French Language Notes

La Grammaire/Interrogation

L’interrogation totale.

There are three ways of asking questions here:

  1. The colloquial language prioritizes the raising of intonation.

Example: Tue s loin d’ici? Are you far from here?

2. The informal language starts with C’est-ce que….?

Example : Est- ce que tu es loin d’ici? Are you far from here?

3. The standard language is based on the inversion, that is, to start the sentence with verb followed by the sujet or start it with the subject followed by the verb which is also followed by a subject pronoun.

Example 1 : As-tu des freres et soeurs? Do you have brothers and sisters?

Example 2 : Shade Adu est-elle nigeriane? Is Shade Adu a Nigerian?

NOTE: note that in the example (2) a subject pronoun is inserted according to the gender of the subject to show the inversion which occurs between the verb (est) and the inserted pronoun (elle).

It is also good to know that when the verb ends with a vowel, a “t” is introduced between the verb and the inserted subject pronoun.

Example: Omo ira-t-elle a la plage ce semedi?

  • L’interrogation partielle.

As stated earlier on the partial question asking deals with one of the aspects of the sentence. In this instance, the intonation falls and the asking sentence starts with any of the “wh” words. The three levels of language are also made use of:

  1. The colloquial language : ces bonbons coutent combine? How much are these sweets?
  2. The informal language: pourquoi est-ce qu’il vient?
  3. The standard language: quend viendra le president?
  • Les adverbs interrogatifs (interrogative adverbs).

Interrogative adverbs are words used to ask for information either totally or partially. These are some of them:

Adverbe interrogative                Interrogative adverb

  1. Pourquoi                                                         Why
  2. Comment                                                       How
  3. Ou / d’ou                                                        where/from where
  4. Combine                                                         how many/how much
  5. Quand                                                when

It is recommended to put the adverb at the beginning of the asking statement in French.

Pronouns interrogatifs                                  interrogative pronouns

  1. Qui                                                                  who/whom(used for people)
  2. Que/qui                                                           what
  3. Quoi                                                                what

Interrogative pronouns are placed at the beginning of the asking sentence “qui” mostly plays the role of the subject while it also plays the role of the direct object of a verb when it means “ whom” “qui” and “quoi” can be joined to prepositions such as and de from.

Masculine      Singular Quel, le quel    Plural               quels, les quels    Meaning which or what Which one?  
  Feminine  quelle, la quelle  quelles, les quelles  which/what? which one?                      

This interrogative pronouns agree in gender and number with yhe noun they refer to. They can also be combined with (a) (to) and (de) (from).

Exercise           Devoire:

Complete the following sentences using the appropriate interrogatives adverbs.

  1. ………….            cava
  2. ……………          as – tu echoue aux examen de WAEC?
  3. ……………          commence le match de football ?
  4. …………..           des dents a un adulte?
  5. …………..           venez-vous?
  6. ………….            se trouve calabar au Nigeria?
  7. ………….            iras – tu au travail ce matin?
  8. ………..  parle-t-elle le francais?
  9. ………… Se porte le malade?
  10. ………… d’etats y a – t il au Nigeria?

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