French Grammar: Asking Questions – Interrogatives

French Grammar: Asking Questions - Interrogatives

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French Grammar: Asking Questions – Interrogatives
la grammaire française: poser les questions – les interrogatifs

French Interrogatives (les 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!


A yes/no question is one that can simply be answered by “yes” or “no”.  There are basically four ways to ask simple yes/no questions in French:

1. Use rising voice inflection at the end of a statement.

Tu travailles?

2. Use Est-ce que (qu’) at the beginning of a statement, along with rising voice inflection.

Est-ce que tu travailles?

3. Use n’est-ce pas? at the end of a statement, along with rising voice inflection.

Tu travailles, n’est-ce pas?

4. Use inversion (place the verb before the subject).


Interrogatives (les interrogatifs) are question words that are used to ask for more detail than simply “yes” or “no”! They interrogate!

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

The interrogatives (question words) in French are:

QUI : who

QUE : what

QUAND : when

: where



COMBIEN : how much / how many

QUEL(S) / QUELLE(S) : which / what


QUE changes to QU’ when it comes before a word that begins with a vowel or silent ‘h’.

QUE becomes QUOI after a preposition (à, de (d’), avec, dans, pour …)QUOI can also be used by itself (just like what? can be used by itself in English).

QUEL(S) / QUELLE(S) and LEQUEL / LESQUELS / LAQUELLE / LESQUELLES must agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine) with the noun around it.

QUI : who?

Qui parle?
Who is speaking?

QUE (QU’) : what?

Que veut dire “livre” en anglais?
What does “livre” mean in English?

Qu’est-ce que c’est?
What is this?

De quoi parle-t-il?
What is he talking about?

QUAND : when?

Quand est ton anniversaire?
When is your birthday?

: where?


Where do you (formal) live?


Pourquoi est-ce que tu étudies le français?

Why are you(informal) studying French?

COMMENT : how?

Comment allez-vous?

How are you (formal)?

COMBIEN : how much? how many?

Combien coûte la voiture?

How much does the car cost?

QUEL(S) / QUELLE(S) : what? which?

Quel jour est-ce aujourd’hui?

What day is it today?

Quels sont les jours de la semaine?

What are the days of the week?

Quelle heure est-il?

What time is it?

Quelles pâtisseries préfères-tu?

Which pastries do you (informal) prefer?


Lequel de ces livres achètes-tu?
Which (one) of these books are you buying?

Lesquels de ces garçons jouent au football?

Which ones of these boys play soccer?

Ta soeur est laquelle des filles?

Your sister is which one of the girls?

Lesquelles sont tes camarades de chambre?

Which ones are your roommates?

There are a few 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.

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

When used in an interrogative question, prepositions (à, de (d’), avec, dans, pour …) must be placed in front of the interrogative question word. They should not appear at the end of the sentence.


Étudies-tu tous les jours?
Do you (informal) study every day?

Michel sait-il nager?
Does Michel know how to swim?

Avec qui parlez-vous?
With whom are y’all talking?

Où est la maison bleue?
Where is the blue house?

Quel est ton film préféré?
What is your (informal) favorite film?

Quelle est la vitesse aérodynamique d’une hirondelle sans charge?
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Comment t’appelles-tu?
What is your (informal) name?

Combien font deux et deux?
How much is two plus two?

D’où venez-vous?
From where do you all come? (Where do you all come from?)