French Grammar: Asking Questions – Interrogative Adjectives


French Grammar: Asking Questions – Interrogative Adjectives
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French Grammar: Asking Questions – Interrogative Adjectives
(Quel / Quels / Quelle / Quelles)

French Interrogative Adjectives (les adjectifs interrogatifs) are words that are used to ask questions. (They interrogate!) Asking different kinds of questions will help you manage every kind of day-to-day interaction in French. You need to ask questions in order to find out what’s going on!


There are a few general rules to follow when asking questions in French:

In English, we use helping words like DO / DOES or AM / IS / ARE when asking questions. In French, this is not necessary because it’s implied in the question.

French interrogative adjectives often – but not always – appear at the beginning of the sentence.

When asking questions in French, the subject (the noun or pronoun that’s being identified) is often placed after the verb (inversion).

Interrogative Adjectives (les adjectifs interrogatifs) are words that are used to ask for more detail than simply “yes” or “no”. (They interrogate!)

The interrogative adjectives (question words) in French are:

QUEL? : which? / what? (masculine singular)

 : which? / what? (masculine plural)

QUELLE? : which? / what? (feminine singular)

 : which? / what? (feminine plural)

The interrogative adjectives QUEL / QUELS / QUELLE / QUELLES must agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine) with the noun that follows it.  These interrogative adjectives can be used in questions formed by either (a) intonation (rising voice inflection), (b) est-ce que (or est-ce qu’), or (c) inversion.

(a) Intonation (rising voice inflection)

Il aime quels sports?
He likes which sports?  (Which sports does he like?)

(b) est-ce que (est-ce qu’)

Quels sports est-ce qu’il aime?
Which sports does he like?

(c) Inversion

Quels sports aime-t-il?
Which sports does he like?

Normally, QUEL / QUELS / QUELLE / QUELLES is followed by a noun.  The verb ÊTRE is the only verb that can directly follow QUEL / QUELS / QUELLE / QUELLES. :

Quel est ton numéro de téléphone?
What is your (informal) phone number?

Prepositions (à, de (d’), avec, dans, pour …) are required in front of the interrogative adjective (QUEL / QUELS / QUELLE / QUELLES). They should not appear at the end of the sentence. :

À quelle heure est-ce que la classe commence?
At what time does the class begin?

Tu fais les courses dans quel supermarché?
You (informal) go grocery shopping in which supermarket?

Pour quels examens étudient-ils?
For which exams are they studying?
(Which exams are they studying for?)

QUEL / QUELS / QUELLE / QUELLES can also be used in exclamations.  Here, the implication may be either positive or negative.

Quel bizarre! : How weird!

Quel dommage! : Too bad! / What a shame!

Quelle horreur! : How awful! / How terrible!

Quelles jolies robes! : What pretty dresses!


Quel est le nom de votre professeur de français?
What is the name of your (plural) French professor?

Quels cours prend-il ce semestre?
Which courses is he taking this semester?

Avec quelle main est-ce que tu écris?
With which hand do you (informal) write?
(Which hand do you write with?)

De quelles femmes parlez-vous?
About which women are you (formal) speaking?
(Which women are you speaking about?)


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