This word seems like it's made up of different words, at least in part. Can anyone break down "aujourd'hui"?
au + jour + de + hui, literally “on the day of today”; since hui comes from Latin hodie, the phrase literally means "on the day of this day".
I remember seeing somewhere that word "aujourd'hui", contracted as you have explained, dates back to 12th century.
Haha I have always wondered this myself but have never bothered looking into it. Thanks!
Good question! Can someone break down the phrase: Qu'est-ce que c'est? and Qui est-ce? I'm having a hard time remembering how to spell them!
In this case, « que » at the beginning means “what.” Que + est + ce = What is it (or what is this). In the middle, « que » means “that,” so que + ce + est = that this is (or that it is). The expression literally translates to: “What is it that this is?” but we simply say, “What is it?” or “What is this?” in English.
« Qui est-ce ? » means “Who is this?” or “Who is it?”
Hope it helps. Maybe briefly check out these pages from french.about.com .... :)
What a great explanation! Thanks so much! I'll check out your links, too! Here's a lingot!
Aw, you're welcome. It was fun to break it down. Samsta's explanation goes in depth quite well. Good luck in your studies, et heureux apprendre* !
*Oups, c'est : Bon apprentissage
Nice explanation! You seem quite good in french. Par contre, "heureux apprendre" ne veux rien dire en français! ;)
If you meant happy learning, the correct way to translate this into french would be : Bon apprentissage! (literally good learning!)
First you have to know what the dash is for. When you have a question, you normally invert the subject and the verb and put a dash between them. So C'est -> Est-ce... ?
Now if we remove the contractions from Qu'est-ce que c'est ?, we'll get *Que est ce que ce est ?" (which is incorrect, by the way). Now when we translate this literally we get "What is it that it is?" but of course in English we would say "What is it?" Now if you don't know the difference between "il est" and "c'est" (ce + est), you'll want to read this.
This Est-ce que... ? form is very common for questions. For example, you could say either, "Est-ce qu'il (que il) mange" or "Mange-t-il ?" (the "t" is added for no real reason, only that the first word ends with a vowel and the next word doesn't start with one, so we add our own).
Qui est-ce ? should be easy if you have understood all of that. Essentially, it's "Who is he/she/it/this/that?"
Please correct any mistakes; I'm also just learning.
EDIT: Didn't see the other replies. Oups !
I really appreciate the explanations from katsushii, AlmostExMonoglot, and Samsta! I'm in my third week of first year university French. So, your explanations help! I didn't realize it was a contraction. I understand that the words est-ce que makes it a question, too. This will help me remember the phrases! Chapeau!
This may not be totally correct, however, I always remember Est-ce que ...? as Is it that ...?, and Qu'est-ce que ...? as What is it that ...?.