According to my textbook, the question is "Jusqu'à quelle heure les magasins sont-ils ouverts?", but what is the role of the pronoun "-ils"? Since the subject was already referenced "les magasins", could I say "Jusqu'à quelle heure les magasins sont ouverts?"?


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    In interrogative sentences, the subject and the verb are inverted (subject goes after the verb). If the subject is a noun phrase, it's better to add a pronoun and do the inversion with it. In questions starting with est-ce que the inversion is already made in the latter particle (c'est que). Orally, this subject-verb inversion might not occur. – Archa Jul 6 '16 at 23:22
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    I would say, yes you can say it since lot of people make that mistake in talks. However grammatically it is incorrect and you have to use sont-ils. That said, lots of people also use the Jusqu'à quelle heure est-ce que les magasin sont ouverts? which is not better than the initial sentence. – nowox Jul 7 '16 at 6:28
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    I would add that "Jusqu'à quelle heure sont ouverts les magasins ?" is also a correct form, showing the verb/subject inversion even more clearly, but brings the subject all the way at the end of the sentence. I think the "sont-ils" form is used to put the emphasis back on the subject, keeping it in the middle of the sentence, while still being grammatically correct by duplicating the subject with a pronoun and inverting this pronoun with the verb. – Laurent S. Jul 7 '16 at 7:35