¿Qué? = What?

En español qu makes a k sonido.  Quiosco.  Química.  Quesadilla.

You know que sounds like Kay if you ever heard la canción, “Qué será, será.  Whatever will be, will be.”  ¿Qué? = What.  Será = will be.  They just put in the ever bit to make it scan nicely with la música.

¿Qué? Was Manuel’s catchphrase.  If you haven’t watched Fawlty Towers, here are some clips.

Watch a clip in which Basil tells Manuel he is giving the guests too much burro.  Burro means donkey.  Mantequilla means butter.  But does Manuel say ¿Qué?  Find out for yourself by clicking here.

Or try este video in which an elderly, slightly deaf guest gets into a bizarre conversación que consiste principalmente de las palabras sí, qué and what.  La señora doesn’t understand that Manuel is Spanish without a good command of inglés.  Click here.

Claro, es imposible to get una idea clara del programa if you don’t watch un episodio completo.  From estes videos cortos you can, however, get la idea that Manuel likes to say “¿qué?

I like ejemplos of how una palabra is used.  Here are unos favoritos for QUE or ¿QUÉ?

  • ¿Sabes qué? = Do you know what?
    • “sa Bess Kay”
  • ¿Qué es eso? = What is that?
    • “Kay S. Esso”
  • ¿De qué habló? = What did she talk about?
    • “Day Kay a blow”

Which ejemplos do you like best?  Choose tres, then work with them to imaginar un contexto in which you could use it.

Por ejemplo, let’s crear unos contextos for ¿Sabes qué? “Sa Bess Kay” It means Do you know what? Tony Blair used to say it all the time. Simon Cowell says it quite often too.

  • ¿Sabes qué? … I enjoyed that chicken.
  • ¿Sabes qué? … I want a cup of tea.
  • ¿Sabes qué? … The girls came 3rd.
  • ¿Sabes qué? … You can stick it!
  • ¿Sabes qué? … That’s the right glass for port.
  • ¿Sabes qué? … You are a good singer but that is not the right song for you. (Simon)
  • ¿Sabes qué? … It was the right thing to do. (Tony)

¿Qué es eso? “K.S. Esso” It looks like the name of Señor Esso. ¿Qué es eso? = What is that?

  • There is an awful smell. ¿Qué es eso?
  • An ingredient you never heard of before. ¿Qué es eso?
  • A taste you never tasted before. ¿Qué es eso?
  • You hear a loud bang. ¿Qué es eso?
  • Someone does something that offends you. ¿Qué es eso?
  • To a baby, pointing at pictures of animales: ¿qué es eso? A moo cow. ¿Qué es eso? A horsey.

¿De qué habló? “Day Kay a Blow” = What did s/he talk about?

  • I went to see Brian Cox. … ¿De qué habló?
  • My mum gave a speech. … ¿De qué habló?
  • Mi amigo never shut up! … ¿De qué habló?

If you can imaginar un contexto that might help you recordar la frase. If you can inventar a chant and say it to un ritmo, that might help even more. If you can inventar anything rude, or strange, or funny that is also helpful for la memoria.

¿Sabes qué? If there are contextos that you can add to los ejemplos on este página, share them in the comments for us all to enjoy. Gracias.

Unos ejemplos más de la palabra que.

  • Quiero que vengas = I want you to come (I want that you come)
    • “key yeah oh Kay Ben gas”
  • Está claro que te gusta = It’s clear that you like him (or her or it)
    • “Sta cla row Kay Tay goose ta”
  • ¡Qué se diviertan! = Have a good time! (That you enjoy)
    • “Kay say Dee beer tan”
  • ¡Que te mejores! = Get well soon! (That you improve)
    • “Kay Tay May whore res”
  • Me contaron lo que pasó = They told me what happened
    • “May con ta Ron low Kay pass oh”
  • ¿Sabes lo difícil que fue? = Do you know how difficult it was?
    • “Sa Bess low Dee fee seal kaif way”
  • Hola, ¿qué tal? = Hello, how are you?
    • “Oh la, Kay tal”
  • ¿Qué método usas? = What method do you use?
    • “Kay May toe doe oo sas”
  • ¡Qué buena amiga eres! = What a good friend you are!
    • “Cabe when a a me ga e res”
  • ¡Qué hermosa vista! = What a beautiful view! “Kay air mow sa bees ta”

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