Est-ce que Meaning

The the French “est-ce que” can seem quite foreign and mysterious to a beginner student who’s just starting to learn French. Simply put, est-ce que is used in asking informal questions. It’s literal translation is, “is this that”. A loose translation for est-ce que is, is, are, do and does for questions. You put it directly in front of any statement to make a question. In this short lesson you’ll learn how to ask a question with est-ce que and find lots of useful examples. Keep reading!

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Est-ce que usage and example sentences

Let’s look at an example. Here’s a simple statement:

  • Vous mangez le pain. You eat the bread.

Now we’ll put est-ce que in front of the statement to form a question:

  • Est-ce que vous mangez le pain? Do you eat the bread?

Now let’s look at some sample questions using est-ce que:

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  • Est-ce que vous habitez ici? Do you live here?
  • Est-ce que tu joues au foot-ball? Do you play soccer?
  • Est-ce que vous travaillez avec Jacques? Do you work with Jacques?
  • Est-ce que nous dînons au restaurant? Are we dining at the restaurant?

Note that when est-ce que preceeds the personal pronouns il, elle, ils and elles (he, she and they), the que becomes qu’. Hence, you pronounce qu’il [keel] and qu’elle [kell]. Here are some examples:

  • Est-ce qu’il parle francais? Does he speak French?
  • Est-ce qu’elle voyage en France? Is she traveling in France?
  • Est-ce qu’ils habitent à Paris? Do they live in Paris?
  • Est-ce qu’elles voyagent ensemble? Are they traveling together?

Now you know how to form an informal question using est-ce que. Félicitations!

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About 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, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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