannounced to the user community, that reports are on hold. Or maybe the new staff aren't as proficient in French as the old volunteers, and they take longer to get confirmation that a particular translation is valid.

    [deactivated user]

      Snap - Use of Duo has rocketed since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, and A/B tests and other technical developments have been progressing apace, so I'm assuming it isn't an investment/funding issue - but no feedback for weeks after I had also seen a flurry earlier in the year.

      The standard of the new Tips and course material the staffers developed was definitely lower than the earlier material. I wonder if they are making staff changes to fix that, and the virus has slowed recruitment?


      Good point. The coronavirus effect is very unpredictable.

      The irony is that the free help was doing a better job than the paid help. But remember they had more free reign.


      the way u put it might have been informal


      = comment tu t'appeles


      comment tu t'appelles.


      Quel est ton nom? Comment tu t'appelle?



      Basic verb conjugation (or spelling, in Sanaa's post). Not word-order, which is the subject of the thread.

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