How to ask questions

An illustration of the different ways that questions can be asked in French

In French, you can ask a question in several different ways.

1. You can simply raise your voice in a questioning way:

  • tu as faim ? - are you hungry?
  • elle est fatiguée ? - is she tired?

2. You can use est-ce que at the start of a phrase:

  • est-ce que tu as faim ? - are you hungry?
  • est-ce qu'elle est fatiguée ? - is she tired?

3. You can change the order of the subject and verb:

  • as-tu faim ? - are you hungry?
  • est-elle fatiguée ? - is she tired?

All are perfectly acceptable ways to ask a question.

What if the verb ends in a vowel?

If the verb ends in a vowel with il/elle/on, you need to add -t when you change the order around:

  • a-t-il faim ? - is he hungry?
  • joue-t-elle au tennis ? - does she play tennis?

In the perfect tense, you turn the avoir and être part around and add a hyphen:

  • as-tu parlé à Paul ? - have you spoken to Paul?
  • êtes-vous allés au restaurant ? - did you go to the restaurant?

In the immediate future tense, you turn the aller part around and add a hyphen:

  • vas-tu parler à Paul ? - are you going to speak to Paul?
  • allez-vous manger des frites ? - are you going to eat chips?