Est-ce que

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est-ce que

Est-ce que is a common phrase used to indicate a question in French. It literally translates to “Is it that…?” – in other words, it can stand in for “Is/Are…?”, “Do/Does…?”, or “Have/Has…?”

There are several ways to ask a question in French. Est-ce que is a good phrase to know because it can be used in both formal and informal situations.

Although it may look like a complicated jumble of words to those unfamiliar with it, Est-ce que is a common phrase – and one that’s very useful, since it instantly transforms a statement into a question. For instance: Il parle français (He speaks French) could become a question like so: Est-ce qu’il parle français ? (Does he speak French?).

Note that, in line with French rules about vowels, the que in Est-ce que becomes qu’ when it’s followed by a vowel, as in the example above.

Est-ce que is generally used at the beginning of a sentence, but it can be used in the middle of one if it’s accompanied by another French question word like quand (when) or (where).


  • Indicates a question
  • Is/Are…?
  • Do/Does…?
  • Have/Has…?
  • Literally: Is it that…?


Example sentence

Est-ce que tu aimes le fromage ?

Do you like cheese?

Est-ce que tu l’as vu hier ?

Did you see him yesterday?

Est-ce que la piscine est ouverte ?

Is the swimming pool open?

Est-ce que vous vous êtes déjà rencontrés ?

Have you met before?

est-ce que tu as acheté ce tableau ?

Where did you buy this painting?

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