"Which ones do they love?"
Translation:Lesquels aiment-ils ?
why is it "Lesquels aiment-elles"? Shouldn't it be "Lesquelles aiment-elles?"
It could be, but doesn't have to be. 'Lesquels' does refer to 'elles'. It might refer to, say, "which dogs", so 'quels chiens' or 'quelles chiennes'. Make sense?
When asking a question you have to use inversion. Also, you agreement is off. Everything needs to agree... so you need either "Lesquelles aiment-elles?" or "Lesquels aiment-ils?" The feminine version of "they" (elles) is only used if the entire group in question is female; if there are 10 billion females and 1 male, it is still "ils." If the gender is unknown, you go with the masculine version; and obviously if it's all male you go with "ils."
So, the reason "Lesquelles ils aiment?" is wrong is twofold: 1. when asking a question you need to use inversion; and 2. The entire sentence needs to agree. Disregarding the improper agreement for a second "Lesquelles [sic] ils aiment?" means "Which ones they love?" By changing it to "Lesquelles aiment-elles?" or "Lesquels aiment-ils?" you get a proper French sentence that means "Which ones do they love?"
(Please excuse any typos it is getting late here and I am very tired)
I'm not exactly sure about your second point, that they need to agree. Lesquels/Lesquelles is (in a way) the object, while ils/elles is the subject. Lesquelles aiment-ils could mean Which (women/other feminine noun) do they (the men) love? and accordingly Lesquels aiment-elles: Which (men/other masculine noun) do they (the women) love. It's totally correct!
does the gender of the 'which' have to agree with 'elles/ils'? In other words, is one of the following wrong:
Lesquelles aiment-elles? Lesquels aiment-elles?
"Ils/Elles" = subject "Lesquels/Lesquelles" = object Each one has its own gender - one for who loves and the other one for what is loved. Therefore, both constructions you made can be correct, if you're asking whether a group of girls likes watches ("montres", feminine plural) or hats ("chapeaux", masculine plural), for example.
is there a way to AURALLY distinguish between aime-elle and aiment-elles?
Actually, the inversion for the third-person singular receives a "-t-" if the verb doesn't have one, making it "aime-t-elle" and "aiment-elles" the same in sound - there is no way to distinguish between them.
Do the words always have to be inverted as "aiment-elles" or "aiment-ils" in this case? Or could it also be "Lesquelles ils aiment"?
The inversion is a formal construction, just adding a question mark at the end of the phrase (and a rising sound in the speech) may be enough.
I wrote "Aiment-ils lesquels?" (They love which ones?) Does anyone know whether that's incorrect or is it just not the preferred construction?
I'm just wondering if there is a way to know whether to use quels or lesquels. I'm not even sure if "quels" is a French word, or if I'm just screwing it up. ^^
can anyone help me? what's the difference between lesquels, lesquelles, que, quelles?
Lesquels = Which ones (masculine and plural) Lesquelles = Which ones (feminine and plural) *Quel = Which (masculine and singular) Quelles = Which (feminine and plural)
Note this: -el is a simple masculine termination. -elle is feminine. When you add an -s, it becomes plural.
I guess it also works, as "est-ce que" plus the subject and the verb also makes up for a question form.
I read comments below. And I'm still having trouble with "Lesquels aiment-elles?" How can the masc. plural "Lesquels" speak properly to the fem. plural "elles" pronoun??
The hyphen in the question means the subject is coming after an verb, which always happens in English but, in French, is indicated by that sign. That way, "lesquels" is pointing to an object (which ones?), "aiment" is the verb and "elles" is the subject. The object is masculine plural and the subject is feminine plural - that's not a problem as those are different elements in the phrase.