In France is it practical to say something like "A Janice écrit la lettre?" Or "Janice, a-t-elle écrit la lettre?". Also, can you say something like "Janice, l'a-t-elle écrit?"

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    Your 2nd sentence is correct and comprehensible, if you remove the comma.The first one doesn't make sense. And the last one could be correct (with an "e" at the end of écrit) but you need to remove the comma, and put it in a context. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 16:03
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    Marco, please try to ask questions that can be useful to other people. When posing a question, ask yourself "Could someone by directed to this by a search engine?" Obviously google would never send anyone to a question with the title "Is it practical to say this" -- so instead this could have been titled "How to phrase interrogative questions in French?" Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Janice a-t-elle écrit la lettre ?

A Janice écrit la lettre ? is incorrect ; subject and verb are inverted only if the subject is a pronoun. In other cases, the construction is [subject][verb]-[pronoun].

Janice, a-t-elle écrit la lettre ? is a bit weird : this comma doesn't make much sense.

Janice, l'a-t-elle écrite ? (the past participle agrees with the object if the object is before the participle ; here the object is l'[a lettre] ad comes before écrite) is not something we would say or write. Topicalization (separating a subject from the rest of the sentence and repeating it with a pronoun : [Janice][...][elle]) is something you'd find in oral or colloquial French ; subject - verb inversion is more often found in written language, so this construction is a bit awkward.

  • So can you say "Janice a écrit la lettre?" Or "Janice elle a écrit la lettre"? How do you say "Janice wrote it" in French? Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:11
  • @MarcoRubenAbuyuanLlanes Janice l'a écrit(e) (add the "e" if the "it" is a feminine noun)
    – cccg03
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:18
  • @cccg03 Merci! Wait, so we're my first two examples correct? Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:27
  • "Janice a écrit la lettre ?" is technically incorrect, but it's what most people would say, especially in an informal context. Don't write it though, except in really relaxed media (SMS, email). "Janice elle a écrit la lettre ?" is wrong, we don't double the subject that easily. In informal conversation you might say "Janice, elle a écrit la lettre" if you want to really stress that it's Janice we're talking about, but not for a question. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 15:46
  • Informal speech: Janice a écrit la lettre? [with intonation], not incorrect for the grammar of spoken French in a specific context that has already been establshed. That's how people actually speak in some cases. They also use the written forms when speaking.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 17:05

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