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Are "que" and "quel" considered the same? Can I use them to ask "what" questions, or there are situations one is suitable and the other is not?

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closed as off-topic by Alexis Pigeon, Francois Borgies, Un francophone, Laure, Tom Au Jun 19 '14 at 17:48

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  • "Please look up the meaning of words or expressions in a dictionary first. If you did so and found nothing satisfactory, mention that in your question. Do give context for where you heard or saw the word." – Alexis Pigeon, Francois Borgies, Un francophone, Laure, Tom Au
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No: as a question word, que is what and quel is which. What lead you to think that they might be interchangeable? – Gilles Jun 15 '14 at 14:18
@Gilles: What can also be used as an adjective in English. I think that's where the confusion from the OP comes from. – Stéphane Gimenez Jun 16 '14 at 9:38

Quel means “which”, but in some cases, you can also translate it as “what”.

For example:

Quel est ton animal préféré ?

means: “What is your favorite animal?”.

On this question you have to answer which animal you like most. (Yeah, I know, it can also be “what your favorite animal is”, but you can say “which” here!)

Que is most used for asking questions like: “What do you eat?”


Que manges-tu ?

is translated as: “What are you eating?”

What you have to answer is what you are eating.

Note: Que can only be used in the following forms of questions:

  • “est-ce que” (Qu'est-ce que vous dites?)
  • inversion (Que dites-vous?)

and not in questions with intonation! Then que will be replaced with quoi:

Tu manges quoi ?

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