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French Level 1
    Unit 11: Leçon 1a
    Les Questions
    In this Unité, you will be learning about the correct formation of sentences. There are several ways to make sentences. Let us begin with the most simple form. Look at the graph below:
THE "ADD ONLY A QUESTION MARK TO MAKE A QUESTION" GRAPH

Track 92
Statements
(en français)
Questions
(en français)
Translation
(en anglais)
Tu aimes les sandwiches. Tu aimes les sandwiches? Do you like the sandwiches?
Nous chantons. Nous chantons? Are we singing?
Vous dansez. Vous dansez? Do you dance?
Il travaille chez McDonald's. Il travaille chez McDonald's? Does he work at McDonald's?
Is he working at McDonald's?
Elle joue du piano. Elle joue du piano? Does she play the piano?
Is she playing the piano?
Ils cherchent la fille. Ils cherchent la fille? Are they looking for the girl?
Elles regardent un film. Elles regardent un film? Are they watching a movie?
Luc parle italien. Luc parle italien? Does Luc speak italian?
Is Luc speaking italian?
Victoire marche à l'école. Victoire marche à l'école? Does Victoire walk to school?
Is Victoire walking to school?
    The table above shows the question formula used most frequently by French speakers. Why? Because it is the easiest way to form questions! (French people do not like to make anything any more difficult than it needs to be!)

    I have to tell you a very important fact. When speaking a statement in French it is important to speak so that your voice goes up after each group of words in the middle of a sentence rather than down as when speaking English. It is not until the end of the sentence the voice goes down. However, when speaking a question in French, the voice goes up at the end as it does in English. Listen again to the phrases of selection 90 on the CD and you will hear what I mean. This "up and down" pattern of speaking is called inflection.

    Simply changing the inflection of the words when speaking and adding a question mark when writing may make the French language seem much more simple to learn and use, but it is not proper French. (Often, the popular way that a language is spoken is NOT always grammatically correct!) The next method of question formation that I am going to show you IS grammatically correct. It is called, "Inversion".

    "Inversion" means that we invert or switch the order of the verb and the pronoun. Look at the graph below (To make the leçon easier for you to understand, the next graph will contain the same basic phrases used in the previous graph):
THE "INVERSION" GRAPH

Track 93
Statements
(en français)
Questions
(en français)
Translation
(en anglais)
Tu aimes les sandwiches. Aimes-tu les sandwiches? Do you like the sandwiches?
Nous chantons. Chantons-nous? Are we singing?
Vous dansez. Dansez-vous? Do you dance?
Il travaille chez McDonald's. Travaille-t-il chez McDonald's? Does he work at McDonald's?
Is he working at McDonald's?
Elle joue du piano. Joue-t-elle du piano? Does she play the piano?
Is she playing the piano?
Ils cherchent la fille. Cherchent-ils la fille? Are they looking for the girl?
Elles regardent un film. Regardent-elles un film? Are they watching a movie?
Luc parle italien. Parle-Luc italien?
No, No, No!
 
Victoire marche à l'école. Marche-Victoire à l'école?
No, No, No!
 




    EXPLANATION OF QUESTION FORMS FROM "THE INVERSION GRAPH"

    To best explain to you how the phrases in the "Inversion Graph" are used correctly, we are going to look at them in smaller parts. Let us look at the first three phrases in the graph:


Track 94
Statements
(en français)
Questions
(en français)
Translation
(en anglais)
Tu aimes les sandwiches. Aimes-tu les sandwiches? Do you like the sandwiches?
Nous chantons. Chantons-nous? Are we singing?
Vous dansez. Dansez-vous? Do you dance?
    The above part of the inversion graph is very simple. You can see that all we did was switch the order of the verbs and the pronouns by placing the verb before the pronoun. We made one simple addition to these new sentences: a small "-", or "hypen" that connect the verbs to the pronouns.

    Let us now take a look at the next four forms from the graph:

Track 95
Statements
(en français)
Questions
(en français)
Translation
(en anglais)
Il travaille chez McDonald's. Travaille-t-il chez McDonald's? Does he work at McDonald's?
Is he working at McDonald's?
Elle joue du piano. Joue-t-elle du piano? Does she play the piano?
Is she playing the piano?
Ils cherchent la fille. Cherchent-ils la fille? Are they looking for the girl?
Elles regardent un film. Regardent-elles un film? Are they watching a movie?
    This part of the graph is a little more complicated. In the first two forms above, you notice that when we inverted the verb and the pronoun we added the letter "t" between them. The reason for this addition is to make the phrase sound better! Listen to what I mean:

Track 96
Wrong Way!
(en français)
Correct Way!
(en français)
Translation
(en anglais)
Travaille-il chez McDonald's? Travaille-t-il chez McDonald's? Does he work at McDonald's?
Is he working at McDonald's?
Joue-elle du piano? Joue-t-elle du piano? Does she play the piano?
Is she playing the piano?
    The last two phrases from our graph our "struck through":
Statements
(en français)
Questions
(en français)
Luc parle italien. Parle-Luc italien?
No, No, No!
Victoire marche à l'école. Marche-Victoire à l'école?
No, No, No!
    The reason that these phrases are "struck through" is because verbs and names cannot be inverted to make questions.

    Let us move on to Leçon 1b!


Introduction / Leçon 1a / Leçon 1b / Leçon 1c / Leçon 2