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

Look at these more formal questions:

Qu'aimez-vous?
What do you like?

Que veut Paul?
What does Paul want?

Que penses-tu?
What do you think?

Que dessinent les enfants?
What are the children drawing?

To ask a question starting with what, the more formal way is to use que followed by the inverted form of the statement (verb first).

Note that que becomes qu' when followed by a vowel.

 

ATTENTION:
The main difference with qu'est-ce que is that this alternative form is never followed by the inverted form when using subject pronouns

Qu'est-ce que vous aimez ?
What do you like?

Qu'est-ce que tu penses ?
What do you think?

Compare this lesson with other ways to make questions:

Forming inverted questions in Le Présent with il, elle, on

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

Asking yes/no questions with intonation, est-ce que, n'est-ce pas 

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

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Que veut Paul?
What does Paul want?


Qu'est-ce que vous aimez ?
What do you like?


Qu'aimez-vous?
What do you like?


Qu'est-ce que tu penses ?
What do you think?


Que dessinent les enfants?
What are the children drawing?


Que penses-tu?
What do you think?


Q&A Forum 12 questions, 26 answers

AndreaA2Kwiziq community member

Que + inversion

Is que (qu') + inversion only used with subject pronouns? I noticed this with the examples given. If the answer is 'yes', it may be helpful to draw attention to this fact in the lesson

Asked 2 weeks ago

Que + inversion

Is que (qu') + inversion only used with subject pronouns? I noticed this with the examples given. If the answer is 'yes', it may be helpful to draw attention to this fact in the lesson

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AndreaA2Kwiziq community member

Clarifying my understanding

"The main difference with qu'est-ce que is that this alternative form is never followed by the inverted form when using subject pronouns: "  To reword, does this mean that 'qu'est-ce que' cannot be followed by an inversion?

Asked 1 month ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Correct, you use either inversion or qu'est-ce que when asking questions:

Qu'est-ce que tu fais? -- What are you doing?
Que fais-tu? -- What are you doing? (with inversion)

Clarifying my understanding

"The main difference with qu'est-ce que is that this alternative form is never followed by the inverted form when using subject pronouns: "  To reword, does this mean that 'qu'est-ce que' cannot be followed by an inversion?

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IngeB2Kwiziq community member

is there a lesson on the difference between que and quoi?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Inge,

Please take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson which includes 'que' and 'quoi' -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/how-to-ask-questions-with-qui-que-quoi-quand-ou-comment-pourquoi-and-combien

Hope this helps!

 

is there a lesson on the difference between que and quoi?

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DarinA2Kwiziq community member

Re: Qu'aiment-ils?

The correct answer is given as What do they love?  I thought that aimer is love when discussing people, therefore WHO makes more sense.

Should the correct answer be What do they LIKE?

What about Qu’adorent-ils?  

Asked 9 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

As an interrogative pronoun, "que" is what and "qui" is who. Therefore, in the example given, it can only be "what do they like".

Qu'aiment-ils? -- What do they like (que --> qu')Qui aiment-ils? -- Whom do they like.

DA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

As I said, the answer given by kwiziq seems wrong, because it said LOVE.  

The issue here is why LOVE was the answer.

Qu'aiment-ils is LIKE, Correct? 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

When it comes to things, to "love" or to "like" is almost synonymous: I love sugar vs. I like sugar. The former is, maybe, a bit more intense than the latter. And it is similar in French. Aimer can be translated as to love or to like, depending on context.

DA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I was expecting something more "indepth" and specific than the obvious "what aimer can be defined as."  I am well aware of the flexible use of this verb. 

Kwiziq had an incorrect/lame answer. I'm trying to help but obviously that's not what this forum seems to be about. 

Have a nice day.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I can't know what you are aware of or not, Darren. I try to help when I can. I am not part of the kwiziq team and simply volunteer my time. Sorry if you expected a better answer, I hope you'll get one.

DA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Let’s just say my expectations for a precise answer haven’t been met, but the Kwiziq app sure knew what was “wrong” but apparently without any specific support behind it.  

Not exactly a great experience. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Have you looked at this lesson?

Aimer = to love, like something / someone

DA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Have you looked at this:

www.thoughtco,com/aimer-french-verb-1368805

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

And did it help you?

Re: Qu'aiment-ils?

The correct answer is given as What do they love?  I thought that aimer is love when discussing people, therefore WHO makes more sense.

Should the correct answer be What do they LIKE?

What about Qu’adorent-ils?  

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HeenaA2Kwiziq community member

Que fais-tu ce weekend?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Heena !

Samedi, je vais faire les magasins, et dimanche, je vais faire du bowling avec mes amis.

Et toi ?

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
:)
DA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

For me here, the issue is not about aimer as much as que vs. qui:

 Que vs Qui. As a relative pronoun, que is a direct object (person or thing), and qui is either a subject (person or thing) or the object of a preposition (person only). * Unlike when they are interrogative pronouns, in which case qui means "who" and que means "what."

The question is about the use of the interrogative pronoun, and what that implies for the application of the verb aimer.  It is my understanding from reviewing the various uses for aimer is that LIKE is applicable to things and situations, whereas LOVE applies basically to people and pets. 

So, in Qu'aiment-ils the QUE is WHAT, then we are probably discussing THINGS, and what does aimer mean when we discuss THINGS?  LIKE?  

I do not agree with the Kwiziq answer, if I haven't completely forgotten why we are discussing this at this point.  

Que fais-tu ce weekend?

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MA2Kwiziq community member

Starting a sentence with "quoi"

I was marked wrong on using 'quoi" as "what" at the start a sentence. The correct answer is supposedly "que." Why is "quoi" not also acceptable? 
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi M,

Without the context it is hard to tell but I suspect based on the lesson content that it would be something like:

"Que veut Paul?" ("What does Paul want?")

You could say, "Paul veut quoi?"( in spoken French) but never at the begining of the sentence.

Normally you will hear Quoi ? , used in a single word as the interrogative pronoun What? (as in 'Pardon?')

In French you will say Quoi? or more politely Comment?

It is used also in some idiomatic expressions like:

Quoi de neuf? = Wha'ts new?

À quoi bon ...? = What's the point...?

Il n'y a pas de quoi Don't mention it

Hope this helps!

 

Starting a sentence with "quoi"

I was marked wrong on using 'quoi" as "what" at the start a sentence. The correct answer is supposedly "que." Why is "quoi" not also acceptable? 

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MonicaC1Kwiziq community member

I ham confused on how to use qui and que since both of them can mean who, that etc

How can qui be used as a subject?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Qui is used when "who" is the subject of the clause ans que for when "who" is the direct object. Tu elucidate:

Tu connais le mec qui parle à ma sœur? -- Do you know the guy who is talking to my sister. Here the guy is doing the talking, so qui, referring to the guy, is the subject. 

Tu connais le mec, que ma sœur a rencontré hier? -- Do you know the guy who(m) my sister met yesterday? Here the guy is being bet by my sister. Hence my sister is the subject and the guy the direct object to which que refers. 

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

I ham confused on how to use qui and que since both of them can mean who, that etc

How can qui be used as a subject?

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RebeccaA2Kwiziq community member

Also confused about inversion being more formal. I learned that Qu'est-ce que vous aimez? is more formal than Qu'aimez vous?. Did I learn it wrong?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Rebecca,

It is the other way round.

I know that is is tempting for an English student to want to prefer the inversion as it is used in English. However in French out of the three ways of forming questions, it will be the  least favoured particularly in simple questions as it sounds not only formal but pompous.

But we have to teach it...

Hope this helps!

 

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Rebecca,

'Quest-ce-que vous aimez?' is more informal and colloquial than the inversion of the subject and verb in 'Qu'aimez-vous?'.

In spoken French you will hear an awful lot of 'est-ce-que' for asking questions so you have to be able to recognise it and preferably use when appropriate.

In written French , the inversion will be preferred as more formal. It is not antiquated just more formal.

Hope this helps!

 

RebeccaA2Kwiziq community member

Gotcha. So to clarify:

Qu'est-ce que vous aimez? - formal, but overly so and thus not preferred - maybe antiquated?

Qu'aimez vous? - appropriately formal, sounds current and natural

and of course the 'tu' forms are just informal.

Have I got that right?

Also confused about inversion being more formal. I learned that Qu'est-ce que vous aimez? is more formal than Qu'aimez vous?. Did I learn it wrong?

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Inversion is described as 'the more formal way' and also as 'the more elegant way'. Please clarify.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
In French, like in all languages, there are different ways to say the same thing, depending on the setting in which you find yourself. For example, when talking to your brother you would say, "Hi, what's up, bro! It's awesome you came to visit me!" To express the same intention but toward the President of the US, you would formulate it differently: "Good morning, Mr. President" I am certainly delighted you could come and visit me!"

The same holds true in French. Usually, the inverted form of formulating a question is considered more formal:

Comment vous-appelez-vous? -- What is your name? (formal register)
Tu t'appelles comment? -- What is your name? (familar register)

Here is a more in-depth link to an article discussing registers in the French language: https://www.thoughtco.com/french-register-1369374

-- Chris (not a native speaker).
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Chris, I had thought of 'elegant' and 'formal' as being quite different in meaning but I now see, in this context, that they have a similar meaning.

Inversion is described as 'the more formal way' and also as 'the more elegant way'. Please clarify.

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HéctorB1Kwiziq community member

ww3

Bonjour. Im sorry, but I dont completely get the difference between this questions and the "qu'est-ce que" questions. Can you put here some examples and maybe some rules to contrast both, please?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Héctor ! Thanks for this suggestion, I've now added examples to the lesson as well as explanations. I hope that's helpful!

ww3

Bonjour. Im sorry, but I dont completely get the difference between this questions and the "qu'est-ce que" questions. Can you put here some examples and maybe some rules to contrast both, please?

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JudyB2Kwiziq community member

What about ce que. not sure when to add the 'ce'

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Judy ! First of all, remember that "ce que" is never used to ASK a question, so no ambiguity there :) As for the difference of usage between "que" and "ce que" when they introduce a clause in a sentence, here is the link to a lesson which should clarify that point for you: Ce que (vs ce qui) = what, which (relative pronouns) I hope that's helpful!

What about ce que. not sure when to add the 'ce'

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ChrisB2Kwiziq community member

''Qu'aiment-ils?''

I understand why this is a contraction of "Que aiment" and therefore means What do they like, but why can't it also be a contraction of "Qui aiment" and therefore Who do they love?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Chris !

The answer is simple: you cannot never contract qui into qu', as it ends in 'i' and not 'e'.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Ly fenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonjour, sometimes they write " si l'on ferait cela?" why there's the letter "L" between the si et on? thanks in advance.
HemaKumariA2Kwiziq community member
I thinks it's because the 'le' (equivalent of 'it') is contracted to l' in front of a vowel so the sentence without the contractions would be: si le on ferait cela?

''Qu'aiment-ils?''

I understand why this is a contraction of "Que aiment" and therefore means What do they like, but why can't it also be a contraction of "Qui aiment" and therefore Who do they love?

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Getting that for you now.