I was talking with someone that gave me a form to fill, and I asked him:

"Quand dois-je le retourner?"

I feel like using "dois-je" in a normal discussion is odd and hard to pronounce (at least for me). Is there a good alternative to be used instead?

I appreciate your explanation.

  • 2
    Cela appartient au registre soutenu, peut être employé par exemple dans un entretien d'embauche pour marquer sa maîtrise du français.
    – Personne
    Oct 21 '20 at 19:51

It is not colloquial but it is far from giving those using it pretentious airs. In fact, when speaking rather formally (to employees in the administrations, to people you don't know, etc.) it is fine to use this form, which is standard. There is another one that is formal enough for that purpose.

  • Quand est-ce que je dois … (also perfect to use among friends)

If you feel absolutely unconfortable with those the following colloquial options might change that but only the first is still acceptable in a formal context.

  • Je dois le retourner quand ? (colloquial)
  • C'est quand que je dois le retourner ? (colloquial)
  • Quand c'est que je dois le retourner ? (very colloquial)

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