28 votes
Accepted

What does “est-ce que” really mean?

First, a correction: "est-ce que" comes before yes/no questions. "qu'est-ce que" or "qu'est-ce qui" (depending on if the "what" in the question is the object or subject, respectively) comes before ...
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22 votes
Accepted

Is "De qui parles-tu" (for example) as formal as its English equivalent, or is it normal for the French to casually say that ?

"De qui parles-tu ?" would be a perfectly normal thing to say to a close friend, even if some would notice the effort on the construction of the sentence. If you want to make it sound really casual, ...
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  • 336
20 votes
Accepted

"Vous êtes" or "Êtes-vous" ?

In formal language, affirmations have subject – verb – object complements order and yes/no questions have verb – subject – object complements order. So, Vous êtes beau is an affirmation. Êtes-vous ...
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19 votes
Accepted

Can we form question tags in French?

Does such a thing as question tags exist in French? Yes, the closest equivalent is "n'est-ce-pas ?" which is much simpler as it stays invariable unlike the English form. However, it is not ...
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  • 128k
18 votes

In the sentence "Tu l'as acheté où ce pantalon ?". what does the "l" apart of the "l'as" do?

Technically, the sentence is missing a comma: Tu l'as acheté où, ce pantalon ? To parse it, better to first ignore the trailing part that is optional. That reads: Tu l'as acheté où ? or the ...
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  • 128k
15 votes
Accepted

How to ask "how often" in French?

You can use the expression tous les combien: Tous les combien, interroge sur la fréquence : L'autobus passe tous les combien ? Note there is no s at the end of combien since the latter is an ...
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14 votes

How to ask "how often" in French?

There is no good direct translation I can think of, one would rather say “are you doing it often” and depending on the answer ask further “at which frequency”. Allez-vous souvent à la piscine? (Are ...
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  • 321
14 votes
Accepted

Can I end an "est-ce que" question with "est'?

Short answer: "Où est-ce que ma chaise est ?" is correct. Long answer: "est-ce que" is used in order to keep the order between the subject and the verb. For "Ma chaise est là.&...
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14 votes

Can I end an "est-ce que" question with "est'?

As a native I would say : Où est-ce qu'est ma chaise? Où est ma chaise? I think you do not say Où est-ce que ma chaise est? or at least I never hear people using it. Maybe because it is not a ...
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  • 766
12 votes

"Que devrions-nous le baser dessus" or "Que devrions-nous le baser sur"?

I would personally say: Sur quoi devrions-nous le baser? The two phrasings you have suggested seem incorrect to me.
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  • 1,914
11 votes
Accepted

Is this the correct way to ask "What time do you get up in the morning?"

Il y a plusieurs manières de poser cette question, par exemple : Le matin, tu te lèves à quelle heure ? (Attention aux accents) À quelle heure est-ce que tu te lèves le matin ? À quelle heure te ...
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  • 288
11 votes
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How do I properly word this question in French?

To correct your proposals: Quelle est ta chanson préférée de lui ? De ses chansons, quelle est ta préférée ? (chanson is a feminine noun). Or other suggestions: Laquelle de ses chansons préfères-tu ...
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  • 1,494
9 votes

How to say: How does he look like? Happy, sad?

I would say "Comment a-t-il l'air d'aller ?" or simply "Comment va-t-il ?". "De quoi a-t-il l'air ?" is possible too, but it refers more to the physical appearance.
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  • 5,116
9 votes
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"Pourquoi l'hôtel est-il complet?" Why est-il and not just est?

Even though this is more or less a duplicate, I'll add an explanation that I didn't see when skimming previous answers. The subject pronouns are clitics, which have some fascinating properties but ...
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  • 16.7k
9 votes

Choosing Between Intonation/Est-ce que/Inversion Question Forms

I would tend to agree with your characterization of tone as informal (only when speaking anyway), est-ce que being fairly standard/neutral/common these days, and the inversion being more formal - ...
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  • 6,039
8 votes

How do you say "Which instrument do you play" in French?

The grammatically correct formal sentence would be: De quel instrument jouez-vous ? A still grammatical spoken French: De quel instrument est-ce que vous jouez ? In non formal, real life, you'll ...
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  • 128k
8 votes
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Placement of ne and pas to mean “What have you not done?”

“Qu'as fait tu ?” is not correct. According to francaisfacile.com (emphasis mine), in questions: On conjugue un verbe impérativement en plaçant le pronom sujet a) après le verbe aux temps ...
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8 votes
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“Que” vs. “Qu'est-ce que”

They are equivalent in meaning. The form with the subject and verb inverted is more formal. In general, the order of question formality from most to least looks like this: Subject-verb inversion ...
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  • 16.7k
8 votes

Differences between “pas vrai ?”, “c’est ça ?”, “hein ?”, and “n’est-ce pas ?”

The translation for each would be pas vrai - no way (when being astonished, not very formal) or right (common) c'est ça - is that it (common) n'est-il pas - isn't it (formal) "Hein" doesn't really ...
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  • 600
8 votes
Accepted

Is "à quoi conduis-tu les enfants?" correct?

C'est bien « où conduis-tu les enfants ? », car l'école est un lieu.
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  • 96
7 votes
Accepted

Is "D'où vient que..." a common expression?

The idiomatic phrasing is: Comment se fait-il que … ? For some reason the clause is usually in the subjunctive mood. In this case: Comment se fait-il que je sois arrivé avant toi ? It could ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Why is there no "à" before "boire" and "manger" when asking question?

The verb vouloir can be followed by either a bare infinitive or a noun phrase. que voudriez-vous boire? que voudriez-vous manger? In these sentences, there is no preposition before "boire" ...
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  • 2,707
7 votes
Accepted

"Comment tu t'appelles" versus "Vous vous appelez comment"

There are two differences between the proposed constructions: Using tu or vous I suppose this is not the problem and won't even stop on this. If this is a problem, I suppose a separate question ...
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  • 4,445
7 votes

How do you say "how is your X going on"?

That's kinda broad and you will have several translations depending on what you're asking. In a lot of them, the expression Se Passer would make a great fit. For instance: How is your day going? ...
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  • 726
7 votes
Accepted

Meaning of "Qu'est-ce qu'il y a?"

It means "What's up?", "What's happening?". Translated literally, it means "what is there?": "il y a" means "there is" and you turn it into a question. In this context, the friend is asking what the ...
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  • 3,093
7 votes

"Is/Are there any more..."?

Your first sentence: Est-ce qu'il y a aucun pain ? doesn't work. It somewhat means Is there no bread? Possible ways to express what you are looking for are: Est-ce qu'il y a encore du pain ? ...
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  • 128k
7 votes
Accepted

Inversion de 'Il y en a un'

"Y en a-t-il" is not the exact interrogative form of "Il y en a un". Question : Y en a-t-il ? Réponses : Oui. ... il y en a, mais on ne sait pas combien (au moins un, mais peut-être plus). ...
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  • 3,705
7 votes
Accepted

Comment on dit "not anymore" en Français?

Je ne fume plus. Plus maintenant J'ai arreté de fumer!
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  • 504
7 votes
Accepted

How to answer "ça a été ?" ?

Here are some suggestions but of course there may be plenty of other possibilities: Very usual (at the restaurant, for example): C'était très bon, merci. Tout s'est bien passé, merci. Common, ...
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  • 1,826

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