Forming inverted questions with names, things and emphasis

You've already seen how to turn statements using the subject pronouns je, tu, nous, vous, ils, elles into inverted questions (See Forming inverted questions in Le Présent (except il, elle, on forms)), as well as the most complex cases of il, elle, on (See Forming inverted questions in Le Présent with il, elle, on).

But it's a bit trickier when the subject of the verb is a noun (name of a person, animal, thing,...): indeed, such statements cannot be simply inverted to form a question.

Sophie vient. -> Vient Sophie ?  -> Sophie vient-elle ?
Sophie is coming.                     -> Is Sophie coming?

Note that in such cases, we need to add an extra subject pronoun (il, elle, nous, vous, ils, elles) to "repeat" the subject noun.

The added pronoun must agree with the noun it refers to.
While the noun remains at the beginning of the statement, the extra pronoun follows the normal rule of inversion of subject pronouns, as stated in previous lessons:

Votre hôtel est-il au centre-ville ?
Is your hotel in the town centre?

Ton frère a-t-il une copine ?
Does your brother have a girlfriend?

La porte d'entrée était-elle encore fermée à clé ?
Was the front door still locked?

Quand Monique arrive-t-elle ?
When is Monique arriving?

À quelle heure Martin et toi allez-vous manger ?
At what time are Martin and you going to eat?

À qui ces chaussures étaient-elles ?
Whose shoes were they ?

Les pandas mangent-ils du bambou ?
Do pandas eat bamboo?

Remember that when the verb ends with a vowel before il or elle, then you need to add -t- inbetween them for pronunciation reasons.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ton frère a-t-il une copine ?
Does your brother have a girlfriend?


À qui ces chaussures étaient-elles ?
Whose shoes were they ?


Quand Monique arrive-t-elle ?
When is Monique arriving?


À quelle heure Martin et toi allez-vous manger ?
At what time are Martin and you going to eat?


Les pandas mangent-ils du bambou ?
Do pandas eat bamboo?


Les élèves étudient-ils le français ?
Do the students study French?


La porte d'entrée était-elle encore fermée à clé ?
Was the front door still locked?


Votre hôtel est-il au centre-ville ?
Is your hotel in the town centre?


Q&A

Jenny

Kwiziq community member

15 May 2017

1 reply

I don't understand when or why the "t" is added?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

15 May 2017

15/05/17

Bonjour Jenny ! In the case of inverted questions, you add the "t" for pronunciation reasons, whenever there are two vowel sounds clashing. This is explained in the related lesson: https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/forming-questions-by-inverting-in-the-present-tense-il-elle-on-forms However, thanks to you, I've now updated this lesson, by adding links to other lessons, as well as adding this explanation to it :) I hope that's helpful! Merci et à bientôt !
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