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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.
2 In the last lesson, we learned how to ask "Who" questions in French.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "Why?"
Imagine your boss is giving you a call because you are not at work today... He will certainly ask you Pourquoi n'êtes-vous pas au bureau aujourd'hui?
[slowly] Pourquoi n'êtes-vous pas au bureau aujourd'hui?
So let’s break down this question:
First we had:
Pourquoi, which is the basic translation of "Why" in French.
N'êtes vous pas is the 2nd person plural of the verb être in the negative form
Au bureau which is "at the office"
And finally aujourd'hui which is "today"
All together it is Pourquoi n'êtes-vous pas au bureau aujourd'hui?
So in French, Pourquoi is the exact translation of "Why", used to ask the reason for something.
So for example, if your boss is asking you "Why are you late today?" he will say Pourquoi êtes-vous en retard aujourd'hui?
Here, he uses "Why" in order to get explanations and reasons.
Note that here, the form is formal as we used the 2nd person plural pronoun Vous, which is the polite form for "you".
Another common usage of Pour quoi is to ask the objective of something. But in this case, it is split into 2 words, so Pour and quoi.
So, in this case, Pour quoi? is closer to the meaning of "What for?" In French we often say Pour quoi faire? which literally means "What is it made for?"
Now it’s time for Ingrid’s Insights.
A famous expression in France is Pourquoi pas? which means, as in English, "Why not?"
You can use it to accept a proposition if you agree but that you are not really keen to do it. Or, if it was not planned in advance.
For example if a friend asks you suddenly "And what about going to the cinema tonight?"
You can answer Pourquoi pas? "Why not?"
Before ending this lesson, Let’s review all the ways to translate "Why" in French:
- Pourquoi is the basic translation of "Why," as in Pourquoi êtes-vous en retard? "Why are you late?"
- Pour quoi faire? which is "What for?"
Finally, Pourquoi pas? is "Why not?"
This lesson is the last lesson of this Absolute Beginner’s video series.
But it’s hopefully not the last you learn about the French language! To take your language ability to the next level, check out FrenchPod101.com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn French.
À bientôt!!