Questions, Questions, Questions
(Yet another post complaining about French. Sometimes I wonder why I want to learn it at all...)
I've been blazing through all the lessons, feeling pumped about getting back on track, when I stumble upon the Questions unit. Apparently, all the French I had been learning before was the easy part. This was the stuff of horrors that I'd heard about on multiple blogs.
I am having the worse time forming questions and even remembering the basic who, what, when, etc. I swear, I spent over an hour on that lesson, and I'm still having trouble. Someone help me!
(On a completely unrelated note, I've noticed that I am starting to use a French accent when speaking English)
First rule of learning: having difficulty over something does not mean you will never get it. Calm down, do something else, come back to it when your brain is at peace. It often does wonders.
If you have trouble remembering the words, you could make a list and keep it next to your computer (or stuck to it!) all the time: writing (with pen and paper) helps many people to remember better. You could stick little pieces of paper everywhere in your house or room: "quand = when" on your mirror, "quoi = what" above your desk... Seeing them all the time will create repetition and help you remember them.
Someone suggested the Tips and Notes section: read it over and over again, copy it on paper, on a notebook or on stickers...
Once it's a bit clearer in your brain, you may start having more specific questions. That means you're starting to get it. It will be easier for you to get answers, it's a virtuous circle :) Bon courage!
There are a few ways of forming questions in French. You can just add a question mark to a statement (if you're saying it make sure to make the end of the sentence slightly more high pitched in the same way we do in English), you can just add a question word like "Comment" or "Quand", you can just reverse the verb (I'll explain below) or you can just add "Qu'est-ce que" or "Est-ce que" to the beginning of the question (literally meaning "What is it that" and "Is it that").
Example 1: Question Mark
Tu as un sandwich? (Do you (singular) have a sandwich?)
Vous avez un sandwich? (Do you (plural/polite) have a sandwich?)
Example 2: Adding Question Words
Quand est ton anniversaire? (When is your (singular) birthday?)
Quand est votre anniversaire? (When is your (plural/polite) birthday?)
Example 3: Verb Reversal
As-tu un sandwich? (Do you (singular) have a sandwich?)
Avez-vous un sandwich? (Do you (plural/polite) have a sandwich?)
Make sure to insert the hyphen, it's grammatically incorrect if you don't.
Example 4: Qu'est-ce que/Est-ce que
Qu'est-ce que tu as comme sandwich? (What is it that you (singular) have for sandwiches?)
Qu'est-ce que vous avez comme sandwich? (What is it that you (plural/polite) have for sandwiches?)
This would be used when ordering sandwiches, the classiest of foods, in a restaurant.
Est-ce que tu as un sandwich? (Is it that you (singular) have a sandwich?)
Est-ce que vous avez un sandwich? (Is it that you (plural/polite) have a sandwich?)
Seeing everything written out like this makes more sense somehow than the Tips & Notes page for the lesson. Merci beaucoup !
At what point do you get stuck? Are you able to formulate basic questions like "What is this" and "Who are you?" If you are confused with the long form of questions i.e. Qu'est-ce que vs Qu'est-ce qui, etc., I don't blame you, and I can assist you should you require so.
I find it impossible to even think of questions. I have difficulty with... everything!
In addition to the well-worded (in my opinion at least) Tips and Notes section, give these links a shot: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/questions.htm http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-ask-questions-in-french.html http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/grammar/questions.shtml
I'm sure if you peruse Youtube for interrogative videos, you'll be bound to also find great visual resources to help you.