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Questions in French, help please.

I've been doing rather good in French and i've understood all of the skills up until Questions.

I'm having problems with the Est-ce qu. What does it mean exactly, when should I use it, and when I shouldn't use it. Could anyone clarify this to me. I did finish the Questions skill, but I just am not 100% sure on this.

4 years ago

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lavmarx
Lavmarx
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When I was starting in French someone told me to simply ignore "Est-ce que" (is it that) and translate the rest as a question since that's a formal way of making a question. For example "est-ce que tu as les pommes?" would translate as "Do you have the apples?" (Tu as les pommes?). That is just a tip that worked for me and helped me understand it, but I am sure someone can give you a better explanation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill-Roca

When I have a question like this (which happened ALL the time when I was working through the lessons) I enter "about french est-ce que" in Google and get the relevant pages from the french.about.com site, which is excellent for grammar.

http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/est-ce-que.htm and http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/questions.htm are the first two hits and both will help you out, I think.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill-Roca

Also, to help understand the construction of "est-ce que ..." a bit better, think of it this way.

"C'est" can be translated "it is" ... you can make this a question by reversing subject-verb, which becomes "est-ce" or "is it?". Then add "que", which is typically translated as "that" and you can see how "est-ce que" originated from "is it that ... ?" Except it's not literally translated, just used to indicate a question is coming ...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/makiminami
makiminami
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"Est-ce que" literally means "Is it that" and (I think) it is used in more formal situations (it is also used more often in Québec). You can use this without having to switch the subject and the verb in a French question, for example:

"Avez-vous un chien?" Literal English: Have you a dog? (with subject-verb reversal)

With est-ce que:

"Est-ce que vous avez un chien?" English: Is it that you have a dog? Notice how the subject and verb are not reversed.

Hope it helps! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyes_Elhadi

it's like:

do you like meat ? = est-ce que vous aimez la viande ?

do you like meat ? = aimez-vous la viande ?

both are true, so what I've concluded is "if you don't want to add (est-ce que) you reverse the verb and the subject"

I hope this will help :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StNaive

Personally I don't even think of Est-ce que as being words when they're in that order, but rather a sound that means a yes-or-no question is coming up (when it's at the beginning of a sentence). That's only a basic explanation though; the second link that Bill-Roca posted shows other ways that Est-ce que can be used in questions with answers other than yes-or-no. Translating it as "is it that" is also a helpful way of looking at it, when it comes to the kinds of questions mentioned in that link.

4 years ago