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What is the capital of Tunisia?

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What is the capital of Tunisia?

What is the construction of “Qu’est-ce que c’est que cette chose-là?”?

There is no point trying to translate literally this sentence in English, outside to make fun of the result. Qu’est ce que c’est (que) is a set expression that can’t easily be reduced to independent words and is essentially equivalent to either the formal and mostly obsolete qu’est… or the usual and informal c’est quoi….

Qu’est-ce que c’est que cette chose ?

Qu’est cette chose ?

C’est quoi cette chose ?

Consequently, adding an extra conjugated verb makes the sentence ungrammatical because there would be two verbs competing for a single subject.

C’est quoi cette chose est ? (What is that thing is?)

Note that single word transcriptions of these expressions start to be found in forums, blogs and similar non academic writings exhibiting the fact they are considered to be single units, e.g.:

Qu’est-ce que c’est ?Kesseucé ?

Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça ?Kèsèksa ? or Kèséksa ?


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What is the capital of Tunisia?