A basic way to understand also the six ways in which you deserve to say “what” in French.

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The word “what” is deceptively complicated once you translate it. It looks like a basic one-to-one word translation, but the fact is that “what” is offered in many expressions that are analyzed making use of many different words in other languages.

It’s tempting to simply say “what” in French is quoi — and also it is, sometimes — however the truth is you need to understand also a couple of various other expressions in English.

(French speakers have actually the same problem coming the other method, by the means. When they want to analyze a word choose “quoi”, all of a sudden they realise tbelow are so many kind of means in which it can be used!)

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Que

Using que has a straightforward dominance of thumb: Use que at the beginning of a sentence.

Tbelow is just one prevalent type of sentence that supplies que standalone.

Note that que gets abbreviated with liaison if adhered to by a vowel.

See the following examples of when to use que to say “what” in French.

EnglishFrench
What perform you think (of it)?Qu‘en pensez-vous?
What execute you see?Que voyez-vous?
What execute you want to eat?Que veux-tu manger?
Instances of “what” in French: Qu’est-ce que and qu’est-ce qui

Quoi

Words quoi is very useful in French.

Here’s when you usage it to say “what”:

Use quoi after a preplace, like à or deUse quoi after a verb or at the end of a sentence (which is much less formal/more colloquial grammar)Use quoi as an exclamation standalone.

See the adhering to examples of when to usage quoi to say “what” in French.

EnglishFrench
What are you thinking about?À quoi pensez-vous?
What’s it about?De quoi s’agit-il?
I wonder what it’s made with.Je me demande avec quoi il est fait.

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What does that expect then?Ça veux dire quoi alors?
He wants… what??Il veut… quoi??
What’s the time? (casual)C’est quoi l’heure?
What’s that thingamajig?C’est quoi ce truc-là?
What???Quoi???
Instances of “what” in French: Qu’est-ce que and qu’est-ce qui

As you have the right to check out, quoi is pretty useful! But remember, use que at the beginning.