"What is that?"
Translation:Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
I was originally going to type "qu'est-ce que c'est que ca" but omitted the final "que ca" thinking they might mark it wrong. I have heard both used. Just like I've heard both "Qu'est qu c'est un(e) + noun and "qu'est-ce que c'est qu'un(e) + noun". Could anyone clarify? Thanks
The "Est-ce que" phrase is very versatile and used a lot in French. Literally translated it means "is it that", which can generally be used in English sentences.
For example, in English you can say "what is it that you want?", or you can say "what do you want". They both mean the same, but in English we prefer to use the word 'do'. Est-ce que can often mean the equivalent of the English word 'do', but it doesn't necessarily. It can be used in many other ways as well.
qu'est-ce que is simply the phrase "est-ce que" with the word que in front of it.
Got myself curios and googled it. If my understanding is correct, these 2 sources basically say that (unnecessary) long phrase is actually grammatically correct :)
It would actually be translated into "what is it THAT that is ?"
So let's take it a bit by bit. You obviously know that "qu'est ce ?" means "what is it/this". Another way of saying "what is this?" is "what is it that this is?". It is longer but it's actually more casual in french.
So how would you say " what is it that this is? ". First, "that" in this sentence is "que". So yes, "que" means "what" and it also means "that" as it's used in this context, depending on its location in the sentence. So then, you would start by saying " what is it that ... " which is " qu'est-ce que ... " and this is a fixed french expression that needs a completion. So to say for instance " what is it that they eat?" which is just another way of saying "what do they eat?", it would be "qu'est-ce que ills mangent ?" but of course you could also say " que mangent-ills ? " if you want to be more formal. And if you wanted to say " what is it that this is ?, then you'd say " qu'est-ce que c'est ?"
So the remaining question is why do we add "que ca" at the end to " qu'est-ce que c'est ? " and the the answer as indicated by the other members is just for emphasis and it is said to be unnecessary by a native french speaker. You could check these two links posted by igesta for more info on this last point:
Hope this helps
redundant? no, emphatic... and a very informal question in French... Read (https://www.thoughtco.com/est-ce-que-vocabulary-1371209)
Est-ce que (pronounced "es keu") is a French expression that is useful for asking a question. Literally translated, this phrase means "is it that...," although in conversation it rarely is interpreted that way. Instead, it is a convenience of everyday French, an interrogatory phrase that easily turns a statement into a question. It is a slightly informal construction; the more formal or polite way to ask questions is with inversion, which involves inverting the normal pronoun/noun + verb order. (tu travailles - travailles-tu?\\elle est arrivée - est-elle arrivée?)
But in everyday spoken French, est-ce que is far more common because it does the inverting for you: Est-ce que is the inversion of c'est que. (Note that a hyphen is required between ce and est when they are inverted to est-ce.) The word order of the original sentence stays exactly the same; you just add the already inverted phrase est-ce que to the front of the sentence. This simple structure works best for yes/no questions. For example:
Tu travailles. / Est-ce que tu travailles? > You work. / Do you work? Paulette l'a trouvé. / Est-ce que Paulette l'a trouvé? > Paulette found it. / Did Paulette find it? Vous n'avez pas faim. / Est-ce que vous n'avez pas faim? > You aren't hungry. / Aren't you hungry? OR Are you not hungry? Note that que must contract when it follows a word beginning with a vowel:
Elle est arrivée. / Est-ce qu'elle est arrivée? > She has arrived. / Has she arrived? Il y a des problèmes. / Est-ce qu'il y a des problèmes? > There are problems. / Are there problems? Anny vient avec nous. / Est-ce qu'Anny vient avec nous? > Anny is coming with us. > Is Anny coming with us? To ask questions that ask for information like "who," "what," "where," "when," "why" and "how," place an interrogative pronoun, adverb or adjective before est-ce que.
Qui est-ce que vous avez vu? > Whom did you see? Quand est-ce que tu vas partir? > When are you going to leave? Quel livre est-ce qu'il veut? > Which book does he want? Remember that est-ce que is the inversion of c'est que, meaning literally, "It is that." That's why a hyphen is required between est and ce: c'est = ce + est which are inverted to est-ce.
I used the word bank to answer to this one and could only answer "qu'est-ce?" Although it is not false, it is quite "high French" that almost nobody use anymore. (And as a French girl, I can clearly tell it sounded weird for me). Duolingo, you should propose the most used option as well ("Qu'est-ce que c'est?" so to say) For those asking the difference between "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" and "Qu'est-ce que c'est que ça?", both are indeed true, but the second one puts more emphasis, like for example when you are mad or surprised. :)
(Ker CLUNK, whirrrr KER CLUNK, whirr) - wheels churn slowly in head, wanting to just say the simple 'qu'est-ce'? but KNOWS THAT IS WRONG, so (CLUNK CLUNK whirrr CLUNK) remembers What Is It That That Is..... qu'est-ce que c'est... types it in.... DING DING DING! Got it right!!!! Whew! (wipes brow). Until next time, evil over-complicated phrase!!
"Look at it this way. To ask "What is bouillabaisse?" you would say "Qu'est-ce que c'est que la bouillabaisse ?" The que after Qu'est-ce que c'est introduces the thing being inquired about. In your question, the thing being inquired about is "that," which in French is ça. So, "Qu'est-ce que c'est que ça ?" http://www.reddit.com/r/French/comments/18ynjt/is_questce_que_cest_que_%C3%A7a_grammatically_correct/ - Adding "ça" is roughly equivalent to the vocal stress/emphasis we put on "this" and "that" when we ask the question in English.
Because you used the inversion way of making a question.
The original sentence was "c'est [something]". So, to make it into a yes/no question, you'd exchange the positions of the the subject and the verb just like you'd do in English making it into "Est-ce [something]". Now to ask about the object of the sentence, you'd delete it and add the interrogative pronoun "que" at the start making it "Qu'est-ce" meaning "what is this" or apparently "what is that" depending on the context.
Please, I need a MOD to help with this: I had this question in the form where you choose the words from below. The answer was "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" BUT the words available to choose don't enable that answer. The only words available are: Qu' qu' que qui quoi est ce
What should I have put? It won't let me finish the lesson until I get this right but I can't select the words it needs! Help!
There seems to be a problem with this exercise. I'm doing it as Level 3 exercise with "choose from words available." There's no option for "c'est" but the lesson keeps repeating a question for which there is no option to answer correctly. I've reported this as a "The dictionary hints on hover are wrong or missing" even though that's not exactly the problem.
The Duolingo question is "What is that?"
I agree with the answer " Qu'est-ce que c'est " ; however, when the question is given in the format using word blocks to form the sentence, the WORD BLOCKS do not have the choices available to give this answer. The choices are:
" qui Qu' est que quoi qu' ce "
Please advise on the correct answer using these choices???
Yes it's wrong. Because when you put "what" (it being "quoi") at the end of the sentence, you don't change the order of the sentence. But when you place it at the beginning, it becomes "que" and you change the order like you did.
So in your case, you write either of these two questions: 1. Qu'est ce ? 2. C'est quoi ?
Or you could use the other method explained above by the other members starting with "qu'est-ce que..." which translate into "what is it that..." And in this case it is "Qu'est-ce que c'est" which translates into "what is it that this is" meaning "what is this" but in my understanding maybe more casual than sentence no . 1 and more sophisticated than sentence no. 2.
It's the pronoun "ce" used in inversion. "Ce" means "it" or "this," depending on context. Inversion is when the subject comes after the verb and attached with a dash. It's a formal way of posing questions.
Translated word-for-word, "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" would be something along the lines of "What is is that this/it/that is?" A hella clunky phrase in English, but only three smoothly-flowing syllables in French.
In short, "qu'est-ce que ... " translates into "what is it that ... " which can't stand by itself. So you need to say " what is it that this is" which is just a long way of saying "(what is this) = (qu'est-ce)" and the long way is more casual BTW, or you could say " what is it that you eat"
The first sentence would be " qu'est-ce que c'est ? " And the second one would be " qu'est-ce que tu manges ? "
Also, I'd like to mention that "que" that's in the middle of the question doesn't mean "what". It means "that/which" - if that wasn't clear above.
Tell me if you need further explanation.
Ok, as far as I understood we can say: (i) qu'est-ce que c'est, (ii) qu'est-ce que c'est que ça, (iii) c'est quoi, ça.
But since in French we also say "qu'est-ce que + noun" (like "qu'est-ce que la langue française"), why can't we just put "ça" instead of the "la langue française"?
In other words: why isn't "qu'est-ce que ça" correct?