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"Voulez-vous manger quelque chose ?"

Translation:Do you want to eat something?

May 27, 2013



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?


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?


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


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 ]


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


Thanks for your clear answer lyong!


I was wondering this too. Hopefully someone can reply.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


I'm with you!!!


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


That has an entirely different meaning and is wrong.


Would 'Vous voulez manger quelque chose ?' work?


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


Why is "will you eat something" wrong


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?"


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


Why is would you eat something wrong?


"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."


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


It is technicalty correct SAE but is awkward, archaic.


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


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


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


I think "wish" sounds better!


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


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


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


Several decades of native first-language English tells me that a slightly better translation would be : Do you want something to eat?


Why do I put Voulez vous and it's wrong, why do I have to put the - in the Voulez-vous


I'm not an expert in français grammar, but I'm thinking you'll be immediately understood if you write "une femme francaise", or "a la carte" and if you tell a server "I don't want no peanuts", you are very unlikely to be served peanuts; but none of those are grammatically correct, either.


My response and the Duolingo response were the same and they marked it as INCORRECT and took a heart away. This happened to me twice today.


why not 'do you want something to eat'?


That would be:

Voulez vous qqc à manger


why is it not mangez? Seems like most other verbs end in ez when preceded by vous.


I hesitate to seem like an authority on française grammar, but I think I understand this well enough. Vous is second-person plural and the second-person conjugated form is Voulez. But when the sentence structure requires an infinitive then the form is manger.


I think one should get the phrase correct when one word is misspelt. Like an I before an E. The wrongly spelt word should just be highlighted


What is wrong with "Vous voulez....."?

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