I would be very grateful if somebody could explain how we can ask a question about a subject complement? E. g., what question(s) should I ask about the sentence

Ce plat est brûlant.

in order to get the answer "Brûlant."

  • 2
    C'est chaud ? / / C'est assez chaud ? →*Brûlant*. // Comment est ce plat ?Brûlant (but this one sounds weird, really out of a language exercise more than real life). You'll probably get plenty more suggestions. If you're looking for an interrogative, in this particular instance comment is probably the best.
    – None
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 16:52
  • Thank you, None. I thought about using COMMENT as I came across such a question in a textbook not so long ago but there isn't a single example of such a question in a dictionary. Yet, I have found a song for learners of French named "Comment est il?" The title seems to be a question about the subject complement since it's answered with "He's intelligent" etc. Still the absence of this meaning of COMMENT in dictionaries makes me wonder if the question "Comment est il?" sounds natural. Do native speakers ever ask it?
    – Val
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 18:18
  • @Val: It sounds pretty weird in English, too. "How is that dish?" "Burning hot." You expect an answer like "delicious" or "I've had better quiche." Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 18:26
  • 1
    @Val In real life, people rarely say sentences like Comment est-il ?, Comment va-t-il ?, or Comment est ce plat ?, if ever. That's textbook French, not conversational French. Maybe what a teacher expects but usual expressions would be Il est comment ? Comment il va ? Il est comment ce plat ?
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 20:02
  • 1
    @jlliagre I appreciate your comment, jlliagre! .
    – Val
    Commented Jun 17, 2023 at 10:10

1 Answer 1


As the previous comments said, the most common way to ask this is to use "Comment" (= "How") :

  • "Comment est ce plat ? Il est brûlant." (= "How is your dish? It is burning hot.")
  • "Comment trouves-tu ce plat ? Brûlant." (= "What do you think about your dish? Way too hot.")

However, we can reformulate some questions in order to specify the kind of answer we are looking for, sometimes withouth using "Comment" :

  • "À quel point ce plat est-il chaud ? Il est brûlant." (= "How hot is it? Burning hot.")
  • "La température vous convient-elle ? Non, c'est brûlant." (= "Is the temperature suitable? No, it's burning hot.")
  • "Comment trouvez-vous la température de votre plat ? Brûlante." (= "What do you think of the temperature? It is burning hot."

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