Interrogatives – How to ask a (yes/no) question in French

When we speak to each others we ask questions all the time ! But how do we form a question in French ? In this lesson you’ll learn how to ask a yes/no question (for questions with interrogatives words click here) !

There are four ways of forming an interrogative sentence in French :

1- Questions with rising intonation

In this type of question, the voice rises at the end of the sentence to create a “vocal question mark”, the subject-verb order stays the same. This is the easiest way to make a question !

Examples :

Tu es français ?    Are you French ?

Vous êtes mariés ?    Are you married ?

Vous parlez anglais ?    Do you speak English ?


2- Questions with a change in word order (inversion)

In this type of question the subject-verb order changes.

Examples :

Es-tu français ?    Are you French ?

Êtes-vous mariés ? Are you married ?

Parlez-vous anglais ?    Do you speak English ?

Note that an hyphen always connects the subject pronoun to the verb.


This works only with a subject pronoun (je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles) so for instance you can’t say “Est John américain” (is John American ?) you have to say “John est-il américain” or just “Est-il américain ?”.

More examples :

Marie est-elle arrivée ?    Did Marie arrive ?      but you can’t say “Est Marie arrivée ?”

Vos amis sont-ils canadiens ?    Are your friends Canadian ?      but you can’t say “Sont vos amis canadiens ?”

Les filles sont-elles au travail ?    Are the girls at work ?      but you can’t say “Sont les filles au travail ?”


Also, in the inverted questions when a third person singular verb form ends in a vowel you have to add -t- between the verb and the pronoun so it sounds better :

A-t-il un chien ?    Does he has a dog ?

A-t-on des devoirs ? Do we have homework ? 

Regarde-t-elle la télé ?    Is she watching tv ?


3- Questions ending with n’est-ce pas 

(To hear the pronunciation of n’est-ce pas click here )

In this type of question, “n’est-ce pas ?” is added to the end of a sentence without changing the subject-verb order. In this type of question the speaker usually expects agreement or confirmation :

Tu es brésilien n’est-ce pas ?    You are Brazilian aren’t you ? 

C’est ta voiture n’est-ce pas ?    That’s your car isn’t it ? 

En été on aura des vacances n’est-ce pas ?    We’ll have vacation in the summer won’t we ? 

Julie est sympa n’est-ce pas ?    Julie is nice isn’t she ? 


4- Questions starting with est-ce que

(To hear the pronunciation of est-ce que click here)

In this type of question the statement is preceded by est-ce que, the subject-verb order remains unchanged :

Est-ce que tu es français ?    Are you French ?

Est-ce que tu parles chinois ?    Do you speak Chinese ? 

Est-ce que nous déjeunons ensemble demain ?    Do we have lunch together tomorrow ?

Est-ce que je suis en retard ?    Am I late ? 

Before a vowel est-ce que becomes est-ce qu’

Est-ce qu’il est là ?    Is he here ? 

Est-ce qu’elle est française ?    Is she French ? 

Est-ce qu’on a des devoirs aujourd’hui ?    Do we have homework today ? 


These four types of questions are interchangeable ! However the inverted question and n’est-ce pas usually sound more formal and are often used in written language !

Now you know the four ways for asking a yes/no question, learn more and find out about the interrogative words in French by clicking here !