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
Comment = How
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
means "what is ___ like?":
Comment est-il ?
What's he like?
Comment est ta maison ?
What is your house like?
is also used to ask someone's name:
Comment t'appelles-tu ?
What's your name?
What is her name?
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
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
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