Asking questions in French

Questions in French

As in English, questions terminate with a question mark.

  • quel, quelle, quels, quelles ?: which ? what ?
  • qui ? : who ?
  • que ? : what ?
  • quoi ? : what ?
  • pourquoi ? : why ?
  • quand ? : when ?
  • où ? : where ?
  • comment ? : how ?
  • combien ? : how many/much ?

quel, quelle, quels, quelles

Interrogative adjectives

The interrogative adjectif must agree in numbers and gender with the noun to which the question refers.

Examples of quel

" Quel " ( Which or What ) is used for a masculine object or person in a question or affirmation.

  • Question : Quel train tu prends ? Which train are you taking?
  • Exclamation : Quel homme ! What a man!

" Quels " refers to the same things than above but for the plural.

  • Question : A quels jeux tu aimes jouer ? Which games do you like to play?
  • Exclamation : Quels rois furent des Capétiens ? Which kings were of the Capetian dynasty?

" Quelle " ( Which or What ) is a feminine form of " quel ", also used for an object or a person in a question or an Exclamation.

  • Question : Quelle chaîne tu veux regarder ? What channel do you want to watch?
  • Exclamation : Quelle belle maison ! What a beautiful house!

" Quelles " is plural form of " Quelle ", used for the same reasons.

  • Question : Quelles sont les meilleures chanteuses pour toi ? Which female singers are the best in your opinion?
  • Exclamation : Quelles belles voitures ! What beautiful cars!


Interrogative pronouns

qui : who, whom

When asking questions about people you must use qui ? : who? or whom?

It does not matter if it is about one person or two or more.

Examples of qui

Qui est là? : Who is there?

À qui est cette voiture ? : To whom does this car belong?

Qui est Jean Dupont? : Who is Jean Dupont?

Qui est là ? : Who is there?

Qui est le président américain ? : Who is the American president?

A qui est cette maison ? : To whom does this house belong?


Interrogative pronouns

que is used in direct questions refering to things.

que becomes qu' when used before a vowel or H


Que dit le journal? : What does the newspaper say?

Que veux-tu? : What do you want? (informal)

Que voulez-vous? : What do you want? (formal)

The above examples are used for formal French and can sound rather "pompous" when spoken, generally you would replace que? with qu'est-ce que, for example

Qu'est-ce que tu as dit? : What did you say?

Qu'est-ce que vous allez faire? : What will you do?

Qu'est-ce qu'ils ont chanté? : What did they sing?