Asking yes/no questions with intonation, est-ce que, n'est-ce pas

The three simplest ways in French to turn a statement into a question are:

1. Use intonation

Just as in English, you can state something with a querying tone (or in written form add a question mark).

Tu arrives bientôt ?
You're arriving soon?

2. Prefix Est-ce que...

Is it that... added to the beginning of a statement is a common way to start a question:

Est-ce que tu as faim ?
Are you hungry?

Est-ce que tu parles anglais ?
Do you speak English?

3. Append ...n'est-ce pas?

Pronounced "ness pah", this is like adding is it not?  to the end.  

Tu es Jane, n'est-ce pas ?
You are Jane, aren't you?

Tu parles anglais, n'est-ce pas ?
You speak English, don't you?

Unlike English, French doesn't have different forms like don't you, haven't you etc. so it's always isn't it?

We might say Do you have any change?  but in French you cannot say Fais-tu avoir de la monnaie?

See also the inverted way to ask questions: Forming inverted questions in Le Présent (except il, elle, on forms)Forming inverted questions in Le Présent with il, elle, on

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Est-ce que tu as faim ?
Are you hungry?


Est-ce que tu as un chien ?
Do you have a dog?


Tu arrives bientôt ?
You're arriving soon?


Tu parles anglais, n'est-ce pas ?
You speak English, don't you?


Tu es Jane, n'est-ce pas ?
You are Jane, aren't you?


Est-ce que tu parles anglais ?
Do you speak English?


Q&A

Andrea

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2019

2 replies

Qu'est-ce qui....

Recently I came across " Qu'est-ce qui ce passe ?" and was informed it was a standard expression in French. I would like to know more about this expression (and any other related ones). A search of Kwiziq failed to come up with it. Merci d'avance,  Andrea

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

5 May 2019

5/05/19

Hi Andrea,

The expression is -

‘Qu’est-ce qui se passe ?’  = ‘What’s happening?‘

Take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson which looks at the verb passer and its derivatives including, se passer /to happen -

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/passer-vs-se-passer-vs-se-passer-de-the-different-meanings-of-passer

Hope this helps!

Andrea

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2019

5/05/19

Merci pour votre réponse rapide 

Andrea

Melisa

Kwiziq community member

26 January 2019

1 reply

A querying tone?

The lesson states, "Just as in English, you can state something with a querying tone..." but none of the above examples sound like questions to me. They all sound like flat statements. The voice does not rise at the ends of these questions like it would in English. Is a "querying tone" different in French? 

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

26 March 2019

26/03/19

Merci beaucoup Melisa !

Indeed, these voices were not really inquisitive :(

Thanks to you, it's now been updated!

Bonne journée !

Åb

Kwiziq community member

22 January 2019

0 replies

Intonation

In this lesson all questions seem to end at a low point, while in the si-lesson, all questions end at a high point. Isn't the latter intonation pattern the correct form for questions in French?

steven

Kwiziq community member

6 April 2018

1 reply

Using "non" to replace "n'est-ce pas"

What about adding "non" at the end of a question when seeking confirmation? 

Such as "Tu parles anglais, non?" as a shorthand for "Tu parles anglais, n'est-ce pas?"

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

12 April 2018

12/04/18

Hi Steven,

Yes indeed you can use 'non' at the end of the sentence instead of 'n'est-ce-pas'  to ask a question but it is colloquial.

Hope this helps?

Barbara

Kwiziq community member

27 February 2017

3 replies

tu as une voiture, n'est-ce pas?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 March 2017

10/03/17

Bonjour Barbara ! This sentence means "You have a car, right?". Did you have any question here? I'd be happy to help :) À bientôt !

Uber

Kwiziq community member

25 March 2019

25/03/19

I was going to ask the same question, but then found it in answered here already. It would be useful to include this example within the main lesson. Thanks!

Uber

Kwiziq community member

25 March 2019

25/03/19

Sorry please disregard this comment! It should be following a different question as seen below.

Stéphane

Kwiziq community member

5 July 2016

1 reply

Re: Use intonation

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

6 July 2016

6/07/16

Bonjour Stéphane ! What is your question ?

Marc

Kwiziq community member

1 July 2016

1 reply

Intonation, English example?

For case 1, intonation: if "just as in English", shouldn't the English example be "You are arriving soon?" ? "Are you arriving soon?" is more like an inversion and would not make make a grammatical declarative sentence as "Are you arriving soon." The standard declarative would be "You are arriving soon.", which can then use intonation (or a question mark) to become a question.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 July 2016

1/07/16

Bonjour Marc! Thank you very much for this useful remark: you are of course correct here, and thanks to you, the lesson has been updated! Merci et à bientôt!

Catherine

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2016

2 replies

re: Do you have any change?

Hi there, so if you wanted to ask the question above and you cannot say "Fais-tu avoir de la monnaie?", what do you say? Do you say "Tu as de la monnaie, n'est-ce pas? Thanks, Catherine

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 June 2016

13/06/16

Bonjour Catherine !

The question "Tu as de la monnaie, n'est-ce pas ?" asks more for a confirmation that you have change: "You have change, right?".

To ask if someone has change, you can use:
Est-ce que tu as de la monnaie ?
Tu as de la monnaie ?
  (the intonation can suffice in French)
As-tu de la monnaie ?  (a bit more formal, due to the inversion)

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Uber

Kwiziq community member

25 March 2019

25/03/19

I was going to ask the same question, but then found it in answered here already. It would be useful to include this example within the main lesson. Thanks!

Catherine

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2016

1 reply

Do you have any change?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 June 2016

13/06/16

Bonjour Catherine !

The question "Tu as de la monnaie, n'est-ce pas ?" asks more for a confirmation that you have change: "You have change, right?".

To ask if someone has change, you can use:
Est-ce que tu as de la monnaie ?
Tu as de la monnaie ?
   (the intonation can suffice in French)
As-tu de la monnaie ?  (a bit more formal, due to the inversion)

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

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