You've already seen how to turn statements using the subject pronouns je, tu, nous, vous, ils, elles into inverted questions (See Inverted questions in the present tense (Le Présent) in French - regular forms (except il/elle/on forms)), as well as the most complex cases of il, elle, on (See Inverted questions in the present tense (Le Présent) in French - il/elle/on forms). Things are a bit different when the subject of the verb is a noun.
How to form inverted questions with nouns in French
It's a bit trickier when the subject of the verb is a noun (name of a person, animal, thing,...): indeed, such statements cannot be simply inverted to form a question.
Sophie vient. -> Vient Sophie ? -> Sophie vient-elle ?
Sophie is coming. -> Is Sophie coming?
Note that in such cases, we need to add an extra subject pronoun (il, elle, nous, vous, ils, elles) to "repeat" the subject noun.
The added pronoun must agree with the noun it refers to.
While the noun remains at the beginning of the statement, the extra pronoun follows the normal rule of inversion of subject pronouns, as stated in previous lessons:
Votre hôtel est-il au centre-ville ?Is your hotel in the town centre?
Ton frère a-t-il une copine ?Does your brother have a girlfriend?
La porte d'entrée était-elle encore fermée à clé ?Was the front door still locked?
Quand Monique arrive-t-elle ?When is Monique arriving?
À quelle heure Martin et toi allez-vous manger ?At what time are Martin and you going to eat?
À qui ces chaussures étaient-elles ?Whose shoes were they ?
Les pandas mangent-ils du bambou ?Do pandas eat bamboo?
Remember that when the verb ends with a vowel before il or elle, then you need to add -t- inbetween them for pronunciation reasons.
Want to make sure your French sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »