Posts Tagged ‘auxiliary’

You’ll hear yes-no questions asked frequently with -tu, so it’s a good idea to devote time to understanding how they work.

You don’t ever have to ask yes-no questions with -tu yourself. You can always use the est-ce que form that you’ve already learned and you’ll be covered for any situation where you need to ask a yes-no question. That said, it’s still important to understand how yes-no questions are formed using -tu because you’ll definitely hear this formulation when people speak.

To begin, take three examples of yes-no questions using est-ce que:

Est-ce que c’est possible? (oui/non)
Est-ce que tu m’aimes? (oui/non)
Est-ce que je peux savoir de quoi tu parles? (oui/non)

These questions could also be asked without est-ce que by making the voice rise at the end:

C’est possible? (oui/non)
Tu m’aimes? (oui/non)
Je peux savoir de quoi tu parles? (oui/non)

In Québec, you can also hear these same questions asked with -tu inserted after the conjugated verb.

C’est-tu possible? (oui/non)
Tu m’aimes-tu? (oui/non)
Je peux-tu savoir de quoi tu parles? (oui/non)

Asking yes-no questions with -tu is an informal usage. It does not occur in formal speech or writing. Its use is limited to informal spoken language situations.

This -tu can appear in any verb tense. For example, in the past tense (j’ai dit, j’ai fait, etc.), it gets placed after the auxiliary verb. The auxiliary verb in j’ai dit and j’ai fait is ai.

Did I say that?
Est-ce que j’ai dit ça?
J’ai dit ça?
J’ai-tu dit ça?

Did I do that?
Est-ce que j’ai fait ça?
J’ai fait ça?
J’ai-tu fait ça?

J’ai-tu vraiment dit ça, moi?
Did I really say that?

J’ai-tu vraiment fait ça, moi?
Did I honestly do that?

Remember, this -tu is used to ask yes-no questions. It’s never used with question words like quand, comment, pourquoi, etc. Those aren’t yes-no questions! You cannot ask: Quand j’ai-tu dit ça?

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