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

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?


Que veut Paul?
What does Paul want?


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


Qu'aimez-vous?
What do you like?


Q&A

heena

Kwiziq community member

16 August 2018

2 replies

Que fais-tu ce weekend?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 August 2018

16/08/18

Bonjour Heena !


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


Et toi ?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 August 2018

17/08/18

M

Kwiziq community member

28 July 2018

1 reply

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? 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

29 July 2018

29/07/18

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!


 

Monica

Kwiziq community member

14 July 2018

1 reply

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?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 July 2018

16/07/18

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).

Rebecca

Kwiziq community member

11 June 2018

3 replies

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?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

12 June 2018

12/06/18

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!


 

Rebecca

Kwiziq community member

12 June 2018

12/06/18

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?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

13 June 2018

13/06/18

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!


 

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

28 January 2018

2 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

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).

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

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.

Héctor

Kwiziq community member

12 November 2016

1 reply

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?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 November 2016

22/11/16

Bonjour Héctor !

Thanks for this suggestion, I've now added examples to the lesson as well as explanations.

I hope that's helpful!

Judy

Kwiziq community member

14 October 2016

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 October 2016

14/10/16

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:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/ce-que-what-which-relative-pronouns

I hope that's helpful!

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 June 2016

3 replies

''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?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

2 June 2016

2/06/16

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 fen

Kwiziq community member

22 June 2016

22/06/16

Bonjour, sometimes they write " si l'on ferait cela?" why there's the letter "L" between the si et on? thanks in advance.

HemaKumari

Kwiziq community member

23 January 2018

23/01/18

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?
Getting that for you now.