Forming Questions in French


Inversion

There are several ways of forming questions in French. The most common way is to reverse the positions of the subject pronoun and the verb, which is called inversion.

When the 3rd-person singular ends with a vowel, a 't' is added between the verb and the pronoun. The 't' is pronounced as part of the syllable that follows it.


Normal statement Question using inversion
Vous avez des nourvelles.
Ils sont en vanacanes.
Il est à Lyon maintenant.
Il va bien.
Avez-vous des nouvelles?
Sont-ils en vacances?
Est-il à Lyon maintenant?
Va-t-il bien?


Inversion is only possible with the subject pronouns and verbs. When the subject is a noun, the noun remains before the verb and the appropriate pronoun must be introduced after the verb to form a question.


Examples

Vos parents sont-ils toujours en vacanes?     Are your parents still on vacation?
Le restaurant est-il bon?     Is the restaurant good?



Est-ce que

Prefixing Est-ce que to the Subject-Verb of a sentence will make it into a yes/no question. Before a vowel, it becomes: Est-ce qu'


Examples

Est-ce que vous désirez quelque chose?     Do you want something?
Est-ce que tu es seul?     Are you alone?
Est-ce qu'il a le livre?     Does he have the book?



Intonation

Raising your pitch on the final syllable of a sentence will also signal a yes/no question.


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