"What is this thing?"
Translation:Quelle est cette chose ?
Hey, I am a French native. In that case, we would moslty use "Quelle" instead of "Quoi".
Quelle est cette chose ? instead of Qu'est cette chose ? ==> never used, almost wrong gramatically, because we would use "Qu'est ce que cette chose", but it is a little heavy.
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Thanks for explaining those. The answer suggested to me was "Qu'est cette chose ?", which looks so strange to me.
"Qu'est cette chose ?" is very formal and you have a number of other ways to ask the same question:
- Quelle est cette chose ?
- Qu'est-ce que cette chose ?
- Qu'est-ce que c'est que cette chose ?
- Qu'est-ce que c'est, cette chose ? (emphasis by extraction)
- Cette chose, qu'est-ce que c'est ? (emphasis by extraction)
- C'est quoi, cette chose ? (emphasis by extraction)
- Cette chose, c'est quoi ? (emphasis by extraction)
Qu'est-ce que c'est? What is it that it is? Kind of the same, or am I wrong?
That would be too general. This question refers specifically to "this thing," or "this object." "What is this?" could mean any number of things.
It is definitely not the same register of speech as "what is this thing?". It is emphatic spoken French, something you should not use in writing.
Too colloquial... and there is a choice among other registers. Please read above.
Or maybe "Qu'est ce que ce bidule ?" Is it too heavy or too colloquial or just plain wrong? Thanks.
Joining the question... I wrote "Qu'est-ce que ce truc."...
I would bet that my French mother-in-law would have also used truc. Thanks for the response.
Je ne comprend pas pourquoi on ne peut dire : que ce que c'est cette chose :-)
You can say:
"quelle est cette chose ?"
"qu'est-ce que c'est QUE cette chose ?"
"qu'est-ce que cette chose ?"
And more familiar : "qu'est-ce que c'est que ce truc ?" or "c'est quoi ce truc ?" Synonyms of "truc" : machin (masc), bidule (masc)
Sitesurf, could you explain the use of "QUE" here? Kinda confused about the structure. Thanks.
"Qu'est-ce que" is an interrogative locution (= lit: what is it that) used in French to form standard questions inquiring about information.
Ex: what is this? = qu'est-ce que c'est ? (formal = qu'est-ce ? - relaxed = c'est quoi ?)
If you are surprised, exasperated, irritated, or joking, you can form a question with more words : "qu'est-ce que c'est que cette chose ?" = (roughly) what it it that this thing is? (I think English speakers would rather say: "what the hell is that?" in comparable situations).
I don't understand why there is a third QUE in "Qu'est-ce que c'est QUE cette chose?".
In idiomatic expressions, you don't really know why such a combination of words was made in the first place.
I assume that the sound of it was funny with a 3rd "que", because there is no grammatical justification to it.
"qu'est-ce que c'est que cette chose ?" = what is (it that it is, ) this thing? Ah, I think I got it. Thank you very much.
How was I supposed to know chose is feminine when it doesn't actually hint to it?
In this case, (I read or heard from somewhere, I can't remember which) if you have no indication whether it's masculine or feminine and the french word ends with "e" treat it as feminine. That tip rarely lets me down. By the way "cette" indicates that "chose" is feminine.
Qu'est-ce que cette chose? - "qu'est-ce que" meaning "what", we have as a result "What this thing?"
It doesn't make sense to me grammatically. Or is it an idiom and I just have to live with it?
It is an idiom, a bit shorter than the proper "qu'est-ce qu'est cette chose ?"
Yet it is really better to use "quelle est cette chose ?".
Thank you Sitesurf so much for saying that all these ques do not necessarily mean anything. I thought I was misunderstanding in a serious way why they were put there. I felt that I was the only one who didn't know. Now I understand it is because they are there just because. Thanks again
It is quite awkward. There are several other ways of asking that question in French. Please scroll up and you'll see them listed.