32 Common French Questions Every Beginner Should Know

common-french-questions

Learning the most common French questions right from the start is essential.

As a French coach, I know you want to be able to ask for information or have conversations quickly.

This article will teach you the French questions you absolutely have to know and how to answer them, so you’re never caught off-guard again!

Let’s get started!

The basics

What’s your name?

Asking the question in French:

  • Comment vous appelez-vous ? – formal
  • Comment tu t’appelles ? – informal
  • Tu t’appelles comment ? – casual

Answering the question in French:

  • Je m’appelle … (My name is …) and state your first name.

How old are you?

Asking the question in French:

  • Quel âge avez-vous ? – formal
  • Quel âge as-tu ? – less formal
  • Tu as quel âge ? – informal, casual

Answering the question in French:

  • J’ai 30 ans. (I am 30 years old.)

Note: In French, we use the verb avoir (to have) to ask about age, where English uses the verb être (to be). J’ai 30 ans literally means “I have 30 years”.

How are you?

Asking the question in French:

  • Comment allez-vous ? – formal
  • Comment ça va ? – informal
  • Ça va ? – informal, casual

Answering the question in French:

  • Je vais bien, et vous ? (I’m well, and you?) – formal
  • Bien, merci. (Good, thank you.) – formal
  • Ça va. (I’m good.) – informal
  • Pas trop mal. (Not bad.) – informal
  • Ça ne va pas bien. (I’m not really good.)
  • Ça ne va pas du tout. (Everything is wrong.)

Getting personal

Where are you from?

Asking the question in French:

  • D’où venez-vous ? – formal
  • D’où viens-tu ? – less formal
  • Tu viens d’où ? – informal, casual

Answering the question in French:

  • Je viens de/du …  (I’m from …)

You can end this sentence with the name of a country or a city.

For example:

  • Je viens de Lyon. (I’m from Lyon.)
  • Je viens du Portugal. (I’m from Portugal.)
To ask this question, French people also use the verb être instead of venir.

Asking the question in French:
D’où êtes-vous ? – formal
D’où es-tu ? – less formal
Tu es d’où ? – informal, casual

Answering the question in French:
Je suis de/du …  (I’m from …)
You can end this sentence with the name of a country or a city.

Explanation: The questions with venir literally mean “Where do you come from?”, while the questions with être mean “Where are you from?”.

Where do you live?

Asking the question in French:

  • Où habitez-vous? – formal
  • Tu habites où? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • J’habite à … (I live in …) and state the name of the city you live in.
  • J’habite près de … (I live near …) and state the name of the closest well-known city next to yours.

For example:

  • J’habite à Paris. (I live in Paris.)
  • J’habite près de New York. (I live near New York.)

What do you study?

Asking the question in French:

  • Vous étudiez quoi ? – formal
  • Vous faites quoi comme études ? – formal
  • Tu étudies quoi ? – informal
  • Tu fais quoi comme études ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • J’étudie … (I study …) and state what you study as a noun.
  • Je fais de/du … (I study) and state what you study as a noun.
  • Je fais des études en … (I study …) and state your field of study.

For example:

  • J’étudie la psychologie. (I study psychology.)
  • Je fais du droit. (I study law.)
  • Je fais des études en médecine. (I study medicine.)

What do you do for a living?

Asking the question in French:

  • Quel est votre métier ? – formal
  • Quel est ton métier ? – informal
  • Vous faites quoi comme métier ? – formal, casual
  • Tu fais quoi comme métier ? – informal, casual

Answering the question in French:

  • Je suis … (I am a …) and state your job.

Note: Don’t add un or une (a) before the job in French, contrary to English.

Let’s take the “I’m a doctor” example:

  • Incorrect: Je suis un docteur.
  • Correct: Je suis docteur.

Do you play sports?

Asking the question in French:

  • Vous faites du sport ? – formal
  • Tu fais du sport ? – informal
  • Tu fais quoi comme sport ? – casual

Answering the question in French:

  • Je fais de/du … (I play …) and state the name of your sport.

For example:

  • Je fais du tennis. (I play tennis.)
  • Je fais du tir à l’arc. (I play archery.)

What is your favorite hobby?

Asking the question in French:

  • Quel est votre passe-temps préféré ? – formal
  • Quel est ton passe-temps préféré ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • J’aime … (I love …) and state what you like in the form of a noun or a verb.
  • J’adore … (I like …) and state what you like in the form of a noun or a verb.

For example:

  • J’aime jouer aux jeux vidéo. (I love playing video games.)
  • J’adore la lecture. (I like reading.)

More personal questions and answers

Questions in EnglishQuestions in FrenchAnswers in French
Do you have siblings?Vous avez des frères et sœurs ?
– formal

Tu as des frères et soeurs ?
– informal
J’ai une sœur. (I have a sister.)

J’ai 3 frères. (I have 3 brothers.)

J’ai une grande sœur et deux petits frères. (I have a big sister and two little brothers.)
What country are you from?De quel pays venez-vous ?
– formal

Tu viens de quel pays ?
– informal
Je suis américain(e). (I’m American.)

Je suis britannique. (I’m from the United Kingdom.)

Je viens du Brésil. (I’m from Brazil.)

Socializing

What are you going to do this weekend?

Asking the question in French:

  • Qu’allez-vous faire ce week-end ? – formal
  • Qu’est-ce que vous allez faire ce week-end ? – less formal
  • Qu’est-ce que tu vas faire ce week-end ? – informal
  • Tu vas faire quoi ce week-end ? – casual

Answering the question in French:

  • Je vais … (I’m going to …)

End this sentence with the activity you’re going to do this weekend. To do that, follow Je vais with an infinitive verb.

For example,

  • Je vais voir mes amis. (I’m going to see my friends.)
  • Je vais faire du sport. (I’m going to workout.)
  • Je vais faire du shopping. (I’m going to go shopping.)

Do you want to go out tonight?

Asking the question in French:

  • Vous voulez sortir ce soir ? – formal
  • Tu veux sortir ce soir ? – informal
  • On sort ce soir ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • Pourquoi pas. (Why not.)
  • Carrément ! (For sure!) – very informal
  • Je ne peux pas, désolé. (I can’t, sorry.)
  • Bien sûr. (Of course.)
  • Non, pas vraiment. (No, not really.)
  • Ça ne me dit rien. (I don’t feel like it.)
  • Une prochaine fois. (Another time.)

Where are you going?

Asking the question in French:

  • Où allez-vous ? – formal
  • Tu vas où ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • Je vais au centre commercial. (I’m going to the mall.)
  • Je vais à la salle de sport. (I’m going to the gym.)
  • Je vais voir mes amis. (I’m going to see my friends.)
  • Je vais courir. (I’m going to run.)

As you can see, when we ask “Where are you going?” in French, we can answer with:

  • Where we are physically going (i.e. a place)
  • What we are going to do (i.e an activity)

What happened?

Asking the question in French:

  • Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé ?

Make sure to use the past tense passé composé when answering the question.

For example:

  • Il a eu un accident de voiture. (He got into a car accident.)

To ask this question in the present tense, say Qu’est-ce qui se passe ? (What is happening?) and answer with the present tense Il y a un accident. (There’s an accident.)

More questions to socialize

Questions in EnglishQuestions in French
What do you think of …?Que pensez-vous de … ? – formal
Que penses-tu de … ? – informal
Do you like …?Aimez-vous … ? – formal
Aimes-tu … ? – informal
Est-ce que vous aimez … ? – formal
Est-ce que tu aimes … ? – informal
Do you know …?Vous connaissez … ? – formal
Tu connais … ? – informal

Asking for information

What’s the weather like?

Asking the question in French:

  • Quel temps fait-il ? – formal
  • Il fait quel temps ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • Il fait beau. (It’s sunny.)
  • Il fait chaud. (It’s hot.)
  • Il fait mauvais. (It’s bad.)
  • Il fait froid. (It’s cold.)

What time is it?

Asking the question in French:

  • Quelle heure est-il ? – formal
  • Il est quelle heure ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • Il est 10 heures et demie. (It’s 10:30)
  • Il est midi. (It’s noon.)
  • Il est 14 h. (It’s 2 p.m.)

To master telling time, check out my guide on how to tell the time in French.

What day is it?

Asking the question in French:

  • Quel jour sommes-nous ? – formal
  • On est quel jour ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • Nous sommes mercredi. (It’s Wednesday.) – formal
  • On est mercredi. (It’s Wednesday.) – informal

How much does it cost?

Asking the question in French:

  • Combien ça coûte ?
  • Ça coûte combien ? – informal
  • C’est combien ? – casual

Answering the question in French:

  • Ça coûte dix euros. (It’s ten euros.)
  • Ça coûte 3 €. (It’s 3 €.)

More questions when you need information

Questions in EnglishQuestions in French
Where is/are …?Où est/sont … ?
Do you have …?Avez-vous … ?
Where is it?C’est où ?
What is this?Qu’est-ce que c’est ?

Breaking the language barrier

Do you speak English?

Asking the question in French:

  • Parlez-vous anglais ? – formal
  • Tu parles anglais ? – informal

Answering the question in French:

  • Oui, je parle anglais. (Yes, I speak English.)
  • Un peu. (A little bit.)
You can replace anglais by any other language name.

For example:
Parlez-vous italien ? (Do you speak Italian?)
Oui, je parle italien. (Yes, I speak Italian.)

How do you spell that?

When you’re learning a new French word but are not sure how to spell it, you can ask:

  • Comment écrivez-vous ça ? – formal
  • Comment ça s’écrit ? – informal
  • Ça s’écrit comment ? – casual

The other person will then spell it out for you, either orally or by writing.

Could you please repeat that?

If you didn’t understand what the other person said, you can ask:

  • Pourriez-vous répéter, s’il vous plaît ? – formal
  • Tu peux répéter, s’il te plaît ? informal

The other person will then proceed to repeat what they just said. And if you still don’t get it because they are speaking too fast, try the next question.

Could you please speak more slowly?

To ask someone to slow down their speaking pace, just ask:

  • Pourriez-vous parler plus lentement, s’il vous plaît ? – formal
  • Tu pourrais parler plus lentement, s’il te plaît ? – informal

This will give you a chance to process what they are saying more efficiently.

More questions and answers to break the language barrier

Questions in EnglishQuestions in FrenchAnswers in French
How long have you been studying French?Vous étudiez le français depuis combien de temps ? – formal

Tu étudies le français depuis combien de temps ? – informal
J’étudie le français depuis 1 an.
(I’ve been studying French for a year.)
How do you say … ?Comment dites-vous … ?
– informal

Comment on dit … ?
– informal
On dit …
Ça se dit …

The bottom line

Now, you know exactly what are the most common French questions and how to answer them!

Make sure to memorize them because you’ll have plenty of occasions to use them in real-life situations.

And if you want to learn how to create your own French questions, check out how to ask questions in French.

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