C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is

In French, to give opinions or state facts about things, it is can be expressed in two ways: either c'est or il est/elle est. 

It can be tricky to know when to use one or the other, so here's the way to do it!

1. c'est  in sentences it/he/she is + a/the/my... + [noun/name]

C'est une jolie robe.
It is a pretty dress.

Qu'est-ce que tu en penses ? - C'est un livre intéressant.
What do you think about it? - It's an interesting book.

C'est le fils de Martha.
He's Martha's son.

Qui est Sylvie ? - C'est ma sœur.
Who's Sylvie? - She's my sister.

C'est la robe que je porte au travail.
That's the dress that I wear at work.

If it/he/she is is followed by un/une/le/la... (any form of article / determinant) - it is a beautiful dress / she is a nice person - then you will use c'est.


2. Cases expressing opinions or simple statements (adjectives) about prementioned things, look at these rules:

a - c'est  for general, unspecific statements and opinions

Tu étudies la science ? - Oui, c'est passionnant !
Do you study science? - Yes, it's thrilling!

C'est vraiment magnifique ici!
It's really beautiful here!

Miam, c'est délicieux!
Yummy, it's delicious!

 

In those cases, we're expressing opinions or statements that refer to the thing generally: we're saying science in general is thrilling, or that something unspecified is great or delicious.
Therefore, here we use c'est to say it is.

 

b - il est/elle est  for statements and opinions related to specific things

Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau.
Do you like my sweater? -Yes, it's very nice.

Où est ta tasse ? - Elle est sur la table.
Where is your cup? -It is on the table.

Et le lit? - Il est encore dans le camion.
What about the bed? - It's still in the truck.

In those cases, the opinions expressed relate to specific items, we know precisely what we're talking about, whether it be my jumper (not jumpers in general), your plate or that specific bed.
Therefore, here we use il est or elle est, depending on the gender of the thing it refers to (remember that things have genders too in French!).

ATTENTION: 
When using il/elle, you have to make adjectives agree accordingly, whereas you always use the masculine with c'est. 
(See Standalone adjectives after c'est are always masculine)

 

Ambiguous cases in French

Look at these two examples talking about soup:

Tu aimes la soupe? - Oui, elle est délicieuse!
Do you like the soup? - Yes, it's delicious!


Tu aimes la soupe? - Oui, c'est réconfortant!
Do you like soup? -Yes, it's comforting!

Note that in French, both statements look identical (Tu aimes la soupe ?) when in English they mean two distinct things: 
Do you like soup? is a question on soup in general, whereas
Do you like the soup? is asking about a specific soup, i.e. the one they're eating at that moment.

The tricky fact is that in French, you use the definite article le, la, l' for general statements as well as specific the.
See Using le, la, l', les before nouns when generalising (definite articles).

So here you need to know the context to use either c'est (soup in general) or il est/elle est (the specific soup). 

 

See also C'est, ce sont = this is, these are (demonstrative pronouns)

See how to use c'est with adjectives : C'est = It is

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Et le lit? - Il est encore dans le camion.
What about the bed? - It's still in the truck.


C'est une jolie robe.
It is a pretty dress.


Tu étudies la science ? - Oui, c'est passionnant !
Do you study science? - Yes, it's thrilling!


C'est la robe que je porte au travail.
That's the dress that I wear at work.


Miam, c'est délicieux!
Yummy, it's delicious!


Qu'est-ce que tu en penses ? - C'est un livre intéressant.
What do you think about it? - It's an interesting book.


Tu aimes la soupe? - Oui, c'est réconfortant!
Do you like soup? -Yes, it's comforting!


Qui est Sylvie ? - C'est ma sœur.
Who's Sylvie? - She's my sister.


C'est une bonne nageuse.
She is a good swimmer.


Tu aimes la soupe? - Oui, elle est délicieuse!
Do you like the soup? - Yes, it's delicious!


Où est ta tasse ? - Elle est sur la table.
Where is your cup? -It is on the table.



C'est vraiment magnifique ici!
It's really beautiful here!


C'est le fils de Martha.
He's Martha's son.


Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau.
Do you like my sweater? -Yes, it's very nice.


Q&A Forum 47 questions, 100 answers

SamC1

Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est ________."

In this question you have used ‘c’est’ - however it is not a general question. It is specific to ‘this’ apple. Please explain why it wasn’t ‘elle’. Thankyou 

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Sam, 

C'est can only be followed by a masculine adjective , making it a more general comment.

Take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson highlighting this -

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/cest-means-it-is

You could also say -

Cette pomme est bonne - oui, elle est excellente 

Hope this helps!

 

 

I think Sam's question is about why it isn't Oui, elle est bonne, since the speaker is referring to a specific apple.

CécileKwiziq language super star

I am not sure what the exercise was asking , just assumed it wanted to practice the use of 'c'est'....

SamC1

Thankyou I understand that. But that’s not my question. Why is it C’est bon and not elle est bonne as it’s a specific apple. Not, apples (in general) are good. 

SamC1

Thankyou Cecile i understand that. But that’s was not my question. The answer they had was C’est bon and I thought as you said, it should be Elle est bonne as it’s a specific apple that is good, and not, apples (in general) are good. But I must be missing something and would like to understand why. 

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Sam, 

It would make more sense to say -

Oui, elle est très bonne 

or 

Oui, elle est délicieuse 

but I didn't set the test and have no access to it ....

Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est ________."

In this question you have used ‘c’est’ - however it is not a general question. It is specific to ‘this’ apple. Please explain why it wasn’t ‘elle’. Thankyou 

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SamC1

I. This this question Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est ________."

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

answered...

I. This this question Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est ________."

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Perhaps an example of "c'est" using a negative statement.

After more than a year of these lessons, I'd not learned "ce n'est pas" is how you say it is not "something" - for example - "Ce n'est pas une bonne taille."  Great discovery (I found it in a weekend writing lesson) !  Great course !

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Robert,

There are a few examples using 'ce n'est pas' in the following Kwiziq  lesson -

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/how-to-use-ne-pas-not-with-simple-tenses-negation

Hope this helps!

Perhaps an example of "c'est" using a negative statement.

After more than a year of these lessons, I'd not learned "ce n'est pas" is how you say it is not "something" - for example - "Ce n'est pas une bonne taille."  Great discovery (I found it in a weekend writing lesson) !  Great course !

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CsA1

Merci Beaucoup

I just wanted to say that the video in this lesson was super helpful. I struggled so much with this concept and now I get it right all the time. So, thank you!

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

That's good to know Cs and thank you for your kind comment...

Merci Beaucoup

I just wanted to say that the video in this lesson was super helpful. I struggled so much with this concept and now I get it right all the time. So, thank you!

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On we or Un one

What I want to say is when we are ask 

One mustn't talk back to one's parents.

On ne doit pas répondre à ses parents.  

Your answer is  " On " that is what I don't understand to me the question does not say We mustn't talk back to one's parents. so the answer  should be "Un" if not why ?

Asked 3 months ago

On can be both: "we" (mostly used in familiar contexts) and "one" (impersonal we).

"Un" doesn't work in French. You can't translate the English "one" literally.

To add to Chris's answer:

Un means one when referring to number or quantity. e.g. Un de mes parents n'aime pas les pommes. (One of my parents doesn't like apples.); Je n'ai qu'un stylo. (I only have one pen.)

On can mean one in the sense that you're using it; it can also mean the rather informal we (in place of nous), as well they or you used in general, and not referring to specific people or groups.

Hope this is helpful.

On we or Un one

What I want to say is when we are ask 

One mustn't talk back to one's parents.

On ne doit pas répondre à ses parents.  

Your answer is  " On " that is what I don't understand to me the question does not say We mustn't talk back to one's parents. so the answer  should be "Un" if not why ?

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I don't understand the answer to this question is On why the question is One mustn't not We mustn't talk back to one's parents . So why On

________ ne doit pas répondre à ses parents.One mustn't talk back to one's parents.OnUnNousIlEXPLAIN THISReport issue
Asked 3 months ago

answered.

I don't understand the answer to this question is On why the question is One mustn't not We mustn't talk back to one's parents . So why On

________ ne doit pas répondre à ses parents.One mustn't talk back to one's parents.OnUnNousIlEXPLAIN THISReport issue

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VanA1

Is this a good summary?

Been looking at this for a long time. Conclusion is if you want to write a sentence using a/the/my , Or making a general opinion then use c'est. Otherwise use I'll/Elle est to make a specific opinion towards something/someone if there is no a/the/my in the sentence? 

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Van,

This is pretty accurate but I prefer working with their French equivalents.

There are others and you can add, Monsieur, Madame and names to the list.

I am working on an lesson update which I hope will clarify the situation...

As an example you can say -

Elle est bonne nageuse 

C'est une bonne nageuse 

but you cannot say:

Elle est une bonne nageuse !

Is this a good summary?

Been looking at this for a long time. Conclusion is if you want to write a sentence using a/the/my , Or making a general opinion then use c'est. Otherwise use I'll/Elle est to make a specific opinion towards something/someone if there is no a/the/my in the sentence? 

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salut

Has anybody seen the subtítles in the video ?

Asked 4 months ago

salut

Has anybody seen the subtítles in the video ?

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Why is this wrong?

On the quiz, I missed this question:

Tu aimes le violet ? Oui, ________ est très joli!

I answered with 'il', because it fits the criteria that we are not talking about something general, but something specifically referred to previously: the color violet. The answer was actually "c'".

Can you explain why?

Asked 5 months ago

I guess if the context were about a specific violet, like the third one from the left in a bunch of them, then you would il. The question, as I understand it, is asking about violets in general. Sometimes in French you use the singular in this case, where in English you would use plural.

Hi Chris.

Thanks for your reply. I thought violet in this context meant "purple". Or does it, in fact, refer to the flower ?

You are probably right. Could refer to the color, too. In that case it is the same kind of reasoning. The general color asks for ce instead of il.

Why is this wrong?

On the quiz, I missed this question:

Tu aimes le violet ? Oui, ________ est très joli!

I answered with 'il', because it fits the criteria that we are not talking about something general, but something specifically referred to previously: the color violet. The answer was actually "c'".

Can you explain why?

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Who's your teacher?

I want to know all possible answers for that question

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Mamadou,

It would be -

C'est M. Untel It is Mr. So-and-So

C'est Mme Untel = It is Mrs So-and- So

Hope this helps!

Who's your teacher?

I want to know all possible answers for that question

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Why is “it’s a pretty dress” not considered to be referencing a specific thing and hence Elle est une jolie robe

Asked 5 months ago

Seems to me a ‘that’ rule works.  If ‘that’ works with the English translation then use ‘’C’est” otherwise use “il/elle” etc

Why is “it’s a pretty dress” not considered to be referencing a specific thing and hence Elle est une jolie robe

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RoyA1

One option given as an answer is "Each is all red". Is this where we would use "on"? On est tout rouge.

Asked 6 months ago

One option given as an answer is "Each is all red". Is this where we would use "on"? On est tout rouge.

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Can I say Il est le fils de Martha instead of C'est le fils de Martha?

Asked 7 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer
I've only ever heard C'est le fils de Martha. But isn't that very example given in the lesson?

Can I say Il est le fils de Martha instead of C'est le fils de Martha?

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Why do we say "Qu'est-ce que tu en penses ?

Qu'est-ce que tu en penses ? 
Asked 7 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Qu'est-ce que tu en penses? -- What do you think of it?
Qu'est-ce que tu penses? -- What do you think?

It depends on what you want to say.

instead of "Qu'est-ce que tu penses ?" 

Qu'est-ce que tu en penses? -- What do you think of it?

What do you mean by "why do we say this"?

I am surprised at this. As a native English speaker I would say that "What do you think?" means the same as "What to you think of/about it?" You can drop the "of/about it" when the context is obvious. I'm obviously not a native French speaker, but I would have thought you can't do the same thing in French, so "Qu'est-ce que tu penses?" is either wrong, or implies a direct object, so it would have to mean something like "What are you planning?".
Maybe "What are you thinking." is the better translation, in the sense of "a penny for your thoughts" :)
But is that how you would say it in French? Wouldn't it be "À quoi tu penses?"

According to a French native speaker, both is possible:

Qu'est-ce que tu pense. -- What are you thinking about?
À quoi tu penses. -- What are you thinking about?

According to her, they are both possible and mean exactly the same thing: asking someone what he is thinking, without reference to anything mentioned earlier.

Qu'est-ce que tu penses, of course, I forgot the "s". Wish there was some way to edit one's typos...

Why do we say "Qu'est-ce que tu en penses ?

Qu'est-ce que tu en penses ? 

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Chris this question is to you only answer in french

Où est-ce que tu travailles?
Asked 8 months ago
Je travaille en Autriche.

Chris this question is to you only answer in french

Où est-ce que tu travailles?

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But inthe examples, “She is a good swimmer” “It is a pretty dress” &”That is the dress I wear to work” all seem specific why use C’est?

I would think it would be il or elle.  they just do not seem to be general things. The dress I wear to work is a specific dress
Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Susan,

If you scroll down the Q&A section at the bottom of this lesson , you will see that there is quite a lot of discourse regarding when to use, c'est and il/elle est-

You cannot say in French - 'Elle est une bonne nageuse' but, 'C'est une bonne nageuse' is the only correct sentence.

It is the same for "It is a pretty dress" you cannot use  Elle here -

"C'est une jolie robe " is the only acceptable answer.

Hope this helps!

 

Why can't I say "Elle est une bonne nageuse" if I am talking about "she" (elle)? Is this just a gramatical rule? Thank you
In the video, the teacher sayed Il/elle est is used for jobs and adjectives, nageuse in this case is an adjective. Why does it is wrong? 
CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Paola,

You can also say :

Elle est bonne nageuse ( no 'une' which is never possible after - elle est ....

This is why we say :

Elle est prof d'anglais

Il est architecte

elles sont médecins 

etc...

But inthe examples, “She is a good swimmer” “It is a pretty dress” &”That is the dress I wear to work” all seem specific why use C’est?

I would think it would be il or elle.  they just do not seem to be general things. The dress I wear to work is a specific dress

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C'est AND Il/Elle est can both be correct in some situations?

In this weeks Weekend Workout 28-09-2018 'Mrs Durand's Menagerie' we are asked to translate:

'Mrs Durand lives in the countryside, its perfect for animals.'

There are two correct answers given for 'its perfect for animals':

C'est parfait pour les animaux! AND Elle est parfaite pour les animaux!

The lesson, however, shows how to choose between the use of C'est and the use of 'Il/Elle est' ... implying that only one of these two options is correct in any given situation. 

Could you please explain why both options are correct in this particular instance.

Thank you

Asked 9 months ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Stewart !

In "Mrs Durand's Menagerie", the text is actually:

Mrs Durand lives in the countryside, in a beautiful blue house with a big garden! It's perfect for animals.

What the lesson states is that you use either c'est or il/elle est, and it's valid for most cases. But it also explains that you use c'est for general statements.

So in this particular situation, depending on what "it" represents, you could indeed use either:
C'est parfait ... Here you're considering the whole general situation as perfect for animals
- Elle est parfaite ... Here you're referring specifically to the house (la maison) as being perfect for animals.
I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

C'est AND Il/Elle est can both be correct in some situations?

In this weeks Weekend Workout 28-09-2018 'Mrs Durand's Menagerie' we are asked to translate:

'Mrs Durand lives in the countryside, its perfect for animals.'

There are two correct answers given for 'its perfect for animals':

C'est parfait pour les animaux! AND Elle est parfaite pour les animaux!

The lesson, however, shows how to choose between the use of C'est and the use of 'Il/Elle est' ... implying that only one of these two options is correct in any given situation. 

Could you please explain why both options are correct in this particular instance.

Thank you

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Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est bon.

I got this question:

Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est _______.

I answered bon because I knew to use the masculine, but my question is why it's c'est in this case. I've read the relevant pages (C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is and Standalone adjectives after c'est are always masculine) and my interpretation is that this would fall under 2b of C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is

il est/elle est  for statements and opinions related to specific things.
Asked 9 months ago

To add to this, the English translation provided by Kwiziq was:

This apple is good. Yes, it is good.

Had it said "This apple is good. Yes, they are good," then « Ce sont bon » would have made sense to me (versus « elle est bonne »).

MaxC1
My issue with Kwiziq is that when I ask a question, I get back "We don't speak French" - not what I would have expected.
GruffKwiziq language super star

Hi Max - you may have had that response from someone on our email customer support as that is for technical and billing-related support and not all email support staff are qualified French teachers. 

However, language questions posted here on the Q&A will be answered both by our qualified language experts as well as other members of our learner community, some of whom have an impressive level of French.

Hope that explains that response!

Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est bon.

I got this question:

Cette pomme est bonne. - Oui, c'est _______.

I answered bon because I knew to use the masculine, but my question is why it's c'est in this case. I've read the relevant pages (C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is and Standalone adjectives after c'est are always masculine) and my interpretation is that this would fall under 2b of C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is

il est/elle est  for statements and opinions related to specific things.

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il habite où

Asked 10 months ago
That depends about whom you are talking.

il habite où

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Il est or c'est in this case

Can you tell me which is the correct translation in this case and why?

I find it hard to decide which category it comes in.

It is logical that you have gone first.

1. Il est logique que vous soyez passée la première

2. C'est logique que vous soyez passée la première

Asked 11 months ago

Try this: https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

-- Chris.

I have read that, and the material on Kwiziq. I find myself still confused in this particular case.

Which one would you go for? And what would your thought process be?

I would say "Il est logique...". I have a hard time, however, justifying it or reasoning it out. It does, however, follow the rule Il+adjective versus C'est+noun noted in the link I sent you.

From your questions I get the impression that you are approaching learning French very methodically (which is good) and very rule-oriented (which is sometimes not so good). Have you tried just to assimilate a novel idea rather than dissecting it? It helped me a lot to read as much as I can and not stop at every phrase I wasn't entirely sure about. Just make a mental note and go on. In French there are probably more exceptions to any given rule than in any other language anyway :)

Greetings, -- Chris.

It is true that I can read and not bother about c'est vs il est, and if I finally get to write or speak to someone in French they can probably forgive my occasionally getting my grammar wrong. But just for now I have to answer these questions in Kwiziq and Duolingo and the standard is 100% perfection and to get there I need to learn and rember the logic.

I have achieved it too, with 100% in all 6 levels in Kwiziq and a golden tree in Duolingo, but then I get to things like the Kwiziq writing challenges and realize how little I know compared to even a 5 year old French child.

I suppose that if I could immerse myself in the culture these things would eventually come intuitively but since that cannot happen I have to make do with what I can achieve online.

---

I agree that the FrenchToday page, which simplifies everything to il est+adjective or c'est+noun, would give us "Il est logique...".

But the Kwiziq lesson we are discussing here says:

Case 1: C'est + noun

Case 2a: C'est + anything else, where we are making a general, unspecific statement or opinion about prementioned things.

Case 2b: Il est + anything else, where we are making a statement or opinion related to specific prementioned things.

For It is logical that you have gone first we do not have a noun so case 1 is out.

At first it sounds like we have case 2b - so Il est logique - since we have a specific thing, i.e. "you have gone first".

But then I look at one of the examples for case 2a and it says "It's really beautiful here" = "C'est vraiment magnifique ici" and I think it sounds just like out "It is logical..." statement, even though it is, to me, talking abut a specifc thing, namely "here".

But in both cases the "specificity of the thing" is kind of vague.

Unfortunately the examples for case 2b do not help because they are so simple. Each consists of two consecutive sentences. One that asks a question about a thing and another that makes a statement about it. The "It is logical that..." statement is unlike those.

So I lean toward case 2a and "C'est logique...".

This Kwiziq lesson is about giving opinions on things, I don't think it's relevant to your example. (The FrenchToday lesson doesn't cover this kind of sentence either in the main lesson, although it is mentioned in the comments below.) A closer match on Kwiziq would be this lesson:

Il est (important) que + Le Subjonctif = It is (important) for (someone) to ...

You can see that they use "il est" exclusively here, which I think is appropriate for written French. Informally, I believe you could use "c'est" instead. 

Thank you for that. I think you have provided the answer I was looking for:

When using expressions for general opinion such as "It is important for <someone> to <do something>", in French you will use the structure Il est <adjective> que followed by Le Subjonctif.

Where opinon words include: important, nécessaire, inutile, esssentiel, logique, ...

Il est or c'est in this case

Can you tell me which is the correct translation in this case and why?

I find it hard to decide which category it comes in.

It is logical that you have gone first.

1. Il est logique que vous soyez passée la première

2. C'est logique que vous soyez passée la première

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Why the answer to "Qui est cette fille?" is " C'est Marie" instead of "Elle est Marie"?

Since 'cette fille' is referring to a specified girl, as explained in case 2b, shouldn't we use 'elle est'?

Thanks

Asked 1 year ago
AlanC1Correct answer

This question seems to have been asked a lot recently, so perhaps the lesson is not clear enough.

Case 1 is "c'est" + noun / name.  You must always use "c'est" here.

Case 2 is "c'est" or "il/elle est" + adjective. This depends on whether it's specific or non-specific.

So your example is covered by case 1 and you have to use "c'est". I disagree with Chris here, I don't think "Elle est Marie" is correct.

You might find this  link useful:

https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

Hi Joan,

C'est Marie. -- It is Marie.
Elle est Marie. -- She is Marie.

Qui est cette fille? C'est Marie. -- Who is that girl? It's Marie.

I don't know how to motivate it any better. Sometimes you just have to take things the way they are. Language isn't math and many rules are, at best, guidelines.

In particular in French I sometimes feel that rules are only there to justify the countless exceptions. ;)

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi all, 

"Elle est Marie" is incorrect.

I don't think the lesson is unclear ( I have checked others to see how this particular point was explained).

In my experience, this is very instinctive and this common error just sounds wrong in French. It is a mistake that even young French children won't make because it is instinctive.

I think the problem comes from the difference between what is said in English and in French.

C' = it or this 

so "C'est ma mère" will be, "This is my mother" or "She is my mother" in English , in French we hear, "This is my mother" or "It's my mother".

C'est mon frère = He's my brother (never, Il est mon frère)

Hard to explain.....

Hi Cécile,

I think it would be worth adding to the lesson an explicit statement that phrases like "il est mon frère" are wrong. (Not everyone will read the Q&A.)

"Il est mon frère" is so natural for an English speaker that it really has to be emphasised that it is incorrect, otherwise we just assume that both "c'est mon frère" and "il est mon frère" are correct, and then we probably make the further error that one means "it's my brother" and the other means "he's my brother".

Forgive me if i'm over-simplifying but it seems obvious and instintive (instinctual? i dont know and i'm a native english speaker lol) to say "C'est Marie" because that's what one would also respond in natural English.  One wouldn't respond "She is Marie", but "It's Marie".  Of course, one could say the former, but that would probably be perceived as a non-native English-speaking response.  It's far more natural to say and hear "It's Marie" vs the other.

I agree to Chris 

Chris you give nice answers

Why the answer to "Qui est cette fille?" is " C'est Marie" instead of "Elle est Marie"?

Since 'cette fille' is referring to a specified girl, as explained in case 2b, shouldn't we use 'elle est'?

Thanks

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Any Sylvie?

Another problem I have here is with the explanations in the lesson. It says that when talking about SOMETHING SPECIFIC, you should use elle/il. But then there's this example: Qui est Sylvie ? - C'est ma sœur. 

I would think that here we are talking about a very specific Sylvie, and not just some Sylvie. Then why do we say c'est instead of elle? 

Asked 1 year ago

Hi Arndis, if you look again at the lesson you'll see it's divided into 2 parts.

1. c'est in sentences it/he/she is + a/the/my... + [thing/people]


In this case you always use "c'est". This includes your example: "Qui est Sylvie ? - C'est ma sœur. "
2. Cases expressing opinions or simple statements (adjectives) about prementioned thingsThe rule about specific/unspecific comes here, but this is not relevant to your example.

Any Sylvie?

Another problem I have here is with the explanations in the lesson. It says that when talking about SOMETHING SPECIFIC, you should use elle/il. But then there's this example: Qui est Sylvie ? - C'est ma sœur. 

I would think that here we are talking about a very specific Sylvie, and not just some Sylvie. Then why do we say c'est instead of elle? 

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She's a good dancer - c'est?

I understand that things have a male/female gender in French, unlike English where things generally are neutral, but is it really so that you can use "c'est" about a person? 
Asked 1 year ago

Hi Arndís,

I do believe that the English translations are misleading. 

"C'est la fille de Marie." Should be translated as "It's Martha's daughter." And not "She is Martha's daughter." Which would, in fact, be "Elle est la fille de Martha."

-- Chris. 

I'm not sure this is right. According to the first part of this lesson:

If it/he/she is is followed by un/une/le/la... (any form of article / determinant) - it is a beautiful dress / she is a nice person - then you will use c'est.

So strictly speaking you shouldn't say "Elle est la fille de Martha."

Therefore "C'est" will be used in many cases where you would say "he/she is" in English and should be translated as "he/she".

That's not what I'm confused about. That sounds perfectly logical to me. 

I asked the question after doing a writing excercise where the correct translation of "she's a good dancer" started with c'est (I can't remember the exact sentence, but probably it was "c'est une bonne danseuse") and that makes no sense to me. Is that correct French? 

Yes, it's correct French. I'm not sure what you're confused about, and what you think is logical. How do you think "she's a good dancer" should be translated into French, given that it can't be "elle est une bonne danseuse"?
"Elle est une bonne danseuse" sounds logical to me, and strange to talk about people as "it". Thank you for the confirmation, I'll just have to get used to it, then, haha! :) 

She's a good dancer - c'est?

I understand that things have a male/female gender in French, unlike English where things generally are neutral, but is it really so that you can use "c'est" about a person? 

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"Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres joli."

"Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres joli." I said "Oui, il est..." and was marked wrong. Why is that? The object referred to is specific - "le violet". This is not a general statement.
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi David,

You cannot say about a colour -

‘ Le violet, il est joli ‘

It has to be -

C’est joli

You could say however,

‘Ce pull violet est très joli ‘

or,

Ce violet est très joli’

Hope this helps!

"Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres joli."

"Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres joli." I said "Oui, il est..." and was marked wrong. Why is that? The object referred to is specific - "le violet". This is not a general statement.

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Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres joli.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super star

Answered...

Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres joli.

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AnnC1

In the lesson we are to translate "It was my favorite word for years" The word referred to was baguette. Since it is a specific word, why is the trans

lation using C'est?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Ann,

It is because in French you cannot say -

‘Il était mon mot préféré .....‘

You have to say -

C’etait mon mot préféré ...’ 

Just as you cannot say-

il est le /la/les

 

 

Hope this helps!

In the lesson we are to translate "It was my favorite word for years" The word referred to was baguette. Since it is a specific word, why is the trans

lation using C'est?

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Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres jolie!

If this asking if you like a specific colour. Why is it not "Oui, il est tres jolie!

Another referred to ma coupe - it was Elle est tres ....., WHY elle here?

Thanks

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Dragana,

Yes 'violet' refers to the colour here :

J'adore le violet , c'est très joli. (I love purple it's a beautiful colour)

You would use 'c'est' + adjective in the masculine form for general comments.

Le bleu, c'est beau mais froid comme couleur dans une chambre.

( Blue is a beautiful colour but cold for a bedroom.)

J'ai peint ma salle à manger en jaune, c'est très gai. (I painted my dining room in yellow , it's very cheerful)

I agree with Chris on the haircut it is most specific here.

Hope this helps!

 

I guess it is because it is anything in violet, not a specific color. You would probably say:

Tu aimes la couleur de mon pull? -- Oui, il te va bien.

Concerning the haircut: it is a specific haircut, namely yours and not any haircut in general. Hence "elle".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Or, Oui, elle te va bien. If you want to refer to the specific color of the sweater. 

-- Chris. 

Tu aimes le violet? Oui, c'est tres jolie!

If this asking if you like a specific colour. Why is it not "Oui, il est tres jolie!

Another referred to ma coupe - it was Elle est tres ....., WHY elle here?

Thanks

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Miam, c'est délicieux! Why not il est?

Miam, c'est délicieux! Why not il est? It's referring to something specific (the delicious specific thing being eaten), I assume, since we don't see the sentences before it.
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

I guess you need to know the context in which this sentence was said. If being asked, "Tu aimes la soupe?", one would likely reply by saying, "Oui, elle est délicieuse." referring specifically to the soup.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Okay, thank you.

Miam, c'est délicieux! Why not il est?

Miam, c'est délicieux! Why not il est? It's referring to something specific (the delicious specific thing being eaten), I assume, since we don't see the sentences before it.

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General vs. Particular

Do you like pizza? is a question about pizza in general. Therefore according to the lesson it should be C'est but the answer given is Elle. I think either the answer or the lesson should be changed.

Asked 1 year ago

Hi Catriona,

can you post the entire sentence you have a question about? I am not sure what the context is.

-- Chris.

It was about the difference between C'est and il/elle when answering a question about whether you like something or what do you think of it. The lesson said if asked how do you like school, for example, you would answer C'est génial, but if asked how do you like your new school you would say Elle est géniale. But then the question was how do you like pizza, and the correct answer was given as elle not c'est.

Yes, absolutely correct.

Tu aimes pizza? -- Oui, c'est bon.
Tu aimes cette pizza ? -- Oui, elle est bonne.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Catriona !

I looked at your Correction Board, and you had actually selected "elle", which was indeed marked incorrect, while "c' " was the correct answer.
To report on specific questions such as in this case, you should use the "Report issue" button, so we can access the very question you're referring to :)

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

General vs. Particular

Do you like pizza? is a question about pizza in general. Therefore according to the lesson it should be C'est but the answer given is Elle. I think either the answer or the lesson should be changed.

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New algorithm not working?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Catriona !

If you're reporting a technical issue, please use the "report issue" button rather than the Q&A please :)

New algorithm not working?

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Ton assiette. 'ton' is masculine. Right? So why we use 'elle' in the example?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

You are correcte in noticing that "ton" is the masculine form while "assiette" is feminine. This apparent mismatch is due to the word assiette starting with a vowel. "Ta assiette" would have two vowels clashi g in a difficult to pronounce combination.
The French take the simple way out and use the masculine form whenever this happens.

"Mon amie" is another example. "Amie" is female but you use "mon" nonetheless I believe there is a dedicated lesson on this.

-- Chris.

AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Kyaw!

Chris is right there, you can see the related lesson:

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/use-mon-not-ma-with-feminine-nouns-starting-with-a-vowel-or-mute-h-possessive-adjectives

However, I also agree this example is a bit complicated and misleading at this level, so I've decided to replace it with a more straightforward sentence.

Merci et à bientôt !

Bonjour Claus et Aurélie. Merci beaucoup.

Ton assiette. 'ton' is masculine. Right? So why we use 'elle' in the example?

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Merci Ron.

Bonne journée.
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1Correct answer
Bonjour Rene,
Je vous en prie.
à vous aussi, bonne journée

Merci Ron.

Bonne journée.

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Q about lawlessfrench

It looks exactly like kwiziq site: same lessons, same q&a. Am I missing something?
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
Kwiziq and progress with Lawless French both use Kwiziq. I had the same question and asked about it to which Gareth replied. Bonne chance.

Q about lawlessfrench

It looks exactly like kwiziq site: same lessons, same q&a. Am I missing something?

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Sorry about my typos...

There is no way for me to correct my question.
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
No problem, je comprends complètement.

Sorry about my typos...

There is no way for me to correct my question.

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Ron, thanks.

Sometimes you say "it's being repeated, therefore use c'est ". But in the case of Didier, its being repeated, so il is OK. IOW, I don't know when to use cest or il! What a struggle! You mentioned context. I made up all my examples. Could this lesson provide LOTS OF EXAMPLES WITHCONTELX CONTEXT? Maybe by reading dozens of context based examples, we learners may eventually get this difficult topic...
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
Bonsoir Rene, Here are four more sites that cover the use of il vs c'est. Hopefully you can get a better understanding from these different ways of explaining this. http://laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/pro3.html https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/cest-vs-il-est/ https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est https://www.thoughtco.com/french-expressions-cest-vs-il-est-4083779 Bonne chance.

Ron, thanks.

Sometimes you say "it's being repeated, therefore use c'est ". But in the case of Didier, its being repeated, so il is OK. IOW, I don't know when to use cest or il! What a struggle! You mentioned context. I made up all my examples. Could this lesson provide LOTS OF EXAMPLES WITHCONTELX CONTEXT? Maybe by reading dozens of context based examples, we learners may eventually get this difficult topic...

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Still confused.

Paris? C'est magnifique ! Why? Paris is a very specific place? Didier ? Il est très intelligent. Ok Ma nouvelle voiture? __ est très confortable. Not sure when to use ce or il/elle...
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
Bonjour Rene, Here is the part of the lesson that I believe is appropriate: Cases expressing opinions or simple statements (adjectives) about prementioned things, look at these rules: a - c'est for general, unspecific statements and opinions Actually, to me, Paris in the phrase mentioned appears to have been mentioned previously, i.e. Paris?, the question mark in oral or written format tends to indicate the word is being repeated back; hence the use of «c'est» For example: speaker: Have you visited Paris: responder: Paris? Oui, c'est magnifique! -->As far as Didier is concerned: hopefully one does not know too many people named Didier so i would think that is quite specific. --> Ma nouvelle voiture? __ est très confortable. Again there is a question mark like it is being repeated during a conversation, so «c'est» would be appropriate. Again as has been stated many times in various lessons, it is all about the context. Without the complete context, a phrase is difficult to analyze to obtain the exact sense. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet Ron (a non-native speaker)

Still confused.

Paris? C'est magnifique ! Why? Paris is a very specific place? Didier ? Il est très intelligent. Ok Ma nouvelle voiture? __ est très confortable. Not sure when to use ce or il/elle...

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Martha's son is a very specific person. Why not "il est"?

I think I m getting it

Ce sont+article+noun : ce sont des devoirs difficiles ;c'est le fils de... Il est + adjectifs (specific things, people) Tes devoirs ? ils sont difficiles. Ce garçon : il est gentil.
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer
Salut Rene, both options are correct, after conferring with a French native speaker. They emphasize slightly different meanings though, just as in English:

1) Il est le fils de Martha -- He is Martha's son.
2) C'est le fils de Martha -- It is Martha's son.

-- Chris (not a native speaker)

Martha's son is a very specific person. Why not "il est"?

I think I m getting it

Ce sont+article+noun : ce sont des devoirs difficiles ;c'est le fils de... Il est + adjectifs (specific things, people) Tes devoirs ? ils sont difficiles. Ce garçon : il est gentil.

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Seem specific to me?

I'm still having trouble with these two examples: C'est vraiment magnifique ici! It's really beautiful here! - ici seems to make it specific, is it not? Miam, c'est délicieux! Yummy, it's delicious! -this seems to fit the ambiguous cases example of the soup. We don't know if the speaker is talking about a certain food in general or something in front of them. That would make a difference, wouldn't it?
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
Bonjour Katy, Here is the explanation in the lesson: Cases expressing opinions or simple statements (adjectives) about pre-mentioned things, look at these rules: a - c'est for general, unspecific statements and opinions Tu étudies la science ? - Oui, c'est passionnant ! Do you study science? - Yes, it's thrilling! C'est vraiment magnifique ici! It's really beautiful here! Miam, c'est délicieux! Yummy, it's delicious! In those cases, we're expressing opinions or statements that refer to the thing generally: we're saying science in general is thrilling, or that something unspecified is great or delicious. Therefore, here we use c'est to say it is. I tend to be in agreement with you; however, I think that there is nothing mentioned in advance of the two phrases, i.e. le paysage or la soupe makes it more general in the terms of the lesson. Bonne chance,
Thanks for your response. It is not very helpful though as you just copied the text from the lesson which I had already read several times. And then you said you that you seem to agree with my question. Hopefully someone else will come along and give a real answer.
RonC1
Bonjour Katy, My apologies that you did not find my answer helpful. So, here are some other links that you might possibly find more helpful. The first two are by Laura, another of the Progress with Lawless French and Kwiziq team. https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/cest-vs-il-est/ https://www.thoughtco.com/french-expressions-cest-vs-il-est-4083779 http://laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/pro3.html https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est I find at times, when I do not fully understand the lesson on one site, if I look at a similar lesson from another author, that can give me a different perspective and better understanding. J'espère que cela vous aiderait. Bonne chance.
Hi Katy, you use "il/elle est...." if there is something specific it could refer to. In the sentence "It is beautiful here" the "it" doesn't refer to anything specific (grammatically speaking, not geographically). To make it specific, you'd need some contect such as: "Tu vois cette maison? Elle est magnifique!" Here you use elle because it refers to a specific object (the house) which is mentioned before. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

I have the same concern. The corrected answer uses "C'est" but in the reading material provided, this example is given and seems identical: "Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau."

How are the two different?

Seem specific to me?

I'm still having trouble with these two examples: C'est vraiment magnifique ici! It's really beautiful here! - ici seems to make it specific, is it not? Miam, c'est délicieux! Yummy, it's delicious! -this seems to fit the ambiguous cases example of the soup. We don't know if the speaker is talking about a certain food in general or something in front of them. That would make a difference, wouldn't it?

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TamaniA2

Adjectives after c'est are masculine

Yet the examples state: "C'est une jolie robe," and "C'est une bonne nageuse." Why is the feminine used here?
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Tamani, When c'est is followed only by an adjective, it's masculine: C'est joli, C'est bon, C'est intéressant. When it's followed by a noun and adjective, as in your examples, the adjective follows the normal rules of agreement.
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Thanks to your question Tamani, I've now updated the related lesson to remove any ambiguity :) Merci et à bientôt !
TamaniA2
I'm glad I've made an impact! Merci!
Hi Aurèlie, what did you change in the lesson because after reading it several times I still had the same question as Tamani, although your response did answer my question. Thanks
Tamani asked:View original

Adjectives after c'est are masculine

Yet the examples state: "C'est une jolie robe," and "C'est une bonne nageuse." Why is the feminine used here?

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the first rule and the second are the same?

the first rule says 1. usec'est in sentences it/he/she is + a/the/my... + thing/people but the 2nd says when using If it/he/she is is followed by un/une/le/la - use c'est. - but isnt 'un' 'a' anyway? - im not sure I understand the difference here...
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
use c'est in sentences it/he/she is + a/the/my... + thing/people when using If it/he/she is is followed by un/une/le/la - use c'est After rereading the lesson, the second phrase of your question is stated after the examples and is a further explanation of c'est. That being said, the second rule states: "2. Cases expressing opinions or simple statements (adjectives) about previously mentioned things, look at these rules: a - c'est for general, unspecific statements and opinions" I hope this helps.

the first rule and the second are the same?

the first rule says 1. usec'est in sentences it/he/she is + a/the/my... + thing/people but the 2nd says when using If it/he/she is is followed by un/une/le/la - use c'est. - but isnt 'un' 'a' anyway? - im not sure I understand the difference here...

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DanielA2

Tu aimes la couleur violette ? Oui, ________ est très joli!

This is a test question. I wrote "elle" and the valid answer is c' . OK, I get it, "joli" is masculine so elle is not appropriate, but shouldn't it be possible to say "oui, elle est très jolie"?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Daniel ! Actually here the statement refers to the colour purple in general, so in French we will choose the general "c'est" to comment on it. We'll tend to use "elle" if we're referring to a specific object, for example: "Tu aimes la *chemise* violette ? Oui, *elle* est très jolie." (Do you like the purple shirt? Yes, it's pretty.) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
Daniel asked:View original

Tu aimes la couleur violette ? Oui, ________ est très joli!

This is a test question. I wrote "elle" and the valid answer is c' . OK, I get it, "joli" is masculine so elle is not appropriate, but shouldn't it be possible to say "oui, elle est très jolie"?

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Que est cet homme? C'est Marc Dupre.

This is a test question. Why is this not "Il est Marc Dupre!"? It seems to be a very specific prementioned thing. It is not case 1. Is it really case 2a?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
I agree with your reasoning on this, a named person is quite specific.
GruffKwiziq language super star
Hi Thomas, I think that was a typo is it should be "QUI est cet homme?" With people, it's the first rule that applies. The second rule is applicable to things. I hope that helps, Gruff.

Que est cet homme? C'est Marc Dupre.

This is a test question. Why is this not "Il est Marc Dupre!"? It seems to be a very specific prementioned thing. It is not case 1. Is it really case 2a?

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sdfsdf

Could someone help me with the following question from quiz 789678: I use these tomatoes. These are the last ones. J'utilise ces tomates. Ce sont les dernières. Why is it not "... Elles sont les dernières."?
Asked 2 years ago
P.S. Sorry for title and formatting of question above... I didnt realise you cant edit your post after submitting it
I worked it out... it is because of the following statement from #1 above: If "it is" is followed by un/une/le/la...(any form of article / determinant) - it is a beautiful dress - then you will use c'est. I'll try to be more careful in reading the notes in the future :)

sdfsdf

Could someone help me with the following question from quiz 789678: I use these tomatoes. These are the last ones. J'utilise ces tomates. Ce sont les dernières. Why is it not "... Elles sont les dernières."?

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C'est or Il/Elle Est

Seriously lost on this one - you mention that C'est will be followed by a noun nd il/elle by an adjective yet in the practice test 'Tu aimes la couleur violette ? Oui, ________ est très joli!' expects the response C'est
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Meghna, "La couleur violette" is a noun (couleur) followed by an adjective (violette) so this counts as a noun and is why c'est is the correct response. Also, the fact that the last word is joli (masculine) rather than jolie (feminine) is another hint: c'est is always followed by a masculine noun, whereas if the subject were elle, it would have to be jolie.

C'est or Il/Elle Est

Seriously lost on this one - you mention that C'est will be followed by a noun nd il/elle by an adjective yet in the practice test 'Tu aimes la couleur violette ? Oui, ________ est très joli!' expects the response C'est

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ARRRRRGGGHHHHH - French grammar !

Asked 2 years ago
Bonjour Charlie, Use "il est" if: it's an adjective describing a person; an unmodified adverb or noun, or a prepositional phrase. Use "c'est" if: it's an adjective describing a situation; or a modified adverb or noun, or a proper name or stressed pronoun. Google search: il est vs c'est, and you'll find this explained with examples. Good Luck! Cheryl

ARRRRRGGGHHHHH - French grammar !

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Perhaps I'm just not getting this?

Above, you say: C'est in sentences "it is + a/the/my... + thing" C'est une jolie robe. It is a pretty dress. The sentence above is referring to a specific dress, otherwise how could we say it is pretty? Yet, further down the page, I read this: "...Il est/elle est for statements and opinions related to specific things: Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau. Do you like my sweater? -Yes, it's very nice..." According the this, the sentence should be: "Elle est une jolie robe".
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Yes, we'll work on this lesson very soon, but in the meantime, the difference in these specific cases is that c'est is followed by a noun, while il / elle est is followed by an adjective.
Thanks Laura!
Is this correct: Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau. Or Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, c'est un très beau pull.

Perhaps I'm just not getting this?

Above, you say: C'est in sentences "it is + a/the/my... + thing" C'est une jolie robe. It is a pretty dress. The sentence above is referring to a specific dress, otherwise how could we say it is pretty? Yet, further down the page, I read this: "...Il est/elle est for statements and opinions related to specific things: Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau. Do you like my sweater? -Yes, it's very nice..." According the this, the sentence should be: "Elle est une jolie robe".

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Instead of What?

At the top of the page, you write, "If "it is" is followed by un/une/le/la...(any form of article / determinant) - it is a beautiful dress - then you will use c'est instead". Instead of what? I don't understand. Thanks. Pauline
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Pauline, Instead of il / elle est, but I agree it's worded poorly - we'll get it fixed. Merci !
Thanks Laura!
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Pauline ! The text of the lesson has been edited to make it clearer, thanks to you! Merci et à bientôt !

Instead of What?

At the top of the page, you write, "If "it is" is followed by un/une/le/la...(any form of article / determinant) - it is a beautiful dress - then you will use c'est instead". Instead of what? I don't understand. Thanks. Pauline

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