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French Grammar

How to easily ask questions in French?

How to ask questions in French!

Whether you’re working, travellling, learning, or just trying to learn more about someone, questions are an essential part of any conversation.

You must be confident of your ability to ask questions in French: forming questions is done in a different way in French.

There are a number of ways of forming questions in French and the ins and outs of some of them are rather complicated. But 99 per cent of the time, you don’t need the complicated forms. Here are some simple rules to get you through.

How to ask questions in French!

To speak French you need to know How to ask question.

This French class will help you with simple rules to get through forming questions.

Let’s start with basics of forming questions in French

An interrogative sentence has 4 parts to it;

• It ends with a question mark (as in English!).

• It often has an inverted subject.

• It frequently includes an interrogative word (when, what, …)

• It possesses an ascending intonation when spoken (rising voice inflection)

There are two main types of questions:

1. Yes/no questions, also known as closed questions (questions fermées), which ask for a simple yes or no answer.

2. Information questions, also known as or open questions (questions ouvertes), ask for information with question words, like who, what, when, where, why, which, how, how much/many. But that will be part of another French lesson !

So stay tuned with French Lessons Australia.

 

To make it easy when you want to ask something to someone you can use the interrogative sentence Est-ce-que!

In English, the most common way to ask question is to put in a form of the verb ‘do’. Similarly, the French rebuild sentences round the words ‘est-ce que’. This is a very useful and simple way to ask questions:

Est-ce que + subject + verb + predicat

 

Est-ce que tu veux venir au cinéma ce soir ?

Do you want to come to the cinema tonight?

Est-ce que tu aimes le chocolat ?

Do you like chocolate ?

Est-ce que tu joues du piano ?

Do you play piano ?

Est-ce que tu cuisines ?

Do you cook ?

 

You can also ask a question without the question words Est-ce-que just by going up at the end of the sentence

Tu veux venir au cinéma ce soir ?

Tu aimes le chocolat ?

Tu joues du piano ?

Tu cuisines ?

 

But a more formal way to ask question without any question words is to invert the verb and the subject and join them with an hyphen:

Veux-tu venir au cinéma ce soir ?

Aimes-tu le chocolat ?

Joues-tu du piano ?

Cuisines-tu ?

You can use inversion to ask negative questions. But it’s not really common in French spoken language.

Ne veux-tu pas venir au cinéma ce soir ?

Don’t you want to come to the cinema tonight ?

N’aimes-tu pas le chocolat ?

Don’t you like chocolate ?

Ne joues-tu pas du piano ?

Don’t you play piano ?

Ne cuisines-tu pas ?

Don’t you cook?

Note :
When using inversion with the third person singular (il, elle, or on) and a verb that ends in a vowel, you must add t-

Elle aime le chocolat.

Aime-t-elle le chocolat ?

N’aime-t-elle pas le chocolat ?

To answer negative invert question you have to use Si instead of Yes.

Joue-t-il du piano ? Oui il joue du piano.

Ne joue-t-il pas du piano ? Si ! il joue du piano.

Cuisine-t-on ? Oui, on cuisine.

Ne cuisine-t-on pas ? Si on cuisine

You can also add questions words such as When, Where… in front of Est-ce que to be more precise.

This gives a pattern of:

 

Question word + est-ce que + subject + verb + other words

Some examples to get you started

  • Est-ce que tu as une grande famille?
  • Est-ce que tu aimes le sport?
  • Qu’est-ce que tu aimes faire?
  • Quand est-ce que tu vas arriver?
  • Où est-ce que tu vas aller?
  • Comment est ta maison?
  • Est-ce qu’il y a un jardin chez toi?
  • Peux-tu envoyer une photo de ta maison?
  • Veux-tu venir en Ecosse?
  • Tu as des frères ou des soeurs?

More about the interrogative adverbs Ou Quand Comment Pourquoi? Click here.

Learn more and practice with our French Lessons at French lessons Australia.

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