When asking "qu'est-ce qu'il te reste à faire" or "est-ce qu'il te reste à preparer le gateau?" (Do you (still) have to prepare the cake), is the concept of 'still' implied. For example, there is a subtle difference between 'I have some shopping to do' and 'i still have some shopping to do', the second being used in situations where something remains to be done after having completed other tasks. In that case, would it be necessary to use "j'ai ENCORE mes courses à faire/il me reste ENCORE mes courses à faire' or can 'encore' be ommitted in one case or either?


A Qu'est-ce qu'il te reste à faire?

1.No, the concept "still" (encore) is not necessarily implied; it depends on the point of view. You can say "Qu'est-ce qu'il te reste à faire?" or "Qu'est-ce qu'il te reste encore à faire?" (or alternatively "Qu'est-ce qu'il te reste à faire encore?"); therefore, it can be expected that there is a difference; really, most often, there will be no difference in the context; one will say either to mean "what is left"; that is understandable as the verb "rester" is defined as follows;

(TLFi) Être encore présent, disponible; subsister.

There is a case of a hardly detectable pleonastic usage that, however, someone aware of the subtlety might prefer to avoid and say rather "Qu'est-ce qu'il te reste à faire?".

2.Nevertheless, in this particular context where the matter that concerns the persons speaking is various things that are still left to do, after having mentioned a few of these things that haven't yet been done, a question about whether there are still more things left to do is explicit only if "encore" (still) is used.


-- Qu'est-ce qu'il te reste à faire?
-- J'ai beaucoup de choses à faire, faire la vaisselle, faire les lits, faire les courses, et ce n'est pas tout…
-- Qu'est-ce qu'il te reste encore à faire?

In that particular context, instead of "encore" the speaker can say "en plus" or "en plus de ça".

B Est-ce qu'il te reste à préparer le gateau?

The principle in « A1 » applies to this sentence.

C No, "encore" shouldn't be omitted if the meaning of "still" is to be retained in the first French sentence (J'ai ENCORE mes courses à faire.); in the second, since the verb "rester" is used and in the light of what's been sais in « A1 » above, "encore" can be omitted.


You write about English: There is a subtle difference

The same in French.

Que te reste-t-il encore à faire implying that you have already done a part of what you had to do. When

Que te reste-t-il à faire implying nothing about the amount already done.

Some care should be taken anyhow. Depending on the context, the relationship with the speaker, the tone, encore can carry a subtle amount of polite (because implicit) irritation.

If you are late or, on the contrary, if one considers that you already made more than enough... and hear Que te reste-t-il encore à faire ?, this could be interpreted as a reproof.

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