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Lesson Transcript

Salut, je m'appelle Ingrid. Hi everybody! I’m Ingrid.
Welcome to FrenchPod101.com’s “Le français en 3 minutes”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn French.
In the last lesson, we learned how to ask "When" questions in French.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "Who?"
Imagine you want to ask your friend who the attractive girl just behind him is.
Here, the question you can ask Qui est cette fille derrière toi?
[slowly] Qui est cette fille derrière toi?
So let’s break down this answer:
First we had:
Qui which is the basic translation of "Who" in French.
Est which is "are," the 3rd person form of the verb être, which we have already studied.
Cette fille means "this girl."
And finally derrière toi which is "behind you."
Toi is the informal pronoun for "you."
All together it is Qui est cette fille derrière toi?
So in French, "Who" is mainly translated as Qui to ask about someone's identity.
For example, if you want to ask "Who are these people?" You will say Qui sont ces gens? when talking about a group of unknown persons.
As in English, the interrogative word Who is here placed in the 1st position, and is followed by the the verb and then the subject.
Qui only works for people, so you can't use it to ask information about things or places. As an interrogative word, Qui can also be used to ask who did something, for example.
If you are in a museum for instance, you can ask Qui a peint ce tableau? This means "Who painted this painting?"
Another interrogative formula with Qui that is used very often, is À qui? In this case, the meaning is different as it can be translated to "Whose."
So if you want to ask "Whose pencil is it?" you will have to say À qui est ce crayon?
If we break down this question, it is:
À qui which is "whose"
Est which is the verb être in the 3rd person form in the present tense indicative
And finally, ce crayon, which means "this pencil."
You can also use the word Qui to ask "for which person is it?" In French, we use the formula Pour qui?
So if you want to know "For which person is this piece of cake?" It will be Pour qui est cette part de gâteau?
Now it’s time for Ingrid’s Insights.
If someone that you didn't expect is knocking at your door in France, the common question you can ask is Qui est-ce? before opening the door.
This literally means "Who is it?" in a really polite way.
The very casual way to ask it is C'est qui? which is much more informal but can be used, but only if your tone is cheerful, otherwise it will sound a bit rude!
Before ending this lesson, Let’s go back and look at all the ways to translate "Who" in French:
- Qui is the basic "Who" as in Qui est cette fille? Qui est cette fille?
- À qui is insisting on the ownership, it is the equivalent of "Whose", as in "Whose pencil is it?" À qui est ce crayon?
- Pour qui, which is the direct translation of "For who?" As in "For who is this piece of cake?" Pour qui est cette part de gâteau?
In this lesson, we learned how to correctly use the interrogative word for "Who" which is Qui in French, but also its variations.
Now you can easily know who is who!
Next lesson will be our last of this absolute beginner series.
We will deal with the last but not least common interrogative word Pourquoi, which means I’ll be waiting for you in the next Le français en 3 minutes.
A bientôt!