INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS and THE QUESTION WITH EST-CE QUE
qui? - who?
The interrogative pronoun is placed at the beginning, before ‘Est-ce que’ The question words retain the high pitch. Listen.
Note : the first sentence has a upward intonation (UI) while the second has a downward intonation (DI).
Tu aimes qui? (UI)
Qui est-ce que tu aimes? (DI)
Who do you love?
Tu arrives quand? (UI)
Quand est-ce que tu arrives? (DI)
When do you arrive?
Tu travailles où? (UI)
Où est-ce que tu travailles? (DI)
Where do you work?
Tu voyages comment? (UI)
Comment est-ce que tu voyages? (DI)
How do you travel?
Note : There is a liaison between quand and est-ce que, but the letter ‘d’ is pronounced like a ‘t’. However, there is no liaison between comment and est-ce que.
Special cases :
Pourquoi tu pars? (UI)
Pourquoi est-ce que tu pars? (UI)
Why are you leaving?
Pourquoi is placed at the beginning even in the question using the intonation alone. The first syllable ‘pour’ retains the high pitch.
Tu manges quoi? (UI)
Qu’est-ce que tu manges? (DI)
What are you eating?
Quoi is abbreviated to qu’ in front of Est-ce que.
> Translate the following sentences into French.
- What are you eating? Qu’est-ce que vous mangez?
- Where are you working? Où est-ce que vous travaillez?
- What is it? Qu’est-ce que c’est?
- When is it? Quand est-ce que c’est?
- Why is she here? Pourquoi est-ce qu’elle est ici?
- What is he writing? Qu’est-ce qu’il écrit?
What are you (fam) reading? Qu’est-ce que tu lis?
- What are they (f) translating? Qu’est-ce qu’elles traduisent?
- Who are they driving? Qui est-ce qu’ils conduisent?
- Why is he there? Pourquoi est-ce qu’il est là?