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tex's french grammar
introduction to interrogatives
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An interrogative construction is a grammatical form used to ask a question. There are two kinds of questions: yes/no questions and information questions. So-called yes/no questions may be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no'.

Are you a student at the University of Texas?
Have you ever been to Sixth Street or Barton Springs?
Do you know how many Aggies it takes to screw in a lightbulb?

Information questions contain a specific interrogative word (who, what, when, why, how) and cannot be answered with a yes or no. Their purpose is to elicit a specific piece of information.

Who is Tex?
  When did he come to Texas?
  How did he learn French?

Est-ce que vous parlez français?   Do you speak French?

Besides using 'est-ce que', questions in French can be formed by inversion of the subject and verb.

Parlez-vous français?   Do you speak French?
parlez-vous ...

formulating questions
The word 'do' is used in English question formation. In similar fashion, French yes / no questions can be formed with the phraseest-ce que.

There are several other ways to ask a question in French. For instance, a tag question is a question word or phrase 'tagged' on to the end of a statement which requires a confirmation with a 'yes' or 'no' answer.

Vous parlez français, n'est-ce pas?   You speak French, don't you?

Finally, the most common way to ask a question in French conversation is to use rising intonation. In this kind of interrogative construction, the word order is the same as a declarative sentence, but the speaker's voice rises at the end to signal the question.

Vous parlez français?   You speak French?