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Example sentence:

Combien de temps cela prend-t-il pour faire la correspondance ?

Translated into English, this says how long does it take to make a connection? What I don't undertand in this sentence, however, is how the word cela fits in with the rest of it all. What exactly is its function in there?

  • It s "prend-il" and not "prend-t-il" – Distic Dec 7 '17 at 10:06
  • Thank you. That was a typo. I was typing that out by hand and missed the "t" for some reason. – user69786 Dec 7 '17 at 19:37
  • There is no t, that's the point. – Distic Dec 7 '17 at 20:27
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    Concerning the euphonic/analogic T in French: Banque de dépannage linguistique, Université d'Ottawa, Le Figaro, Académie française, etc. Sources are numerous and all point to the same conclusion. I believe you can trust users here more than your book... – ﺪﺪﺪ Dec 8 '17 at 0:30
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    And of course, it's also been discussed right here on French Stack Exchange, with more of the same rules leading to the same spelling and correct usage. – ﺪﺪﺪ Dec 8 '17 at 0:35
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Without cela, the sentence is:

Combien de temps prend-il pour faire la correspondance ?

In this case, we basically assume "il" to be someone, as in "How long does he take to make a connection?".

So we add a cela:

Combien de temps cela prend-il pour faire la correspondance ? Which means, "How long does it take to make a connection?"

Actually, the interrogative form of "X fait" (replace "X" by any subject except "il, elle, on" and "fait" by any verb) is not "fait-X...?" but "X fait-il...?". See

Combien de temps cela fait-il que nous ne nous sommes pas vus?

Cela fait 3 ans.

And

Combien de temps cela va-t-il durer ?

Cela va durer une heure.

But also

Quel problème Marc a-t-il rencontré ?

Comment Marie fait-elle pour supporter ça ?

Combien de fois ton chien est-il sorti de sa niche ?

  • Could you provide English translations for your examples? – user69786 Dec 8 '17 at 0:50
  • Just write them in parentheses after the corresponding French examples. – user69786 Dec 9 '17 at 12:46

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