French Interrogative Adverbs

Adverbes interrogatifs

question marks

Interrogative adverbs are used to ask for new information or facts. The most common French interrogative adverbs are:

  1. combien (de) - how many/much
  2. comment - how, what
  3. - where
  4. pourquoi - why
  5. quand - when

All of these interrogative adverbs can be used to ask questions with either est-ce que or inversion.

   Quand manges-tu ? Quand est-ce que tu manges ?
   When do you eat?

   Combien de livres veut-il ? Combien de livres est-ce qu'il veut ?

   How many books does he want?

   Où habite-t-elle ? Où est-ce qu'elle habite ?
   Where does she live?

They can be used in indirect questions:

   Dis-moi quand tu manges.
   Tell me when you eat.

   Je ne sais pas combien de livres il veut.
   I don't know how many books he wants.

   J'ai oublié où elle habite.
   I've forgotten where she lives.

Comment, , and quand can also be used with n'importe.

   Tu peux manger n'importe quand.
   You can eat whenever / any time.

In literature or other formal French, you might see an additional interrogative adverb: que, meaning "why":

   Qu'avais-tu besoin de lui en parler ?
   Why did you have to go and talk to him about it?

   Olivier et Roland, que n'êtes-vous ici ? (Victor Hugo)
   Olivier and Roland, why aren't you here?