FR: Tu l'aimes pourquoi/comment ? - adverbe interrogatif à la fin de la question

pitseleh

Senior Member
USA, English
Hi everyone,
I've tried googling this and looking through the forums here and can't find the answer to this: Is it acceptable to use pourquoi and comment at the end of a question, or must they only be placed at the beginning? Tu l'aimes pourquoi?, for example, just sounds odd to me. I'm hoping a native speaker can let me know if that's acceptable French syntax or not.
 
  • olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    Hi Pitseleh,

    It is not impossible. But you will have to take a very particular attention to the punctuation, and to clearly distinguish between "pourquoi" and "pour quoi".
    Can y ou give us an example?
     

    pitseleh

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Hi Olivier,
    Can you clarify what you mean by paying attention to the punctuation? What other punctuation should I be using besides a question mark? Also, I am asking about the single word "pourquoi," not "pour quoi."

    I am trying to create a guide of general rules for forming questions in French for a student, and I am including illustrative examples. I need to know if it is a valid general rule to say one can form questions with pourquoi at either the beginning or the end of a question. For example, could "Pourquoi tu m'as donné cet affiche?" be just as equally phrased as "Tu m'as donné cet affiche pourquoi?" The latter sounds more informal and spoken, and I'm not certain it is correct standard written French.
     

    pitseleh

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Hi :)
    It is possible if you emphasize this term : Tu l'aimes pourquoi, déjà ?
    You can also hear it in informal speech
    Thanks!
    So am I to assume it is not standard written French, then, to place it at the end of the sentence?
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    In a nutshell:
    • Pourquoi l'aimes-tu ? (standard, but might be perceived as slightly formal to some people in speech)
    • Pourquoi est-ce que tu l'aimes ? (standard – fine in both speech and writing)
    • Tu l'aimes pourquoi ? (colloquial – OK in speech, but should definitely be avoided in writing, except in dialogues)
    Same thing with comment instead of pourquoi.
     

    pitseleh

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Thank you, everyone! This is exactly the explanation I was looking for and confirms what I thought was correct. I just needed some native speakers to tell me I wasn't making up rules! I very much appreciate your input.
     

    jekoh

    Senior Member
    Fr - Fr
    It's perfectly ok in standard French to end a question with pourquoi or comment, just not in the above examples.

    Also, in spoken French, questions like Et vous êtes rentrés comment ? are the most common, while Tu l'aimes pourquoi ? is far less likely.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Note that even in colloquial speech, Pourquoi tu l'aimes ? is better.
    I had forgotten about that one. Thanks for mentioning it. I wouldn't say it is “better” though.

    questions like Et vous êtes rentrés comment ? are the most common
    To me, Pourquoi tu l'aimes ? and Tu l'aimes pourquoi ? are equally common. Same thing with Et comment vous êtes rentrés ? vs. Et vous êtes rentrés comment ?
     

    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    You can regularly find studies of French interrogatives where they mention in-situ pourquoi (and sometimes comment) are a lot less common or just not found at all in their corpus, compared to other interrogative works. My impression is that it typically is the case when they study speakers from the central northern regions (Île de France, Normandie, etc), so some of the differing opinions about how common "tu l'aimes pourquoi?" is are probably due to small dialectal differences.

    Specifically finding out some speakers always used comment at the beginning of questions floored me, since it seems so normal to me.
     
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