Ces règles sont issues des pages 184-186 d'Advanced French Grammar de V Mazet, la mémorisation desquelles risquerait la méprise. Voire, je souhaiterais les comprendre.

I. Simple inversion : The case of que

After que (Short form) as the object of a verb (As in What do you want?), the simple inversion noun subject/verb is mandatory and you may not use the double subject inversion. You can still use the qu'est-ce que form, although it should be avoided after faire.

II. Exceptions (to the simple inversion) :

The common inversion with a noun is not always possible. There are 3 cases where you must use the est-ce que construction or a double subject inversion (see Example 1, Example 2) :

II.1. The verb has a complement essential to its meaning and without which the sentence would be incomplete:

Avec qui ta fille va-t-elle à cette soirée ? Avec qui est-ce que ta fille va à cette soirée ?

II.2. The verb is transitive and the object is expressed. The exception is after que (Case 1 above).

Quand le facteur apportera-t-il le paquet ? = Quand est-ce que le facteur apportera le paquet ?

II.3. After the question word pourquoi.

Dans le cas I, comment et pourquoi pas l'inversion du double sujet ? Dans le cas II et III, comment et pourquoi pas l'inversion simple ?

Tout ceci est-il correct par écrit et grammaticalement ? Par exemple, il se peut que le cas II.2 puisse être : Avec qui ta fille va à cette soirée ?

  • 4
    These are rules, and exceptions to these rules. They don't need explanations. Dec 13 '13 at 10:02
  • @Édouard, I think it means the use of a "pronom de reprise" in which case the subject is indeed duplicated. Dec 13 '13 at 17:54
  • @Unfrancophone Ok, I got it. I somehow though she meant inverting “Ta fille va-t-elle” a second time to get “Est-ce que ta fille va”. My bad.
    – Édouard
    Dec 14 '13 at 1:54
  • @AlexisPigeon: I recognise that they are rules. Nonetheless, understanding helps me more than rote memorisation so I'd like to rationalise them as far as possible.
    – NNOX Apps
    Dec 14 '13 at 6:05
  • 1
    @LePressentiment C'est une très bonne maîtresse, aucun problème là-dessus! Et elle avait bien raison de couper court à mes questions, qui n'avaient pas vraiment de sens. Dec 14 '13 at 17:07

I'm not clear what a "double inversion" is meant exactly to be, but it seems to me what prevents a basic inversion in the given examples has nothing whatsoever to do with the "presence of an essential complements" (of which the "object" of II is one, by the way), but rather that the subject is expressed fully rather than by a pronoun, otherwise we get, with (if I understand the terminology correctly) simple inversion:

Avec qui va-t-elle à cette soirée?


Quand apportera-t-il le paquet?

  • Merci. J'ai fourni deux liens envers la défn de "double inversion." Prière de me faire savoir de leurs utilités.
    – NNOX Apps
    Dec 14 '13 at 12:12
  • I just wasn't entirely sure if my understanding of "double inversion" was correct since the way I read, there is still only one inversion. In any case, I rest my case that objects have nothing to do with the presence of "double inversion", at least in every single examples given here.
    – Circeus
    Dec 14 '13 at 16:45

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