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All about the French phrase "C'est quoi ça"

You are going to find out everything you need to know about the basic French phrase "C'est quoi ça ?". It includes a detailed definition of what it is and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. But that's not all, we also added some useful things like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!

French to English translation

  • Translation : What is that?

  • Register : Neutral - Basic

How to pronounce



  • IPA : / sɛ kwa sa ? /

aesthetic french quote cest quoi ca

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What does it mean?


The literal meaning is:

"C'est quoi ça ?" is the simplest and most widely used way to say "What is that?" in French.

Mostly because the other way to say it: "Qu'est-ce que c'est ?" which is (sadly) popular for being impossible to explain to beginners, because the literal meaning is complete nonsense... more on that on the fun fact section below.

That's why we tend to use instead "C'est quoi ça ?" or just "C'est quoi ?" which is much simpler and shorter.

How to use it

When you want to ask "What is it?" simply say "C'est quoi ça ?" or "C'est quoi ?" or "Qu'est-ce que c'est ?". All these variations have the same meaning.

For more variations, check the "synonyms" section below.

Funny stuff

One synonym of "C'est quoi ça ?" is "Qu'est-ce que c'est que ça ?" which means "What is it?" but the literal translation is "What is this that this is that this?".

Even better: "Qu'est-ce que c'est que cette chose-là ?" which means "What is this thing?" is literally translated as "What is this that this is this thing here?"

But both are perfectly correct in French... This language is crazy...

Synonyms / Related

Example in a dialogue with audio


C'est quoi ça ?

What is it?

Je ne sais pas, tu as une idée ?

I don't know, do you have an idea?

Aucune idée

No idea

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Comment tu t'appelles ?


To vocabulary list


C'est pas grave