FR: Quand ça va commencer?

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maybe4ever

Senior Member
US english
I know that the correct and formal way to ask, when's this going to start is:
Quand est-ce que ça va commencer?

But is it okay to say
Quand ça va commencer?
to mean the same thing, without the heaviness of est-ce que?
 
  • Gigote

    Member
    Switzerland, French
    Personnally, I rather say "ça va commencer quand?" when I speak (I think it sounds more natural than "quand ça va commencer?". If you want to speak more formally, you can also replace "ça" by its corresponding noun ("le cours", "la conférence",...) and say "quand va commencer le cours/la conférence?".

    Hope that helps!
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    Personnally, I rather say "ça va commencer quand?" when I speak (I think it sounds more natural than "quand ça va commencer?". If you want to speak more formally, you can also replace "ça" by its corresponding noun ("le cours", "la conférence",...) and say "quand va commencer le cours/la conférence?".

    Hope that helps!
    Hi,
    I do not agree.
    To me, "quand va commencer le cours" sounds awkward, because you cannot invert the subject when it is not a personal pronoun.
    You may hear "quand ça va commencer" or "quand le cours va commencer", and I think they are informal.
    To me, the form "Quand va commencer le cours" sounds more formal because of the inversion, but shows a laxer syntax, because of the strange inversion.
    I think the correct way to ask such a question in speech, with a correct level of formality, can be done by putting "quand" in the end :
    "Ça va commencer quand?" or "Le cours va commencer quand?". They sound very natural in speech, and not so informal.

    In a text, however, The inversion is highly required, and in that case, you put the "quand" back in the beginning, and make the inversion with a fake "il" :


    "Quand cela va-t-il commencer?" or "Quand le cours va-t-il commencer?".
    The latter two are ok only if you are writing, because in speech, they are somewhat heavy.
     

    Gigote

    Member
    Switzerland, French
    Hi,
    I do not agree.
    To me, "quand va commencer le cours" sounds awkward, because you cannot invert the subject when it is not a personal pronooun.
    Really? I know that after "pourquoi?",we cannot invert the subject if it's not a personal pronoun but I thought it was possible with "quand?". Maybe I'm wrong...

    For me, "quand le cours va-t-il commencer?" doesn't sound better than "quand va commencer le cours?". Actually, I wouldn't use neither of them, even in writing. :(

    Anyway, "ça commence quand?" (in speaking) or "quand est-ce que ça commence?" (in speaking or writing) are definitely more appropriate! :)
     

    itka

    Senior Member
    français
    are definitely more appropriate! :)
    Certainly... if you're speaking with your young friends... Not at all if you're doing an exam or speaking to your french director !

    It's definitely bad french... but, as often, a lot of young people speak so...

    The question is : which kind of french do you want to learn, write and speak ?
    Correct french or "streets language".
    What are you willing to do with french ? Meet young people or study, work, speak with educated people (maybe your friends' parents !) ?

    I cannot answer ! You're the only one who can !
     

    Gigote

    Member
    Switzerland, French
    It's definitely bad french... but, as often, a lot of young people speak so...
    I wouldn't qualify "ça commence quand?" and "quand est-ce que ça commence" as "bad French"...I think most people would use one of these two sentences to ask this type of question (so, couldn't we simply say it's French?).

    Itka, could you translate the question into "good French"?
    Thanks
     

    maybe4ever

    Senior Member
    US english
    Quand est-ce que ça va commencer, seems to be "good" French to me.

    But I find est-ce que questions to be heavy, and you can say the same thing with less words.

    That is why I asked about, Quand ça va commencer.

    So now, out of
    Quand ça va commencer?

    and

    ça va commencer quand?

    which is more natural and correct French
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    Quand est-ce que ça va commencer, seems to be "good" French to me.
    You are right : it is.

    So now, out of
    Quand ça va commencer?

    and

    ça va commencer quand?

    which is more natural and correct French
    They are both spoken french, which does not make them incorrect, but the former sentence begins an inversion by putting the "quand" first, and finally does not make the inversion, that is why I say it is incorrect.
    The latter does not make any inversion at all, whici is more coherent.
    What's more, it sounds more natural to me.
    A recap :
    For speech :
    Quand est-ce que ça va commencer ? : correct
    quand ça va commencer ? : not correct (but a common mistake)
    Ça va commencer quand ? : correct

    For a text :
    Quand cela va-t-il commencer : correct (only way to make an inversion when the subject is not a personal pronoun)
    Or : Quand le cours va-t-il commencer ? Correct also, for the same reason.

    The sentence "quand va commencer le cours" is wrong, The fact that it is a common mistake does not make it a correct sentence.
     
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