Forming questions in French www.languagechoices,com

 

Asking questions:

Before asking a question in French, it might be easier to keep the statement in mind.

 

Example, if you wish to ask ‘Is she a secretary?’ you may want to think of the statement  ‘She is a secretary.’

Elle est secrétaire.

 

Now you have a choice, you can simply put a question mark and intone your voice to make the statement sound like a question: Elle est secrétaire? (Used in everyday speech)

Or

You can invert the verb and subject pronoun ie. Elle est becomes Est-elle?

Est-elle secrétaire? =Is she a secretary?

(We need to put a hyphen when inverting the pronoun and verb.)

 

 The phrase ‘Est-ce que’ which means ‘Is it that’ is used to form a question in French. Once again, think of the statement ‘Elle est secrétaire’ then put ‘Est-ce que’ in front.

 

Est-ce qu’elle est secrétaire? =Is she a secretary?

 

We said we could invert the subject and verb when the subject is a pronoun eg. ‘He is’ becomes  ‘Is he?’ but what happens when the subject is a noun eg. The man is a driver.

We cannot invert as we would in English when we ask

 ‘ Is the man a driver?’ What we do instead is to think of the statement as in the example above and then put ‘est-ce que’ in front:

 

The man is a driver=L’homme est chauffeur

Is the man a driver?

Est-ce que l’homme est chauffeur?

 

It is important to think of the statement first otherwise one might leave out the verb when translating literally?

 

Don’t forget that whilst we would say in English, ‘Is the man a driver?’, In French we omit the indefinite article:

Est-ce que l’homme est chauffeur?  (un chauffeur)

 

 

To support what you learnt earlier, read through the next example before trying to translate the rest.

 

Elle est coiffeuse=She is a hairdresser.

 

Is she a hairdresser?

Elle est coiffeuse?

Est-elle coiffeuse?

Est-ce qu’elle est coiffeuse?

 

Is he a teacher?

Il est professeur=He is a teacher

 

Is he a teacher?

Try this for yourselves.  Answers at the end of this lesson.

 

 

He has short hair and brown eyes.

 Il a les cheveux courts et les yeux marron

 

How would you ask?

Does he have short hair and brown eyes?

Now try:

Does John have short hair and brown eyes?

 

Mark likes young girls with grey eyes; John prefers young girls with blue eyes.

 

She likes young men with curly hair; I prefer young men with straight hair.

 

Marc aime les jeunes filles aux yeux gris; Jean préfère les jeunes filles aux yeux bleus.

 

Elle aime les jeunes hommes avec les cheveux frisés; je préfère les jeunes hommes avec les cheveux raides.

 

Answers: Is he a teacher?

Il est professeur?

Est-il professeur?

Est-ce qu’il est professeur?

 

Does he have / Has he short hair and brown eyes?

 

Il a les cheveux courts et les yeux marron?

Est-ce qu’il a les cheveux courts et les yeux marron?

A-t-il les cheveux courts et les yeux marron?

 

Does John have short hair and brown eyes?

Est-ce que Jean a les cheveux courts et les yeux marron?

 Image

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About angeleannandrews

I am Anglo Maltese and live in Surrey with my husband and son. I have been teaching languages for almost 30 years. Having been trained in Anthropology, I have social issues at heart. When I was nearing 50, I wished to use my talents to make money for charity. I have created 50 photo-poems which will be featuring on this site. If you wish to encourage my effort, please give a small donation to ShelterBox http://www.justgiving.com/user/23773460 after reading my poems. Many people are out there actually tackling the world's problems. We may not be able to join them but every little helps.Thanks a million! Angie
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