A qui ? A quoi ? De qui ? De quoi ? : Common French Questions

french questions a qui de qui a quoi de quoi

Curious to finally learn how to answer French questions A qui? A quoi ? De qui ? De quoi ? Answering these questions actually helps you discover French COI (Compliment d’object indirect).

Questions to Ask to Recognize COI

The indirect object complement (COI) is a word or group of words that joins the verb through a preposition to complete its meaning. It is a complement of the verb.

To recognize the indirect object, we ask the following questions:

  • “à qui ?”
  • “à quoi ?”
  • “de qui ?”
  • “de quoi ?”

And according to the verb sense

  • “pour qui ?” 
  • “pour quoi ?”
  • “contre qui ?” 
  • “contre quoi ?”

A qui parle Sebastian ? => à son frère (COI)
De quoi se souvient Sébastien ?=> de son école (COI)

A qui – to whom, whose

À qui est ce stylo ?

Whose pen is this?

Heureux celui à qui elle appartiendra.

Lucky is the one to whom she belongs.

A quoi – to what

A quoi tu penses ? Je pense aux vacances.

What are you thinking about? I think of my holiday.

A quoi ça sert ?

What’s the point?

Quoi ? Dis-moi à quoi tu penses.

What ? Tell me what you’re thinking.

Dans ce cas, à qui et à quoi servira la charte?

That being the case, what is the purpose of this charter and who does it serve?

De qui of/about whom

Le garçon de qui tu parles est très gentil.

The boy (whom) you are speaking of is very nice.

La sorcière de qui il a peur habite ici.

The witch (whom) he is scared of lives here. 

Je vois de qui vous parlez.

I see who are you talking about.

De qui is also an acceptable option, though generally less elegant than dont, and it applies exclusively to people.

De quoi – of what

Décidons qui s’occupe de quoi.

Let’s decide who’s in charge of what.

De quoi il parle?

What is he talking about?

De quoi il s’agit il?

What is it about?

A Qui vs De Qui 

In both cases, qui is always referring to people. Which preposition to use à or de, only depends on the verb. Some verbs require the preposition à, while others require the preposition de. There are also some verbs that use both prepositions like it’s the case with the verb parler.

Je parle à un homme –> C’est l’homme à qui je parle.

I’m talking to a man. /  It’s a man to whom I’m talking.

A qui tu parles ?→ Je parle à un homme.

Je parle d’un homme –> C’est l’homme de qui (or dont) je parle.

I’m talking about a man. It’s the man about whom I’m talking.

De qui tu parles ? Je parle d’un homme.

Quoi vs Qui

Quoi → refers to objects and abstract concepts.

Qui → refers only to people.

Je pense aux enfants. A qui tu penses?

l think of children. Who are you thinking about?

Je pense à l’école. A quoi tu penses ?

l think about school. What are you thinking about?

Ready for Questions in French?

Answering à qui, à quoi, de qui, and de quoi actually helps you discover French COI (Compliment d’object indirect).

There’s an art of asking questions in French and when you master it, you become a true French speaker.

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