If you’re learning French, you’ve probably come across the words “quel” and “quelle” and wondered what the Difference Between Quel and Quelle in French. While they may look and sound similar, there are some key distinctions that are important to understand. In this blog post, we’ll break down when to use quel versus quelle, how they change based on gender, and provide plenty of examples so you can master these words.
The Fundamentals: Quel as Masculine, Quelle as Feminine
The basic difference between quel and quelle boils down to gender. Quel is the masculine form, while quelle is the feminine form. In French lessons, most adjectives must match the gender of the noun they describe. So if you’re describing a masculine noun, you’d use quel. If you’re describing a feminine noun, you’d use quelle.
- Quel livre veux-tu? (Which book do you want?, where “livre” is masculine)
- Quelle chaise preferez-vous? (Which chair do you prefer?, where “chaise” is feminine)
So essentially, if the noun is masculine, use quel. If it’s feminine, use quelle. Easy peasy!
How to Make Quel and Quelle Plural in French
Both quel and quelle can also be made plural by adding an “s.” For masculine plural, it would be quels. For feminine plural, it would be quelles.
Here are some examples:
- Quels amis viennent à la fête ? (Which friends are coming to the party?, where “amis” is masculine plural)
- Quelles idées avez-vous ? (What ideas do you have?, where “idées” is feminine plural)
- J’aime ces gâteaux. Quels sont les meilleurs ? (I like these cakes. Which ones are the best?, where “gâteaux” is masculine plural)
And the plural table:
So in summary:
- Masculine singular: quel
- Feminine singular: quelle
- Masculine plural: quels
- Feminine plural: quelles
How Quel and Quelle Function as Interrogatives
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at how quel and quelle are actually used in sentences. One of the most common ways is as interrogatives – in other words, when asking a question.
- Quel film regardez-vous ce soir ? (Which movie are you watching tonight?)
- Quelle robe vas-tu porter à la fête ? (Which dress are you going to wear to the party?)
- Quels légumes aimez-vous ? (Which vegetables do you like?)
- Quelles activités faites-vous pendant les vacances ? (What activities do you do during the holidays?)
As you can see, both quel and quelle can be used to ask “which” in a question. The gender of the noun being asked about determines if you use the masculine or feminine form.
Using Quel and Quelle as Exclamatives as per French grammar
Quel and quelle can also be used as exclamatives to express surprise, emotion, or emphasis:
- Quel beau tableau ! (What a beautiful painting!)
- Quelle merveilleuse nouvelle ! (What wonderful news!)
- Quels idiots ! (What idiots!)
- Mesdames et messieurs, quel honneur d’être ici ce soir ! (Ladies and gentlemen, what an honor to be here tonight!)
So when you want to exclaim something with “what” or “how,” turn to quel/quelle. Just match the gender to the noun.
Quel vs. Quelle as Adjectives
In addition to questions and exclamations, quel and quelle frequently appear as adjectives describing a noun. For example:
- C’est un quartier quelconque. (It’s an ordinary neighborhood.)
- J’ai préparé une quiche quelleconque pour le dîner. (I prepared some ordinary quiche for dinner.)
- Elle portait une robe quelleconque. (She wore an ordinary dress.)
- Quel beau chapeau ! (What a beautiful hat!)
- C’est une quelle merveilleuse opportunité. (It’s such a wonderful opportunity.)
Here you can see that the adjective takes on the gender of the noun it describes. Quelconque becomes quelconque when describing a masculine noun, and quelleconque when describing a feminine noun.
You can also use quel/quelle in phrases involving possession, such as:
- À quel point est la pharmacie ? (How far is the pharmacy?)
- Chez quelle amie vas-tu ce soir? (Which friend’s house are you going to tonight?)
- Quelle est ta matière préférée ? (What is your favorite subject?)
- Quels sont vos projets pour le weekend ? (What are your plans for the weekend?)
The possessive words (mon, ma, mes, ton, ta, tes, son, sa, ses, etc.) can provide context clues as to whether quel or quelle is appropriate. Match the gender of quel/quelle to the possessive.
Using with Prepositions
In French, certain prepositions require the use of quel/quelle. Here are some examples:
- À quelle heure commence le film ? (At what time does the movie start?)
- Pour quelle raison êtes-vous en retard ? (For what reason are you late?)
- De quel instrument s’agit-il ? (Which musical instrument is it?)
- Dans quelle ville se trouve le musée ? (In which city is the museum located?)
So if you’re using the prepositions à, pour, de, or dans, you’ll need to use quel/quelle in your french lessons question.
Exceptions to remember
Now that we’ve gone over the core uses of quel and quelle, let’s review some notable exceptions:
- After the verb être, use quel NOT quelle: Quel est votre nom ? (What is your name?)
- For titles/professions, match the gender: Quelle est votre profession ? (What is your profession?) but Quel est votre métier ? (What is your trade/job?)
- For countries, use quelle for feminine countries only: Quel pays préférez-vous ? (Which country do you prefer?) but Quelle ville en France aimez-vous ? (Which city in France do you like?)
- For colors, use quel unless the color itself is feminine, like “rose” (pink).
So in summary, the exceptions occur when describing gendered titles, countries, and colors. But most of the time, just match quel/quelle to the noun!
Exercises Lesson to practice
The best way to master quel versus quelle is to see them used in everyday contexts. Here are some practice examples:
- Quelle est la date d’aujourd’hui ? (What is today’s date?)
- À quelle adresse habites-tu ? (At what address do you live?)
- Quel travail fait ton père ? (What work does your father do?)
- Quels sont tes loisirs favoris ? (What are your favorite hobbies?)
- Dans quelle matière es-tu le meilleur à l’école ? (In which subject are you best at school?)
- Quelle est ta couleur préférée ? (What is your favorite color?)
- Quels sports aimes-tu regarder à la télé ? (Which sports do you like to watch on TV?)
- Quelle est ta saison favorite ? Pourquoi ? (What is your favorite season? Why?)
- Quel est le plat typique de ta région ? (What is the typical dish of your region?)
Examples of “Quel” in Context
To solidify your understanding of “quel,” let’s explore a few more examples in different contexts:
- “Quel est ton niveau de français?” (What is your level of French?)
- “Quelle est ta couleur préférée?” (What is your favorite color?)
- “Quels sports pratiques-tu?” (Which sports do you play?)
- “Quelles langues parles-tu?” (Which languages do you speak?)
Summary of Quel vs. Quelle
In summary, here are the key things to remember about when to use quel versus quelle:
- Quel is masculine, quelle is feminine
- Make them plural by adding “s”
- Use them in french questions, exclamations, and as adjectives
- Match them to the possessive
- Certain prepositions require quel/quelle
- Exceptions occur with titles, countries, and some colors
The good news is that quel and quelle follow very similar rules to other French adjectives. Once you master the gender patterns, vous réussirez en un rien de temps! With consistent practice, differentiating between quel and quelle will become second nature. You’ve got this!
Or in table form:
|Plural: quels||Plural: quelles|
|Match possessive||Match possessive|
|Certain prepositions||Certain prepositions|
|Exceptions: titles, countries, colors||Exceptions: feminine titles, countries, colors|
Shahid Maqsood, with an MBA and a Master’s in Mass Communications, has 10 years of writing experience. Specializing in news and celebrity coverage, he brings a unique perspective from his love for hunting and camping, difference between. He’s passionate about the outdoors, especially hunting and camping. Shahid contributes to websites like dosttrusty.com, distinctionbetweencom and bruitly.com offering insightful articles on news and celebrities. His straightforward, engaging style makes him a trusted source for readers.