The French adverb comment can be interrogative or exclamative and is one of the most common French words. Learn how to use comment to mean "how" and "what" as well as which uses of "how" in English are not translated by comment in French.
Comment = How
Comment is the French equivalent of "how":*
Comment vas-tu ?
How are you? (Literally, "how are you going?")
Comment as-tu fait ça ?
How did you do that?
Comment = What
With être, comment means "what is ___ like?":
Comment est-il ?
What's he like?
Comment est ta maison ?
What is your house like?
Comment is also used to ask someone's name:
Comment t'appelles-tu ?
What's your name?
What is her name?
Comment is also used to say "what?" when you didn't hear or can't believe something:
- Philippe est mort.
- Comment ?
- Philippe is dead.
Comment as an exclamative
Comment is found in a few simple exclamative constructions:
Tu as bien mangé ? Et comment !
Did you eat well? And how! I sure did! I should say so!
Comment donc !
Of course! By all means!
*How ≠ Comment
There are a number of uses of "how" in English which are not translated by comment in French:
How about (we do something)? - Et si (on fait quelque chose) ? (lesson on si)
How about you? - Et toi ?
How about that! - Ça alors !
How big/long/tall is it/he? - Combien mesure-t-il ?
How come? - Pourquoi ? (or Comment ça se fait ?)
How far is ___? - ___ est à quelle distance ? ___ est à combien ?
How much/many? - Combien ?
How much is it / does it cost? - Combien ça coûte ?
How old are you? - Quel âge as-tu ?
to know how to do something - savoir faire quelque chose (lesson on savoir)