Forming inverted questions in Le Présent (except il, elle, on forms)

You've already seen simple ways to ask Yes or No questions (Asking yes/no questions with intonation, est-ce que, n'est-ce pas), now look at this more elaborate and elegant way to ask questions in French:

Forming Simple Yes/No questions by inverting

Look at this example:

Tu parles français => Parles-tu français?
You speak French => Do you speak French?

To form inverted questions in French, you simply place the subject pronoun (je, tu, nous, vous, ils, elles) after the verb, and insert an hyphen in-between.

Here are some more examples:

Allez-vous à Paris?
Are you going to Paris?

Habitez-vous à Paris?
Do you live in Paris?

As-tu un animal?  
Do you have an animal?

Parles-tu français?
Do you speak French?

Aimes-tu le chocolat?
Do you like chocolate?

 


More Complex Questions Using Question Words

This rule also applies to questions using question words (comment, où, quand, que...) :

Comment fais-tu ça?
How do you do that?

Comment allez-vous?
How are you doing?

va-t-on ce soir?
Where are we going tonight?


See also these related lessons:

Questions with qui, que, quoi, quand, où, comment, pourquoi, combien

Questions: Que ... = What ... ?

ATTENTION:
Inverted questions with il/elle/on are a bit trickier: Forming inverted questions in Le Présent with il, elle, on

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Habitez-vous à Paris?
Do you live in Paris?


Comment allez-vous?
How are you doing?


As-tu un animal?  
Do you have an animal?


Comment fais-tu ça?
How do you do that?


Parles-tu français?
Do you speak French?


Aimes-tu le chocolat?
Do you like chocolate?



Allez-vous à Paris?
Are you going to Paris?


Q&A

Cynthia

Kwiziq community member

3 May 2018

2 replies

Using "va-t-on" structure for questions

Pls why was this: Où va-t-on ce soir used for this sentence?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2018

4/05/18

Hi Cynthia,


the general rule says to start with the question word (où), vollowed by the verb (va) and then the subject (on). The "t" that's been inserted between va and on is there simply to ease pronounciation for lazy French tongues. ;)


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cynthia

Kwiziq community member

4 May 2018

4/05/18

Thank you so much Chris for explaining it clearly

Sivavathana

Kwiziq community member

5 January 2018

2 replies

Is pronoun only used in inversion type?

Hi ,,,Is pronoun only used in inversion type? Or can we use the noun instead of pronoun.... example Parle-t Michael francais? instead of Parle-t-il francais? Please clarify ... Thank you in advance

Chris

Kwiziq community member

5 January 2018

5/01/18

No, you would say "Michael parle-t-il français ?" So, yes,you would use the pronoun in the inverted question.

-- Chris (not a native speaker)

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

28 February 2018

28/02/18

Hi Sivavathana,


As Chris rightly points out, in this case you have to use a pronoun as well as a name.


Michael, parle-t-il français?


If too much of a mouthful you can use "est-ce-que" and you won't need the additional pronoun.


Est-ce -que Michael parle français? 


Hope this helps!

Michael

Kwiziq community member

1 October 2017

3 replies

There is still a 'va-t-on' example in the section - More Complex Questions Using Question Words.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

1 October 2017

1/10/17

Bonjour Michael,
I am unclear about your question regarding the use of «va-t-on» in the example in this lesson. If possible, would you please clarify your question or concern that you are experiencing with this locution?
J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet

Michael

Kwiziq community member

2 October 2017

2/10/17

Hi Ron, the title of the lesson excludes the il, elle an on forms of inverted questions in the present, but there is a va-t-on construction in the section More Complex Questions Using Question Words of the lesson. I think this should be removed. Regards, Michael

Ron

Kwiziq community member

2 October 2017

2/10/17

Thanks for clarifying this. i thought that I had misunderstood the lesson. I do see your point, though.
Bonne journée. Ron

Héctor

Kwiziq community member

26 May 2017

1 reply

Ok, I just got wrong "Regardent elles la télé?" in my last quiz

because I miss an en dash (-). How important is the en dash in the inverted questions and why? : /

Héctor

Kwiziq community member

27 May 2017

27/05/17

Im sorry, I mean hyphen. Im not sure which is more correct, en dash or hyphen because english is not my mother language.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

30 August 2016

3 replies

P. asked: Shouldn't there be a question-mark in the question statement ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

30 August 2016

30/08/16

Bonjour P. !


Thanks for your useful question, that will also help other users with these specific questions.


Here we chose not to put any punctuation mark at the end of the statement not to give it away too easily.


​However, the specific order of the words can only be used in a question.


​You also probably noticed that all three answers HAVE punctuation marks, but this question is specifically about the word ordering.


I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

20 February 2018

20/02/18

I also found this confusing. I chose the wrong answer (“do the dishes”)  because I assumed that without a question mark it couldn’t be a question. I understand your explanation but fact that we haven’t covered the imperative yet led me to make the wrong choice because I knew the other two options were wrong.

Beth

Kwiziq community member

11 April 2018

11/04/18

the examples in the lesson all have question marks



test should follow that example regardless of "ease"

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