56 Comments This discussion is locked.
Would it be incorrect to say "Ela bebe quê?" Or is the article really necessary? Also, I translated it as "She drinks the what?" - I don't really see why that's incorrect.
Just another small point, "what" is simply "o que" most places but when it occurs at the end of a sentence it becomes "o quê" just as you see here. The same happens with "why" which is "por que" normally but becomes "por quê" at the end of a sentence. The accent changes the sound of "que" from KEY to KAY (approximately - I am not a native speaker).
what will never be a quê/ a que. I think the reason is that we have a noun quê, and it's masculine. It means a quality that cannot be described or named easily.
Ela tem um quê de mistério = She has something of a mystery / a certain je ne sais quois
Nevertheless, a que actually exists, but it has another syntactic structure:
Qual bala você quer? Eu quero a que for mais barata! = Which candy do you want? I want the one that is the cheapest!
- Contrast with:
barata = cheap / cockroach
mais barata = cheaper / more cockroach
a mais barata = the cheapest one
Maybe she just drank a cockroach.
but if you simply wanted to say what? you would say que? If someone asked if I understand, and I reply o que... it kinda sounds like im saying OK
If someone says a thing and you reply "quê?" that means "sorry?" (You didn't get it) or "what!?" (Surprised!)
"She drinks the what?" doesn't exist in normal English. We have to translate ideas not word for word.
Sure it does. A surprised response to tne statement 'she drinks the pizza?' Could be 'she drinks the what?' Not common, but certainly possible.
I wrote ”she drinks the what” and I got it wrong, but I was thinking exactly what you said in your example, as in surprised or I didn't hear you correctly ” she drinks the WHAT?
Can this question be translated as: "What does she drink?" Does anyone know?
So o que ( with accent) is also "what?" And it should be pronounced like the spanish que? (KAY not KEY) much obliged paulenrique, I counted on you as I'm sure many others did when I didn't know nadie!
Wait! Are both sentences used in Portuguese - the one that starts with "O que" and the one that ends with "o quê" (with a slight difference in meaning)?
I know that. I meant: are both sentences possible? And do they have a slightly different meaning - O que ela bebe? - What does she drink?; Ela bebe o quê? - She drinks WHAT? (expressing surprise)
If I say "she drinks the dirty water" in English, then it is perfectly fine to say "She drinks the what?" as an exclamation.
This sounds correct in Portuguese but I think in English it sounds odd. I think this is used when the person asking has not heard what "she" is drinking.
I think both: "What does she drink?" and "She drinks what?" Are both ok, one expresses surprise, the other is more general.
Because the "o quê" has a circumflex, o quê needs to be at the end of the sentence, giving us the translation: She drinks what!!!??
I am really confused with the use of these words to form questions. Perhaps I am being too literally-minded. I would have thought that "Qual ela bebe?" would translate as "What does she drink?" Is this phrase an idiom to indicate surprise as others have mentioned below? Because in English "She drinks what?" would indicate either surprise at what she drinks or a question to clarify because it was unclear as to the thing she drinks.
Ela bebe o quê?, depending on the intonation, means either What does she drink or She drinks what?. Qual ele bebe? means Which one does she drink?.
Ela que bebe? means is she (the one) who drinks?. Que bebe ela? is archaic, if not just weird/eccentric, but possible.
No, it's not bad grammar. It's a spoken construction. You need to say it with the proper intonation on the word "what" which can signal that it is either a question (rising intonation) or an expression of disbelief (very strong rising intonation). The important thing is that it is not a real wh- question asking for information. The context is often: I didn't hear what she drinks and I'm asking for repetition or I did hear it but I can't believe she drinks THAT.
Others have already explained it in this thread. Read Davu's and pfeil's comments.
What is the Portuguese word for "or"? I translated this sentence as, "does she drink or what?"
This page (in Portuguese) gives some hints:
and explains that the accent is added when the word means "something", is used as an interjection, when it occurs at the end of a sentence and in the expression sem quê nem para quê (which I think must be a close relation of the English expression without rhyme or reason).
Thia english translation has an issue with syntax. It should be "what does she drink"
"She drinks what?"?? I have never heard such! It's "What does she drink?". And "What she drinks?" is definitely wrong, indeed.
Never? Given the right context it works; if I was told that a woman drinks petrol, for example, my first reaction would be "She drinks what?" although I would add a '!' or two. :-)