I do not understand the difference between qu"est -ce que c'est and qu'est- ce que c'est que. Help

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April

Kwiziq community member

29 November 2017

3 replies

I do not understand the difference between qu"est -ce que c'est and qu'est- ce que c'est que. Help

This question relates to:
French lesson "Qu'est-ce que c'est... and Qu'est-ce que c'est que ça/cela ? = What is... / What's that?"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 November 2017

29/11/17

They are synonyms. There is no difference in meaning. "Qu'est-ce que ce que ça" is, however, a bit less formal. Didn't you find the explanation given in the lesson helpful? I thought it addressed this issue rather well. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Karen

Kwiziq community member

12 January 2018

12/01/18

I don't understand either.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

10 April 2018

10/04/18

Hi April and Karen,

As Chris has already said, both structures mean the same , What's this?, What's that?

Maybe the problem is that the French use 'est-ce-que' an awful lot when asking questions. In spoken French this is the one you will hear most often as the inversion often sounds stilted and you need to recognise it at least.

If you find it difficult to use, you may consider the third way of asking questions which is the statement with the voice rising at the end :

C'est quoi ça? C'est quoi ce livre? (What's that? , What's this book?)

which means the same as,

Quest-ce -que c'est que ça?  Qu'est-ce-que c'est que ce livre ?

but is somewhat less elegant but fine in conversation.

Hope this helps!

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