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Posts Tagged ‘yes-no question’

Spotted this postcard in a Montréal bookshop (we saw others here and here from Tiguidou), where parked cars are depicted as being buried under snow:

image

Tu trouves-tu ton char?
Can you find your car?

tu trouves, you find
tu trouves-tu?, you find?
ton char, your car

In tu trouves-tu?, only the first tu means you. The second tu turns tu trouves into a yes-no question.

The second tu has the same function as est-ce que but is placed after the verb instead here.

tu trouves-tu?
= est-ce que tu trouves?

Both this yes-no tu and the word char in the sense of car are colloquial usages.

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A mother in Montréal spoke with her young boy. The boy made a comment in jest; laughing, his mother retorted, “You sure of that?”

Can you say how she might’ve asked this in French?

Here’s what she asked:

T’es sûr de t’ça, toi?
You sure of that?

T’es is a spoken form of tu es — it sounds like té.

What about de t’ça?

De t’ça simply means de ça; it’s a spoken form that you’ll hear frequently in conversations. How is it pronounced? Say de with a t sound on the end of it, then say ça.

If you’re wondering now if you need to say de t’ça instead of de ça, you don’t. De ça is always fine, even when speaking informally with francophone friends. But you can also try it out, if you really want to.

If you know how the yes-no tu works in spoken language, maybe your guess as to how the mother said this was one of these:

T’es-tu sûr de ça, toi?
T’es-tu sûr de t’ça, toi?

Although possible, that’s not how she said it.

Remember, in t’es-tu, the only part that means you is t’. The tu here serves only to transform t’es into a yes-no question. (This tu serves the same purpose as est-ce que.)

If your answer to the question used tu es instead of t’es, know that you’re not very likely to hear that in spoken language. Tu es virtually always contracts to t’es, unless the speaker wishes to give particular emphasis to his words.

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During a conversation, someone asked a French equivalent of do you want to try? Does how you’d have asked this question in French resemble the following?

Est-ce que ça te tente d’essayer?
Do you want to try?

That’s how the question was asked, using the verb tenter. Although to want can be said in French using the verb vouloir (e.g., tu veux, you want), it’s frequently said using tenter instead (e.g., ça te tente, you want).

Tenter is cognate with the English verb to tempt. So, if it helps you to analyse this verb, the expression ça te tente is like saying in English it tempts you. Does it tempt you to try? Just understand that the verb tenter translates better here as to want.

Ça me tente. I want to.
Ça me tente pas. I don’t want to.

Ça te tente and ça me tente can contract to ça t’tente and ça m’tente in spoken language, which sound like çat tente and çam tente. Ça m’tente pas!

The speaker asked the question with est-ce que, but don’t forget that yes-no questions are often asked using tu in spoken language:

Ça t’tente-tu d’essayer?

Don’t confuse the tu in that last question with the second-person singular meaning you. Instead, this tu turns a statement (ça t’tente) into a yes-no question (ça t’tente-tu?).

You can hear the question ça t’tente? (but asked without the yes-no tu) here, in the third video.

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At a store, I heard one employee ask another the equivalent of this in French:

Does he have his card?

Can you guess how the employee might’ve said it? She said it in an informal way, without using est-ce que.

Here’s what the employee said:

Y’a-tu sa carte?

In this question, y’a-tu means does he have?, has he got?

Here’s why:

Il a sa carte means he has his card. But, in colloquial language, it’s more likely to be pronounced y’a sa carte. (This is because the final L sound of il is very frequently not pronounced: i’ a sa carte.) Then, by putting tu after the verb, we turn y’a sa carte into an informally asked yes-no question: y’a-tu sa carte? (Remember, this tu doesn’t mean you.)

In other questions, y’a-tu can mean is there?, are there?

Y’a-tu un problème?
Is there a problem?

This time, though, y’a is an informal pronunciation of il y a, not il a. This informal pronunciation occurs because the il of il y a is losing its L sound again: i’ y a. Then, by putting tu after the verb again, we create an informally asked yes-no question: y’a-tu?, is there?, are there?

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In a television show called Mensonges, a character who plays an investigator said to another character:

Pis? Ça avance-tu mon enquête?

In this question, we’ve got an example of tu being used to ask a yes-no question.

pis?
so? well? and?

ça avance
it’s advancing, moving forward

ça avance-tu?
is it advancing?, moving forward?

mon enquête
my investigation

Remember, the tu in this question can be understood as meaning yes or no? (and not you). It’s used to ask yes-no questions in an informal way in spoken French. Ça avance-[oui ou non], mon enquête?

Pis is a contraction of puis. It sounds as if it were written pi.

Pis? Ça avance-tu mon enquête?
So? Is my investigation moving forward?
So? Is my investigation going well?

This yes-no tu is placed after the conjugated verb.

Tu veux-tu?
Do you want to?

Ça se peut-tu?
Is that possible?

In tenses like the past tense, where there’s an auxiliary and a past participle, tu is placed after the auxiliary.

J’ai-tu dit ça?
Did I say that?

Tu is used to ask yes-no questions. You can’t use it with quand, pourquoi, qui, etc. For example, you can’t ask pourquoi tu fais-tu ça? because that’s not a yes-no question. You’d ask pourquoi tu fais ça? instead.

Can you turn these into yes-no questions with tu?

1. T’aimes ça.
2. On a besoin de ça.
3. T’as peur.

Answers
1. T’aimes-tu ça?
2. On a-tu besoin de ça?
3. T’as-tu peur?

There are many more examples of yes-no questions using tu in the downloadable OffQc books.

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