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

Get prepared to discover all the things you want to know about the basic French sentence “C’est quoi ça”.

This include a complete guide of what it is and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. Not to mention the useful stuff we sprinkled like synonyms, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

If you are interested, on this page you will find more of these sentences pages and the directory of all our French words pages on this page. Wish you a happy learning!

Table of Contents

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French to English translation

How to pronounce

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


The literal meaning is:

  • C’est → It is
  • Quoi → What
  • Ça → This / That

“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 and similarities

Example with audio dialogue

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” 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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