Understand the difference between quoique and quoi que in French

French grammar can be frustrating but there are often simple rules to remember and apply to help

There are a couple of simple rules to avoid confusion between quoique and quoi que
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French can be a confusing language with many similar looking and sounding words that can get mixed up both when written and spoken.

A common pitfall for many advanced learners is to confuse quoique and quoi que - despite being almost identical, they mean very different things.

Although at first glance it is confusing, when you get your head around the rules it is straightforward.

What is the difference?

Quoique as one word means ‘although’ or ‘even if’ and it usually expresses doubt or opposition. It can be followed by the indicative or the subjunctive depending on the context.

An example is: Quoique nous soyons en hiver, il fait encore assez chaud (Although we are in winter it is still quite hot).

One thing to note however is that quoique is quite old-fashioned, and most people nowadays would use bien que or encore que, also followed by the subjective or indicative, to express this.

When it is written as two words, quoi que means ‘whatever’ in the sense of many possibilities.

Quoi que is always followed by a subject and a verb in the subjunctive, and means 'whatever the thing' or 'anything.

For example, Quoi que je choisisse comme plat, le dessert sera inclus dans la formule (Whatever I choose for my main dish, dessert will be included in the menu).

In this instance, the verb choisir is in the subjunctive form because it follows quoi que.

A common phrase where you are likely to hear quoi que employed is quoi que ce soit which means anything if talking about something undefined or whatever it is if talking about something unknown.

For example, si vous avez besoin de quoi que ce soit, n'hésitez pas à me dire (If you need anything don’t hesitate to tell me).

Difference is notable in written French

Both quoique and quoi que sound the same in spoken French so it is more in the written language that you need to be aware of their differences.

In both cases, when followed by il, elle or on (he, she or we), each word drops the ‘e’ and uses an apostrophe to join with the subject.

For example, je l’aime bien quoiqu’il m'énerve de temps en temps (I like him even though he annoys me from time to time).

Similarly, quoi qu’elle fasse après la fac, elle sera contente d’avoir fini ses études (whatever she does after university she will be pleased to have finished her studies).

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