3

In English there is no general rule about where to place adverbs. One could say, "Do you see Tom often?" just as easily as "Do you often see Tom?"

Is the same true in French, or is there a preference to where you place adverbs in questions? That is to say, are both of these sentences equally correct?

Vois-tu parfois Nicole?

Vois-tu Nicole parfois?

5

That would be:

Vois-tu parfois Nicole?

but the literary vois-tu is seldom used in spoken French. More usual usual ways would be:

Est-ce que tu vois parfois Nicole ?

or

Est-ce que ça t'arrive (parfois) de voir Nicole ?

You might put the adverb at the end but generally to give a clarification after a short pause. A comma would show it:

Est-ce que tu vois Nicole, parfois ?

Vois-tu Nicole, parfois ?

Note that "often" is better translated by souvent or fréquemment while parfois is "sometimes", "at times".

Vois-tu souvent Nicole ? (formal, literary)

Tu vois souvent Nicole ? (usual spoken French)

Est-ce que tu vois souvent Nicole ? (ditto)

Est-ce que tu vois Nicole souvent ? (equivalent to the former, souvent can be placed in both positions here).

Est-ce que ça t'arrive souvent de voir Nicole ? (spoken French)

Vois-tu Nicole ? Souvent ? (formal, literary)

  • Ah, I see. So it seems like it is more natural to put it before. Unless, as you point out, you would like to give the word a certain nuance. – ktm5124 Oct 4 '17 at 10:36
  • @ktm5124 It really depends on the sentence, on the adverb you use and on the level of speech. I wouldn't say it's always more natural to put it before. – Teleporting Goat Oct 4 '17 at 16:23
  • @TeleportingGoat Je comprends. Then it is quite similar to English in that regard. – ktm5124 Oct 4 '17 at 20:12
3

"vois-tu" is really too literary (though being the most correct form). Most French would say "tu vois" instead. "Vois-tu" is found only in books.

For the rest, I really agree with the previous response by jiliagre.

  • Thanks, I indeed forgot the simple tu vois souvent..., answer updated. – jlliagre Oct 4 '17 at 20:12

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