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Que Meaning & Translation – What, that and than in French

Que Meaning & Translation – What, that and than in French

Today we’ll have a close look at the word que in French. Que is a very commonly used word with multiple meanings, including “what”, “that” and “than”. Je veux que vous fassiez attention à cette leçon! (I want you to pay attention to this lesson!).

French lesson explaining how to use the word "que". Meanings include what, that and than.

Que French meaning and translation

Word origin

According to, The French word que is related to the following Latin words: Quid (what) quĭă (because) and quăm (as, than) and qui, quae, quod (relative pronouns).

Example sentences

One meaning of que is “what?”. The following example sentence is an inversion of this question: “Qu’est-ce que to fais ce weekend ?” (see meaning below). This lesson on our site explains the various ways of asking questons in French.

Que fais-tu ce weekend ?

What are you doing this weekend?

For this next sentence, que is a relative pronoun meaning “that”. As a relative pronoun, que can also mean who and which, depending on the sentence. This lesson on our site explains French relative pronouns in detail.

La voiture que je conduis est très rapide.

The car that I drive is very fast.

In French, penser (to think) is always followed by que to mean “to think that”. It’s a very common mistake for beginners to omit the que in these sentences.

Je pense que tu as tort.

I think you’re wrong.

Que can mean “than” in sentences making comparisons. This lesson on our site covers the French the comparative and superlative (the best, worst, etc.) in detail.

Je marche plus vite que toi.

I walk faster than you.

The word que is used to separate the two clauses in sentences in the subjunctive. This lesson on our site explains the French subjunctive mood in detail.

Je veux que tu fasses tes devoirs.

I want you to do your homework.

The negation ne…que means “only”. This lesson on our site covers the many French negation rules in detail.

Je n’ai que cinq euros sur moi.

I only have 5 euros on me.

For this next example sentence, que translates to “how” or “so”. This is a more formal use of que.

Que cette femme est belle !

This lady is so beautiful!

The form que … ou que … is used to indicate a condition and translates to come…or or whether…or.

Qu’il pleuve ou qu’il neige, j’arrive demain.

Whether it rains or snows, I’m arriving tomorrow.


Congratulations! Now you have a better understanding of how to use que in French. Now check out lesson covering the various uses of the the word soit (be).

Example of how to use "que" in French: Qu'elle chante bien! = She sings so well!
Qu’elle chante bien ! = She sings so well!

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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