How to Say “Que” in French: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to say “que” in French! Whether you need to express “que” in a formal or informal context, we have got you covered. In this guide, we will explore various ways to translate “que” into French, provide examples, and offer tips to help you grasp its different uses. So, let’s get started!

Formal Translations of “Que” in French

In formal French, several translations are used to represent “que” depending on its specific meaning within a sentence. Here are the most common formal translations:

1. “That” or “Which”

“Que” can often be translated as “that” or “which” when introducing a subordinate clause. Take a look at the following examples:

  • Je pense que tu es intelligent. (I think that you are smart.)
  • Le livre que je lis est passionnant. (The book that I am reading is fascinating.)

2. “What”

“Que” is also translated as “what” when used as an interrogative pronoun in formal French. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Que veut-il faire ? (What does he want to do?)
  • Je me demande ce que tu dis. (I wonder what you are saying.)

3. “Only” or “Just”

In formal French, “que” can also be translated as “only” or “just” to emphasize restriction or limitation. Consider these examples:

  • Je veux que des fleurs. (I want only flowers.)
  • Il ne reste que deux jours. (There are only two days left.)

Informal Translations of “Que” in French

When it comes to informal French, a slightly different set of translations is used for “que”. Here are the most common informal translations:

1. “That” or “What”

In informal conversations, “que” is often translated as “that” or “what” similar to its formal usages. Check out these examples:

  • C’est pas que je t’aime pas, c’est juste que je suis occupé. (It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that I’m busy.)
  • Tu sais quoi? Je viens de gagner à la loterie! (You know what? I just won the lottery!)

2. Informal Contraction: “Qu’est-ce que”

In informal French, “que” is often combined with “est-ce” to form the contraction “qu’est-ce que” when used to form interrogative sentences. Take a look at these examples:

  • Qu’est-ce que tu fais ? (What are you doing?)
  • Qu’est-ce que c’est bon ! (How good is that!)

Common Phrases and Expressions Using “Que” in French

Apart from the translations discussed above, “que” is an integral part of many French phrases and expressions. Here are a few common ones you should be familiar with:

1. “Comment ça va ?” (How are you?)

The phrase comment ça va is a typical informal way of asking someone “How are you?” in French. It is used in everyday conversation and is similar to the English greeting.

2. “Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça ?” (What is that?)

This phrase is used in a more formal context to express wonder or surprise. Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça is equivalent to the English expression “What is that?”

Tips for Using “Que” Correctly in French

Mastering the usage of “que” in French can be challenging. However, by following these tips, you can enhance your understanding and fluency:

1. Study Sentence Structure

French sentence structure differs from English, so understanding the word order and how “que” fits in within a sentence is crucial. Practice constructing and deconstructing sentences to familiarize yourself with the patterns.

2. Expand Your Vocabulary

The more words you know, the easier it becomes to discern the correct translation of “que” in different contexts. Build your vocabulary by regularly learning new words and phrases.

3. Immersion and Practice

Immerse yourself in the French language as much as possible. Watch French movies, listen to French songs, and engage in conversations with native speakers. Practice will help you become more comfortable with the different uses of “que.”

4. Context is Key

Pay close attention to the context in which “que” is used. Its translation may vary greatly depending on the specific sentence structure and overall meaning of the conversation.


Congratulations! You have completed our comprehensive guide on how to say “que” in French. Throughout this guide, we explored formal and informal translations of “que” and provided numerous examples and tips. Remember to study sentence structure, expand your vocabulary, practice, and pay attention to context. With time and dedication, you will become more proficient in using “que” correctly. Bonne chance! (Good luck!)

Written by Brianna Ida

Bonjour! I'm Brianna, your go-to guide for all things French! A language enthusiast, I love breaking down the complexities of French and making it simple for everyone. My passion for French culture has led me to explore gastronomy, the art of dog parenting "à la Française", and the varying expressions of emotions across different regions. Outside of being your humble linguistic servant, I enjoy bicycle touring, a good cup of café au lait, and rummaging through antiques shops. Here, I hope to share my love for the language in a way that inspires and empowers you!

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