Make your own free website on Tripod.com
French Level 1
    Unit 11: Leçon 1b
    Les Questions
    In this leçon and the next one, I am going to show you new grammatically correct ways to make questions using a special phrase that is placed in front of a statement. The first phrase that we will be using is "est-ce que". The first part of the phrase or "est-ce" is pronounced "s" just like saying the letter "s" in English. The second part of the word or "que" is pronounced as if you were saying the French word "le" replacing the letter "l" with a "k" (you will see what I mean when you listen to the audio for the graph below). The exact translation for the French phrase "est-ce que" into English would be "is this that" which I know makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to an English speaking person. In order to help you I have given you the best "English equivalent" of each question in the translation column of the graph.

    Ah, oui. One last thing before we begin the graph: we will use the same statements, etc, etc. as were used in the previous leçon. This should make the usage of "est-ce que" more obvious and easier to understand!

    Commençons!

Track 97
Statements
(en français)
Questions
(en français)
Translation
(en anglais)
Tu aimes les sandwiches. Est-ce que tu aimes les sandwiches? Do you like the sandwiches?
Nous chantons. Est-ce que nous chantons? Are we singing?
Vous dansez. Est-ce que vous dansez? Do you dance?
Il travaille chez McDonald's. Est-ce qu'il travaille chez McDonald's? Does he work at McDonald's?
Is he working at McDonald's?
Elle joue du piano. Est-ce qu'elle joue du piano? Does she play the piano?
Is she playing the piano?
Ils cherchent la fille. Est-ce qu'ils cherchent la fille? Are they looking for the girl?
Elles regardent un film. Est-ce qu'elles regardent un film? Are they watching a movie?
Luc parle italien. Est-ce que Luc parle italien? Does Luc speak italian?
Is Luc speaking italian?
Victoire marche à l'école. Est-ce que Victoire marche à l'école? Does Victoire walk to school?
Is Victoire walking to school?

You can see that using the phrase "est-ce que" is VERY simple. In most cases, all that is needed to do is to place "est-ce que" at the beginning of a sentence to change it into a question. The exception to this rule happens when we place "est-ce que" in front of a word that begins with a vowel such as "il" or "ils" or "elle" or "elles". We MUST drop the "e" at the end of the phrase "est-ce que" and replace it with an apostrophe changing "est-ce que" to "est-ce qu' " Now, as Monsieur Charon would say, here is the 64 million euro question: Why do we do this? (Drum roll please!) Because it sounds GOOD! Saying "est-ce que" before a word that begins with a vowel sounds so strange that even I cannot say it for you. You will just have to take my word for it!

Let us move on to Leçon 1c!


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