Lesson 10 – Forming Interrogative Sentences in French

French for Beginners: Lesson 10 – Forming Interrogative Sentences in French

Welcome to Lesson 10! Here, we focus on forming interrogative sentences in French, a crucial skill for engaging in conversations.

Objectives:

  • Master different techniques for asking questions in French.
  • Understand how to use subject pronouns in inverted questions.
  • Practice forming questions with various subjects.

1. Intonation

Raising your intonation at the end of a statement turns it into a question.

  • Tu travailles demain ? (Are you working tomorrow?)
  • Elle travaille aujourd’hui ? (Is she working today?)
  • Marc joue au football ? (Does Marc play football?)

2. Using “Est-ce que”

Begin the sentence with “Est-ce que” for a straightforward question format.

  • Est-ce que tu travailles demain ? (Are you working tomorrow?)
  • Est-ce qu’elle travaille aujourd’hui ? (Is she working today?)
  • Est-ce que Marc joue au football ? (Does Marc play football?)

3. Inversion

For a formal question, invert the subject and the verb. 

Examples : 

  • Travailles-tu demain ? (Are you working tomorrow?)
  • Travaille-t-elle aujourd’hui ? (Is she working today?)
  • Regardent-elles le film ? (Are they watching the movie?)
  • Aiment-ils la musique classique ? (Do they like classical music?)
  • Jouez-vous au tennis ? (Do you play tennis?)
  • Parlons-nous assez français ? (Do we speak enough French?)

When the subject is a noun, repeat it with a corresponding subject pronoun.

  • Marc joue-t-il au football ? (Does Marc play football?)

Explanation:  In inversion, the subject pronoun is always used. If the subject is a proper noun or a noun phrase, it’s repeated before the verb, followed by the appropriate subject pronoun and the inverted verb.

Practice Exercise

Exercice 1 :

Transform the following statements into questions using the three methods: intonation, “est-ce que,” and subject-verb inversion. Include one case with a singular noun subject and one with a plural noun subject.

  1. Tu parles anglais. (You speak English.)
  2. Marc regarde un film. (Marc is watching a movie.)
  3. Nous aimons la musique. (We like music.)
  4. Les enfants jouent dehors. (The children are playing outside.)
  5. Vous travaillez aujourd’hui. (You are working today.)
answers

Intonation:

  1. Tu parles anglais ? (Do you speak English?)
  2. Marc regarde un film ? (Is Marc watching a movie?)
  3. Nous aimons la musique ? (Do we like music?)
  4. Les enfants jouent dehors ? (Are the children playing outside?)
  5. Vous travaillez aujourd’hui ? (Are you working today?)

“Est-ce que”:

  1. Est-ce que tu parles anglais ? (Do you speak English?)
  2. Est-ce que Marc regarde un film ? (Is Marc watching a movie?)
  3. Est-ce que nous aimons la musique ? (Do we like music?)
  4. Est-ce que les enfants jouent dehors ? (Are the children playing outside?)
  5. Est-ce que vous travaillez aujourd’hui ? (Are you working today?)

Inversion:

  1. Parles-tu anglais ? (Do you speak English?)
  2. Marc regarde-t-il un film ? (Is Marc watching a movie?)
  3. Aimons-nous la musique ? (Do we like music?)
  4. Les enfants jouent-ils dehors ? (Are the children playing outside?)
  5. Travaillez-vous aujourd’hui ? (Are you working today?)

Exercise 2

Create questions using each method. Try to include different subjects like “tu,” “il,” “elle,” and proper nouns.

Conclusion

Well done on completing Lesson 10! You now have a good understanding of how to form questions in French using various methods. These skills will greatly aid your ability to engage in conversations. In the next lesson, we will explore forming negative sentences in French.

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