Est-ce que: Meaning, Usage And Example Sentences

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:

  • 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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