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Les Questions Questions

Typically, yes/no questions are formed by ending the sentence with rising intonation.

  Tu parles français ? Do you speak French?
 
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Oui
-
Non
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un peu
-
bien sûr
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Oui, je le parle couramment.
-
plus ou mois
-
pas du tout
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Yes
-
No
-
a little
  of course
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Yes, I speak it fluently.
-
more or less
-
not at all
  Tu vois la baleine ? Do you see the whale?
  Tu es sûr ? You are sure?
  Ça va ?

How's it going? (It goes?)

 
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Oui
-
Ça va.
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Yes
-
It goes.

As we've already seen with tu and vous, French has different levels of formality. These different levels of formality are also expressed when asking questions. Inverting the subject and verb is formal.

  Parlez-vous français ? Do you speak French?
  Êtes-vous prête ?
Are you ready (f.)?

When a verb ends in a vowel and is followed by il, elle, or on, a 't' is inserted between the verb and the noun.

  Mange-t-il de la viande ? Does he eat meat?

Usually when je is the subject, questions are not formed through inversion except with a few short monosyllabic verbs (aller, avoir, devoir, dire, être and pouvoir)

  Puis-je parler à Hélène, s'il vous plaît ? May I speak with Helene please?
  Suis-je fou ? Am I crazy?

Instead, when je is the subject, questions are typically formed by 'fronting' with est-ce que.

  Est-ce que je suis fou ? Am I crazy ?
  Maman, est-ce que je peux aller jouer avec Catherine ?
Mama, can I go play with Catherine?
  Est-ce que je peux vous tutoyer ?
Can I address you with tu (as opposed to vous)?

Fronting a question with est-ce que, is also very common when the subject isn't je.

  Est-ce que Marie va nous accompagner ? Is Marie going to accompany us?
  Est-ce que Franck est de Marseilles ? Is Frank from Marseilles?

If a question is asked with a negated sentence, you should contradict the assumption with si.

  Tu ne manges pas ?
-
Si
-
Non
You aren't going to eat?
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Yes (I am going to eat )
-
No

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