Languages › French 'Est-Ce Que': How to Ask Questions in French Four Ways to Ask Questions in French Share Flipboard Email Print Gary Yeowell / Getty Images French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers by ThoughtCo Updated January 27, 2019 Whether you're working, traveling, learning, or just trying to learn more about someone, questions are an important part of the conversation. There are, essentially, four ways to ask questions in French. Remember that when you ask a question in French, the verb is not demander but poser; the expression is "poser une question." There are two main types of questions: Polar questions or closed questions (questions fermées) that result in a simple yes or no answer."WH-" questions (who, what, where, when, and why, along with how many and how much), constituent questions or open questions (questions ouvertes) ask for information with question (interrogative) words. Ways to Structure Questions: 1. 'Est-Ce Que' Est-ce que means literally "is it that," and can be placed at the beginning of any affirmative sentence to turn it into a question. Est-ce que vous dansez? Do you dance?Est-ce que tu veux voir un film? Do you want to see a movie?Est-ce qu'il est arrivé?: Has he arrived? Place any interrogative word in front of est-ce .que Qu'est-ce que c'est? What is it / that? What's going on?Quand est-ce que tu veux partir? When do you want to leave?Pourquoi est-ce qu'il a menti? Why did he lie?Quel livre est-ce que vous cherchez? Which book are you looking for? 2. Inversion Inversion is a more formal way to ask questions. Just invert the conjugated verb and subject pronoun and join them with a hyphen. Again, place any interrogative words at the beginning of the question. Quand veux-tu partir? When do you want to leave?Quel livre cherchez-vous? Which book are you looking for? Use inversion to ask negative questions. Ne dansez-vous pas? Don't you dance?N'est-il pas encore arrivé? Hasn't he arrived yet? With the third person singular (il, elle, or on) and a verb that ends in a vowel, add t- between the verb and the subject pronoun for euphony, or a more harmonious sound. Aime-t-il les films ? > Does he like movies?Écoute-t-elle la radio ? > Does she listen to the radio?A-t-on décidé ? > Have we decided?Veux-tu voir un film? Do you want to see a movie?Est-il arrivé? Has he arrived?Pourquoi a-t-il menti? Why did he lie? 3. A Statement as a Question A very simple but informal way to ask yes/no questions is to raise the pitch of your voice while pronouncing any sentence. This is a popular option of the many informal ways to ask questions in French. Vous dansez? You dance?Tu veux voir un film? You want to see a movie?Il est arrivé? He arrived? You can also use this structure to ask negative questions: Tu ne danses pas? You don't dance? Il n'est pas encore arrivé? He hasn't arrived yet? 4. 'N'est-ce pas?' If you're pretty sure the answer to your question is yes, you can just make an affirmative statement and then add the tag n'est-ce pas ? to the end. Tu danses, n'est-ce pas? You dance, right? Tu veux voir un film, n'est-ce pas? You want to see a movie, right? Il est arrivé, n'est-ce pas? He arrived, right? 'Si' as a Response This is a special French word that's used only when responding in the affirmative to a negative question. Affirmative questions Negative questions Vas-tu au ciné ? > Oui Are you going to the movies? >Yes Ne vas-tu pas au ciné ? > Si !Aren't you going to the movies? > Yes (I am)! Est-ce que tu veux venir ? > Oui Do you want to come? > Yes Tu ne veux pas venir ? > Si !You don't want to come? > Yes (I do)! Continue Reading Here's How to Properly Say (or Ask) "What?" in French How to Use the French Interrogative Pronouns 'Qui' and 'Que' How to Use "Est-ce Que" to Ask Questions in French 'Quel' as a French Interrogative Adjective: Which? What? How Do You Use the French Verb "Vivre" (to Live)? How Do You Use the French Expression "N'est-ce Pas"? How Do You Form Negative Adverbs in French? French Articles Can Be Confusing — Here's How to Make Sense of Them Comment? ('What?') French Interrogative Adverbs How to Use "Jamais" in French The French Expression "Il y a" Analyzed and Explained How to Properly Use Que in French Learn Simple Conjugations for the French Verb Tenir Conjugating the Regular French Verb 'Aimer' ('to Like, Love') How Do You Conjugate the French Irregular Verb 'Lire' (to Read)? When Should You Use The French Subjunctive?