Basic French question words and how to use them

Learning the basic question words in French is essential for any beginner looking to communicate effectively. Knowing these words allows you to ask questions about people, things, places, reasons, and much more. Below you’ll find a list of fundamental French question words, their definitions, and examples of how to use them in a sentence.

Qui
Qui translates to “who” in English and is used when you want to inquire about a person or people.
Qui est votre professeur de français ?

Que / Quoi
Both que and quoi mean “what” in English. Que is used before a verb, whereas quoi is typically used at the end of a question.
Que faites-vous ce week-end ?
Vous pensez à quoi ?


Où means “where” and it’s used to ask about a location or destination.
Où se trouve la gare ?

Quand
Quand translates to “when.” It’s used to inquire about time or the occurrence of an event.
Quand commencent les cours ?

Pourquoi
Pourquoi means “why” and is used to question the reason behind an action or situation.
Pourquoi étudiez-vous le français ?

Comment
Comment means “how” and can be used to ask about the means or manner in which something is done.
Comment allez-vous ?

Combien
Combien translates to “how much” or “how many” when referring to quantity or cost.
Combien coûte cet objet ?

Lequel, Laquelle, Lesquels, Lesquelles
These words mean “which” or “which one(s)” and are used to distinguish between two or more items. They agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to.
Lequel de ces livres veux-tu emprunter ?
Lesquelles de ces robes préfères-tu ?

Each of these question words is a fundamental building block for forming questions in French. As you practice with them, you’ll start to feel more comfortable in various conversational scenarios. Always remember to pay attention to the context in which these question words are used, as they can slightly change in meaning or form depending on the structure of the sentence. Bonne chance avec votre apprentissage du français!

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