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Posts Tagged ‘est-ce que tu m’entends’

When a friend of mine was speaking on the phone, he asked if the person on the other end could hear him:

Allô? M’entends-tu? Allô?
Hello? Can you hear me? Hello?

Remember, this question sounds conversational in Québec despite using the inversion (m’entends-tu). You can review in #717 when the inversion sounds natural in spoken French and when it doesn’t.

We’ve already come across two other ways this same question was asked in the same context of telephone conversations, which were: est-ce que tu m’entends? and tu m’entends-tu?

So, all three of these questions that we’ve come across work during a conversation in Québec:

1. M’entends-tu?
2. Est-ce que tu m’entends?
3. Tu m’entends-tu?

… which the Québécois pronounce as:

M’entends-tsu?
Est-ce que tsu m’entends?
Tsu m’entends-tsu?

They’re pronounced that way because t before the French sound u is pronounced ts in Québec. It’s the “tsu” part of what’s called the “tsitsu” on OffQc.

The most informal sounding question of the three is tu m’entends-tu?, which uses the colloquial yes-no question marker -tu. I suggest you wait until you’ve heard it used in real conversations before using it yourself.

Homework!

Can you ask the 5 questions below in French using the 3 ways described above?

Remember, during informal conversations, the second person singular tu almost always becomes t’ when the next word begins with a vowel (e.g., tu es becomes t’es), so use this contraction when possible.

The answers follow the questions… no peeking!

1. Do you understand?
2. Do you want some?
3. Did you lock the door?
4. Does your back hurt?
5. Are you sure it works?

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Answers:

1. Comprends-tu? Est-ce que tu comprends? Tu comprends-tu?
2. En veux-tu? Est-ce que t’en veux? T’en veux-tu?
3. As-tu barré la porte? Est-ce que t’as barré la porte? T’as-tu barré la porte?
4. As-tu mal au dos? Est-ce que t’as mal au dos? T’as-tu mal au dos?
5. Es-tu sûr que ça marche? Est-ce que t’es sûr que ça marche? T’es-tu sûr que ça marche?

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This afternoon, I ordered a coffee — a strong one, un café corsé. As I ordered, I heard a woman talking on her mobile. The person she was speaking to couldn’t hear her.

Maybe you’ll remember this question from entry #682, asked by a girl in her 20s speaking on the phone:

Tu m’entends-tu?
Can you hear me?

This is also how the woman today asked if she could be heard. In fact, she asked the question a few times. One of the other ways she asked the questions was:

Est-ce que tu m’entends?
Can you hear me?

The first question (tu m’entends-tu?) uses the informal yes-no question marker tu to ask the question. You can read more about asking yes-no questions with tu in this guide.

The woman speaking on the phone used tu m’entends-tu? and est-ce que tu m’entends? interchangeably. Because she used the form tu m’entends-tu?, we know that she was speaking to someone she’s on familiar terms with.

A call centre representative is very unlikely to ask a customer on the phone who has trouble hearing: tu m’entends-tu? It’s too informal sounding. It’s okay to use tu m’entends-tu? with a friend, though.

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