"They are good people."

Translation:Ce sont de bonnes personnes.

January 3, 2013

This discussion is locked.


It's the joy of the partitive article (des) again.

"Elle est une personne". one person

"Elles sont des personnes". [some] people

Except here we've got an adj (bonne) as well, so (des) becomes (de).

Despite knowing these rules, I get them constantly wrong myself...


Why is the "de" required in this sentence? What is wrong with "Elles sont bonnes personnes"


My problem is ce sont vs ils sont. Why would ils sont not work?


It's a grammar rule for "modified nouns" - see http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500c.htm

Ils sont bons / Elles sont bonnes - adjective on its own

ce sont mes parents - article + noun

ce sont de bonnes personnes - adjective + noun


Why "gens bons" and not "bons gens"?


The position depends on the meaning. Here is a lesson on adjective placement: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_fickle.htm


That article is really helpful - glad to know what these adjectives depending on their placement. Bon placed after is good in the moral sense, and I see also bien can be used: Ce sont des gens bien - see: http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/bon.htm

I am also wondering what are the nuances of "un homme bien" as it seems to be used in the romantic sense. If I say a man is "un homme bien" will people think I fancy him?


ils sont bons gens? Isn't that correct?


I'm not an expert in these matters, but from what I gather "gens" is used to refer to a generic unspecific group of people and "personnes" is used to refer to a specific group of people. Although we don't have a context for this sentence they are good people does seems to suggest the speaker has specific people in mind, hence "personnes" and not "gens"

EDIT: And I assume you'd still need the article "de" so that might be why your sentence was marked wrong.


they also accept elles sont de bonnes personnes. i wonder if i can say ils sont de bons persons... that doesn't seem right. so i must use ce sont... to suggest a group of men?


I thought always c'est/ce sont ... before a noun. There isn't a masculine form "person" - the translation of person is "la personne" whether the person is male or female!


google translate says gens in feminine. ignoring the fact that I was cheating (trying to figure out the gender, not the word itself) I'm now wondering whether google translate was wrong or the answer here was wrong. It's a bit of a toss-up but I'm leaning towards google translate being wrong...both considering it so often is and that my first instinct was 'les gens bons'...I miss so many answers by ignoring my first instinct.


For a fun, weird, and utterly confusing fact about the gender of "gens" go to this Duo discussiong (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2277591) and check out BastouXII first comment.


"gens" is masculine plural. I prefer wordreference.com to google translate as I think google translate is often wrong.


but even duolingo just suggested 'bonnes gens' as a translation


why can't i use peuple?


Le peuple refers to a nation, the general public, a community - a body of people as a single unit. C'est un bon peuple would be "it is a good nation". Les gens are unspecified people and les personnes are specific people.


I said "sympas" for nice, isn't that correct? "Nice" is generally how my French friends translated "sympas"!


One of the correct solutions was ' de bonnes gens'. is that really better than de bons gens' ?



"Gens" is an interesting word from a grammar point of view.

When an adjective is placed before "gens" it takes the feminine form but an adjective placed after "gens" takes the masculine form.


how very interesting, never heard... Does it take on different meanings too, depending on its fluctuating position and resulting gender? It looks like it's trying to imitate 'personnes' when it has an adjective in front of it...


The meaning of "gens" doesn't change.

Even stranger it doesn't actually change gender. So even if "gens" is preceeded by an adjective (feminine form) any adjective or participle that follows "gens" in the same sentence will be in the masculine form.

So even within a single sentence "gens" can be treated in one part of the sentence as if feminine but in another part of the sentence be treated as if masculine.

E.g. "Les vielles gens sont attachés à leurs racines" (Old people are close to their roots) - As you will know if "gens" is feminine then we should have "attachées" and yet we have feminine "vielles" but masculine "attachés"

As I say "gens" is an interesting and strange word ;)


very intriguing, I must have a closer look, merci @patrickJaye!


De rien.

Good hunting - I just gave you a taster - wait til you see what happens when two adjectives are placed in front of it - but I won't spoil your fun in exploring lol.


when is personnes v gens used? Both mean people? so why is "Ce son de bonnes gens." incorrect?


why doesn't "ils sont des gentilles personnes" work is it a masculine feminine thing or is it just that the programers didn't take gentille into accout or is it just me being an idiot?


I can see a few things that might be the issue. First, if I have my French grammar correct, you don't use the word 'ils' in these sentence structures. The noun 'personne' used to describe the people being talked about is modified by 'des' and 'gentilles' in your example, thus requiring the word 'ce' instead of 'ils'. I don't have a link for more information, but it's worth looking into, and maybe someone else will provide one if they have it.

Second, the word 'gentille' literally means 'nice'. A nice person is not the same thing as a good person. My real estate agent was always really nice to me, but he was dishonest and lazy and just tried to rush me through the process so he could get his commission. (Found out too late that he doesn't have the best reputation) So I would say, that while he was a nice real estate agent, he wasn't a good one.


Romans 3:10-11 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understand, there is none that seek after God." This is why we need Jesus's righteousness to save us not by our own works which are filthy rags to God.

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