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"Voulez-vous manger quelque chose ?"

Translation:Do you want to eat something?

May 27, 2013

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amy365948

I always learned that "voulez-vous" means both, "Do you want to?" and, "Would you like to?" In formal situations, such as with the pronoun "vous", it usually means, "Would you like to?" So, why is the phrase, "Would you like to eat something?" wrong here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

No, voulez-vous is simply "do you want" spoken to someone at a social distance from you. To get the conditional mood, you have to conjugate the verb in the conditional, so "would you like" is either aimeriez-vous or voudriez-vous?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jolynnedougherty

Is quelque chose ever used in plural form, ie quelques choses?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lyoug

Very short answer The phrase quelque chose is invariable.

(Short answer: see the end of this post, after the long answer.)


Long answer The catch lies in the fact that quelque and chose can both be used by themselves in other contexts, where they might need to agree in number.

Let's tackle the simple one first: chose by itself means thing, and is just as vague and "catch-all" as thing is in English. Une chose = a thing, des choses = (several, some) things. See here if you want some more details.

The other simple word to deal with is the plural form quelques, which means a few:

J'achète quelques pommes = I am buying a few apples
Avec quelques amis = With a few friends / With some friends

The singular quelque is much more complicated and I'm no linguist, so I'll try my best. When related to its plural counterpart, quelque is usually formal and basically means some / a little:

Avec quelque difficulté = With some difficulty (vs. Avec quelques difficultés = With a few difficulties)

Quelque also has a couple other formal meanings that I'm going to ignore on purpose here for the sake of clarity (However + adj, About / Around). What we're interested in here is the few very common fixed phrases that use quelque. These aren't formal, and are invariable:

Quelque part = Somewhere
Quelque temps = Some time
En quelque sorte = So to speak / In a way / Sort of

And of course:

Quelque chose = Something

Ok, with all of this in mind, I am going to be able to make my point below.


Short answer Quelques choses would be grammatical, and would mean a few things. However, the fixed phrase quelque chose is so common that any native ear, upon hearing quelques choses, would process it as quelque chose (they are pronounced exactly the same). So if you actually want to say quelques choses, you would need to be more precise to be understood. This can be done by changing choses to a less general word, or by adding an adjective in between:

Quelques petites choses = A few small things
Quelques objets = A few items

I hope this clarifies a few things (huhu). [Also quelque is no longer a word to me :D ]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jolynnedougherty

Thanks for taking the time to give such a thorough answer. It made it clear for me and is much appreciated.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chanelle04

Thanks for your clear answer lyong!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuoDavid

I was wondering this too. Hopefully someone can reply.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SourireCache

This sentence is super fun to say & will be used alot lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paubelt

Wouldn't "quelque chose" mean "anything" rather than "something"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shan007

According to larousse it seems that in a question it could mean "anything" depending on the context, http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/quelque/664448#64875.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SourireCache

So does that mean this sentence could also be interpeted as "Do you want anything to eat?"? I know that expression is commonly used in English as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scottchristo1

I typed "someone" instead of "something" , lost a heart, but no regrets.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/curlyeric

Reported "Do you want something to eat" since duolingo rejected that alternative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RockyRogue

That has an entirely different meaning and is wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeterHook3

'do you want something to eat' was wrong !!!!!????


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

Yes, that would require a slightly different wording: Voulez-vous quelque chose à manger ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisHiltz

Why is "will you eat something" wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlastairCr12

Because in English "do you want to eat something" and "will you eat something" mean very different things. The first is asking basically this: "Do you, at present, have a desire to eat something?". The second is asking basically this: "Will you, in the future, eat something?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrFranceX

I'm now spending more time trying to remember which questions are broken than learning French.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JideFagbuj

Why is would you eat something wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alleigh25

"Would you eat" is the conditional tense of "to eat." This is "do you want to eat," which is the present tense of "to want" and the infinitive "to eat."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robhines

Would 'Vous voulez manger quelque chose ?' work?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/curlyeric

Yes, it should be just another way to form the same question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cheesemom

I don't understand "Do you wish to eat something?" would be wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RockyRogue

It is technicalty correct SAE but is awkward, archaic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Red_Panda666

I put "Want to eat something?" and it was wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lauren847823

Could it also be "do you want something to eat"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

No, that would be a slightly different wording: Voulez-vous quelque chose à manger?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnVineyard

I think "wish" sounds better!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JanAlbin

We would always say, do you want something to eat. We are English, perhaps they say it that way in America


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fred458964

I have just made a typo. My answer is not wrong . Please correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tom914465

I thought "Will you eat something" was appropriate but got marked incorrect

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