est-ce que

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est-ce que

  1. Used to introduce a yes-or-no question.
    Est-ce que tu veux une chambre ?
    Do you want a bedroom ?
    Est-ce qu’elle est arrivée ?
    Has she arrived?
  2. Used after a preposed interrogative to introduce the remainder of the question.
    Quand est-ce que les élèves retournent à l’école ?
    When do the students return to school?
    Combien de musées est-ce qu’il y a en France ?
    How many museums are there in France?

Usage notes[edit]

  • Before a vowel, est-ce que becomes est-ce qu’.
  • In older forms of French, and in more formal registers of present-day French, the role of est-ce que is often fulfilled by subject-verb inversion:
    Quand viendrez-vous ?
    When will you come?
    In fact, est-ce que itself results from subject-verb inversion; it comes from c’est que.
  • In colloquial French, yes-or-no questions are often indicated solely by punctuation (in writing) or intonation (in speech), with no special lexical or syntactic marker:
    Tu es prête ?
    You ready?
    Similarly, non–yes-or-no questions often use the same structure as statements, with question words not being preposed:
    Il a dit quoi ?
    He said what?
  • In informal or colloquial French, as in informal or colloquial English, question syntax is often used in indirect questions:
    Il veut savoir où est-ce qu’ils habitent.
    He wants to know where they live.

See also[edit]