How to say the sentence from the title. I know the affirmative version: Il a l'air heureux. But the question remains evasive: Il a quel air? Quel air a-t-il? Sounds a bit rough, cannot explain why.

  • "quel air a-t-il ?" would be if there are only a given number of airs allowed or existing, something that sounds like "Which look does he have?". That's why it seems rough to you.
    – SteeveDroz
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 15:18
  • 1
    @SteeveDroz to which question I would be tempted to answer: "il est 2 heures et demi"
    – njzk2
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:29
  • Being at work, I am now trying to hide my laughter. Thanks for nothing (and everything at once) @njzk2!
    – SteeveDroz
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 7:14

5 Answers 5


I would say "Comment a-t-il l'air d'aller ?" or simply "Comment va-t-il ?".

"De quoi a-t-il l'air ?" is possible too, but it refers more to the physical appearance.

  • +1. You can also add : "Est-ce qu'il va bien?"
    – Charly
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 8:41
  • Alors, une bonne situation où on peut poser cette question serait: Il a l'air de quoi ? Il a l'air grande et beau. Mais, pour le sentiment, la question serait: Il va comment ?
    – Bogi
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 11:18

Avoir l'air is a rather ambiguous expression to use for a question. The question might also be about someone's appearance or intentions, so it's hard to tell what kind of answer you are seeking.

If you are specifically asking about a person's mood, you could ask

Quelle est son humeur?


I think most French people would say: "Il a l'air de quoi?", or more formally: "De quoi a-t-il l'air?".

This could however be interpreted as pertaining more to the physical appearance of the person. A way to ask the question that may be closer to your emaning would be the say: "Il a l'air comment?", although this is not particularly formal.

  • I agree that "Il a l'air de quoi?" questions more the look of the individual. It would be a translation to "What does he look like?" Commented May 17, 2016 at 15:01
  • We never say "Il a l'air de quoi?" dans le sens de "Comment a-t-il l'air d'aller?". The answer to "Il a l'air de quoi?" would be "Il a l'air d'un clown", but not "Il a l'air triste".
    – Rémi
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 15:56

In French, "air" would be the right word to use, but as it refers to so many different aspects of the person (look, mood, fitness, and so on), you would have to be more specific:

Il a l'air heureux ? (Familiar)

A-t-il l'air heureux ? (Formal)

Which would translate to

Does he look happy?


I'd say "Il a l'air comment? Joyeux, triste ?"

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