What did you do before?


Senior Member
English - Australia
Hi all,

Context: a person I don't know well has opened a new café, they're working in the café, and I ask them, 'what did you do before?'
(Meaning: what was your job before you opened this café?)

Could also be constructed: 'what were you doing before?'

My attempt: 'qu'est-ce qu'avez vous fait avant ?' I'm not confident with this construction, especially with 'avant'.

All suggestions welcome.

Merci beaucoup!
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  • -YB-

    New Member
    French - France
    Qu'est-ce qu'avez n'est pas correct.
    Propositions :
    Qu'avez-vous fait avant ?
    (but the object of the question is not clear, here. Could be understood as 'quels actes avez-vous commis')
    plus correct :
    Que faisiez-vous avant ?
    Que faisiez-vous auparavant ?
    ou encore plus directement : quel job aviez-vous avant d'ouvrir ce café ? ;)


    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Salut YB, et merci pour votre réponse.:)

    Yes, I thought the object might be a little unclear when translated into French: in English it seems to work okay (in context, at least).

    'Que faisiez-vous avant ?' Much better.

    I see your point: the last example is probably the most clear.


    And, I just learnt a new word: auparavant -- thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    Agreed, and in a more "spoken language" form, you could rather get: "qu'est-ce que vous faisiez avant [de travailler ici]?" (very common)
    Square brackets are optional.