French interrogative adverbs : quand, pourquoi, comment, quel,… + Exercises

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In this course you will learn everything you need to know about adverbs in questions, that is you learn what they are, and how, and when to use them. So first things,

What are they ?

Well, interrogatives adverbs are words used to ask questions that cannot simply be answered by yes or no. In other words interrogatives adverbs are words used to ask for more information.

Adjectives in questions can also be used for this purpose.

The most common adverbs in questions in French are  
comment, the meaning is « how »  
-d’où, the meaning is « where…from… », for example « where are you from ? »
, the meaning is « where »
pourquoi, the meaning is « why »

“How much” or “how many”

Let’s see a few examples starting  
Combien ça coûte → How much does it cost ?    
Combien y a-t-il d’enfants dans la classe ? → How many children are there in the class ?

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Students : learn French pronouns with pictures for nouns, pronouns
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Comment

Here is an example with comment
Comment avez-vous réussi à faire ça ? → How did you manage to do that ?
Comment tu t’appelles ? (informal language) → What is your name ?
Comment t’appeles-tu ? (formal language) → What is your name ?

D’où / Où

D’où sont-ils ? → Where are they from ?
Où allez-vous ? → Where are you going ?  
D’où viens-vous ? → Where are your from ?

Pourquoi

Pourquoi ont-ils perdu ? → Why did they lose ?
Pourquoi des pays sont en guerre ? → Why are countries at war ?
Pourquoi les cerises son rouges ? → Why are cherries red ?

When

Quand viendrez-vous me rendre visite ? → When will you come to visit me ?

So, now you know what the most common adverbs in questions are.

Where are they placed ?

You need to know where they’re placed. So as you’ve seen in the previous examples :

Adverbs in questions are usually placed at the beginning of the question.  
However, be aware that in spoken French, they are also commonly found at the end of the question, in which case they are stressed with rising intonation.  
For example, if you wanted to know how someone is, you could ask Comment va-t-elle ? → How is she ?

Or you could also ask  
Elle va comment ? → How is she ?  
However, putting the adverbs in questions at the end makes the sentence sound much more informal.

Pourquoi

Please, also note that pourquoi can never be placed at the end of the question.

So, now you know what the most common adverbs in questions are, and that all of them, except for pourquoi, can be placed either at the very beginning or the very end of the question.

How to ask questions with adverbs ?

How do you actually form questions with adverbs in questions ? There are three ways in which you can ask questions with adverbs in questions. In speech you can simply use

Writing information, for example, Pourquoi elle part ? → Why is she leaving ?
Please, bear in mind that this can only be used in informal situations.

You can also ask questions with adverbs in questions using

Inversion, this is putting the verb before the subject, this can be used in both writing and speech. For example, Pourquoi part-elle ? → Why is she leaving ?

And finally you can also form questions using

Est-ce que. For example, Pourquoi est-ce qu’elle part ? → Why is she leaving ?

However, bear in mind that forming questions with adverbs using est-ce que, is only possible if the adverb is at the beginning of the question. You cannot use est-ce que with an adverb placed at the end of the question.

Indirect questions

Another thing you need to be aware of, is that adverbs in questions can also be used to ask indirect questions.
For example,  
Je ne comprends pas pourquoi vous avez fais cela → I don’t understand why you did that.  
Elle en sait plus où elle a mis les clés  → She can’t remember where she put the keys
Dis-moi quant ut es prêtes → Tell me when you’re ready.

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Students : learn French verbs for lessons, tu
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In this video we are going to understand the difference between  
Quel → masculine singular
Quelle → feminine singuar
Quels → masculine plural   
Quelles → feminine plural

Quel is an adjective in questions, which means « which » or « what ». It is used when there are several options to choose from. It agrees in number and gender with nouns it relates to. Therefore it can take several forms.

Quelle est ta couleur préférée ? → What is your favourite colour ?
The word couleur is feminine singular

Quel est cet outil ? → What is this tool ?
The word outil is masculine singular

Quels sont les résultats des éléctions ? → What are the results of the elections ?
The word résultats is masculine plural

Quelles chaussures aimez-vous ? → What shoes do you like ?
The word chaussures is feminine plural

Quel genre de musique aimez-vous ? → What genre of music do you like ?
The word genre is masculine singular

Quels fruits préfèrent-ils ? → What fruits do you prefer ?
The word fruits is masculine plural

Exercises

Create your own sentences, write them below, in the comments and I will correct them

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Speak like the French idiomatic expressions for lessons, quand, expressions
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Thank you for reading this article !
Thomas 😀

Allez, allez, conjunctions, conjunctions, expressions, interrogative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, intonation, inversion, ir, ir, parlez, parlez, pronouns, teacher, teacher, vocabulary, vocabulary