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How do you use the expression 'est-ce que' to ask a question in French?

'Est-ce que' is a very versatile group of words, centered around the word 'est', from the verbe 'etre', meaning 'to be'.

'Est-ce que' can be translated into various meanings, depending on the context. 

To ask where a location is, for instance, you may want to start the sentence with 'Où est-ce que...?' meaning 'Where is...?'. For example, 'Excusez-moi, où est-ce que se trouve l'eglise?', translating into 'Excuse me, where is the church?'. 

You may also use 'est-ce que' when asking about timing, with the expression 'à quelle heure' ('at what time') or 'quand' ('when'): 'Quand est-ce que cette ceremonie commence?' = 'When does this ceremony start?'. 

There are many other ways of using this group of words, another one being the word 'Comment' ('Comment est-ce que..?'), meaning 'How' ('How can..?') and it is very important to grasp this in order to ask questions in French. 

Olga M. IB French tutor

10 months ago

Answered by Olga, an IB French tutor with MyTutor


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