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Posts Tagged ‘en veux-tu?’

In the new downloadable OffQc book with 1000 examples of use, there are two example sentences that look alike but mean two very different things:

  • En veux-tu?
  • M’en veux-tu?

En veux-tu? means
Do you want some (of it, them)?
Do you want any (of it, them)?

M’en veux-tu? means
Are you upset with me?
Are you mad at me?

In en veux-tu?, the en means some (of it, them), any (of it, them).

En / veux-tu?
Some (of it, them) / want-you?
Any (of it, them) / want-you?

In m’en veux-tu?, though, we’ve got an expression: en vouloir à quelqu’un. When you “en veux at somebody,” you’re mad at or upset with that person.

Tu m’en veux.
You’re upset with me.

M’en veux-tu?
Are you upset with me?

Note that m’en veux-tu? doesn’t mean do you want some of me!

Maybe you’ll notice that the questions en veux-tu? and m’en veux-tu? both use the inversion.

We’ve seen before how using the inversion after question words like comment, pourquoi, quand, etc., sounds more formal. For example, the question why did you say that? is likely to be said spontaneously as pourquoi t’as dit ça?, with no inversion (i.e., t’as rather than as-tu).

But in yes-no questions using the second-person singular tu, the inversion is in fact heard conversationally in Québécois usage.

Dors-tu? Comprends-tu? En veux-tu? M’en veux-tu?

You can read a full description of the new OffQc guide here, or you can buy and download it immediately here.

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