How to Say “What Do You Want to Do?” in French

Bonjour! If you are learning French, it’s essential to know how to ask someone what they want to do. Whether you are in a formal or informal situation, being able to express yourself and understand others is crucial. In this guide, we will explore various ways to ask the question “What do you want to do?” in French, including both formal and informal expressions.

Formal Expressions:

When addressing someone in a formal setting or with a person you are not familiar with, it is essential to use polite language. Here are some formal phrases you can use to ask what someone wishes to do:

  1. Que désirez-vous faire? – This is a respectful way to ask, and it translates to “What do you desire to do?”
  2. Qu’aimeriez-vous faire? – This question means “What would you like to do?” and is also a polite way to inquire.

Tip: When talking to someone you should respect or using formal language, always use the formal pronoun “vous” and employ the respective verb conjugations.

Now, let’s move onto more informal expressions that you can use with friends, family, or in casual situations.

Informal Expressions:

When talking to friends or in a relaxed environment, you can use less formal expressions to ask what someone wants to do. Here are a few examples:

  1. Qu’est-ce que tu veux faire? – This is a common way to ask “What do you want to do?” among friends.
  2. Tu veux faire quoi? – This expression is very informal and translates to “You want to do what?”

Using these informal expressions will make you sound more natural and approachable in casual situations. Remember to use the informal pronoun “tu” with these phrases.


To help you better understand how to use these expressions, let’s explore some examples:


Imagine you are attending a business conference in Paris, and you wish to ask a fellow attendee what they want to do during the break. You can say, “Que désirez-vous faire pendant la pause?” (What do you desire to do during the break?)


Now, let’s imagine you are planning a day out with your friends in Bordeaux. You can ask them, “Qu’est-ce que vous voulez faire aujourd’hui?” (What do you want to do today?)

Adapting your language based on the situation is essential in French. Let’s now take a look at regional variations within France that could affect the way you ask this question.

Regional Variations:

French is spoken across several regions, each having its own unique vocabulary and accents. While the question “What do you want to do?” may not vary significantly, certain regional variations do exist. Here are a few examples:

  1. Québec: In Quebec, Canada, you might hear the question “Qu’est-ce que tu veux faire-là?” (What do you want to do there?) in a casual conversation.
  2. Cajun French: In the southern United States, the Cajun French-speaking communities may use “Qu’est-ce que tu veux fair’?” (What do you want to do?) as a variation.

Remember that these variations are not necessary to understand or communicate in French, but they add a colorful touch to the language.


Congratulations! You now know how to ask the question “What do you want to do?” in French, both formally and informally. You’ve learned expressions suitable for various situations, with examples to help you practice.

Remember to adapt your language based on the context and the person you are speaking to. Whether you’re in a formal or informal setting, expressing yourself effectively is the key to successful communication in French.

Bon courage with your French learning journey! Keep practicing, and soon you’ll be able to have conversations with confidence!

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