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  5. "Ce sont des hommes."

"Ce sont des hommes."

Translation:They are men.

January 5, 2013



why isn't it: ils sont des hommes?


"Ce sont instead of Ils/elles sont

Ce sont is used when the noun has an article (les or des) or a possessive before it. Say: Ce sont nos enfants, not: Ils sont nos enfants."


Im learning more from peoples random explanations than this trial and error thing... does duolingo not explain these rules?


If you have access to the web through a browser, the web version has Tips and notes for many lessons which are now accessed through a lightbulb button at the skills that have them.


I kept hearing "les hommes". Argh, I'm not that old!


I'm hearing that too... I really hate the robot voice


I swear the faster recording is saying les and the slow one des.


Me too. I repeated it several times and it sounds like: les hommes


Same . Very difficult to hear if she says des hommes or les hommes here.


What is the difference between 'ce' and 'ils/elles', and when would you use 'ce'?


There are lots of rules. The ones I can remember are:

IL EST: Adjective describing a person / C'EST: Adjective describing a situation

IL EST: Unmodified adverb / C'EST: Modified adverb

IL EST: Unmodified noun / C'EST: Modified noun

IL EST: Prepositional phrase (people) / C'EST: Proper name or profession


Would you be willing to provide examples of the last one?


Il est chez Marie. He is at Marie’s home.

C’est Marie. She is Marie. (Her name is Marie.)

Il est avocat. He is a lawyer. (That is what he does for a living.)

C’est l’avocat. This is the lawyer. (I told you about the lawyer. Well, here he is.)


C'est - comes before articles. Il/elle est - comes before when no articles are present


Just to make sure I've got it straight, ce = masc. sing. / cette = femme. sing. / ces = plural / c' = sing. followed by vowel. And that is all of the "c" group of articles, is this the way of it?


sorry, I just confused. Why Ce sont des hommes instead of Ces sont des hommes?


I found a youtube channel that helps me solidify these lessons in memory: Learn French with Alexa. Hth


I found her yt channel too. I love her videos. Great teacher!


I too would like to know why it is not, "Ces sont des hommes". AdindaRizt asks a great question and no one answers it.


"C'est" and "'ce sont" are fixed.

"ces" is only a demonstrative adjective you use before a noun: ces hommes/femmes = these/those men/women


To say (about my dog) "He is male" - should I say "Il est male" or "C'est male"?


Wouldnt "these are the men" also be correct?


I put "These are men" and I got it right.


Isn't ce sont, these are!!


« Ce sont » can mean “They are” or “These are” or “Those are”


Is there a rule for using ce sont instead of ils sont?


Yes. If there were a descriptive adjective or prepositional phrase for people, it would be:

« Ils sont forts. » or « Ils sont au parc. »

an un modified adverb « Il est tard. »

or a noun with no articles « Il est médecin. »,

but a noun with an article (le, la, l’, les, du, de la, de l’ or des) or a possessive adjective (mon, ma, mes, ton, ta, tes, son, sa, ses, notre, nos, votre, vos, leur, leurs) then it must be:

« Ce sont des hommes. »

and an adjective describing a situation « C’est bizarre. »,

a proper name « C’est Luc. »

and a modified adverb « C’est trop tard. »



C'est - comes before articles. Il/elle est - comes when no articles are present.


Good catch, thank you!


I thought in French there was always an article before the noun.


Usually, except for when stating someone’s profession name. “I am a doctor.”
« Je suis médecin. »

Scroll up or down for more information.


I get really confused here. In fact, I have a problem with the notes, it says c'est is for Impersonal Subject Pronoun and il/elle est is for Personal Subject Pronoun.

My question here is what is a Impersonal Subject Pronoun and Personal Subject Pronoun? And then Why can't I say: "ils sont des hommes?"


A personal subject pronoun is he or she or they or I or we or you. An impersonal subject pronoun would be it or (this or that) or (these or those). In French, that doesn’t indicate how to translate though, because there are many special rules about when to use (il or elle) or (ils or elles) and when to use c’est or ce sont.
You must say « Ce sont des hommes. ». You do not have a choice,

So their impersonal subject pronoun ce or c’ can mean “it” or “they” or (“this” or “that”, they do not differentiate these which is why in French they are not demonstrative pronouns, because you won’t know if they are here or there.) or (“these” or “those”).

So, if there is an article in front of the noun (le, la, l’, les, du, de la, de l’, des) whether definite or indefinite or a possessive adjective (ma, mon, mes, ta, ton, tes, sa, son, ses, notre, nos, votre, vos), then you must use « c’est... » for singular or « ce sont... » for plural.



Merci. My original answer was "These are men," but it was, apparently wrong. Your answer is helpful, but I am still puzzled as to why google translate says "Ils sont des hommes" and "Ce sont des hommes" both mean "They are men." And if you ask for a translation of "These are men," google translate says "Ce sont des hommes." !


Google translate usually translates word by word, but that does not account for grammar. Someone may have corrected the particular translation for the English to French so that helps it to be correct. Your translation is also correct and you could report it, but the entire point of these exercises is to notice the English to French requirement and maybe by allowing “these” and “those” the reverse sentences might randomly ask with those words instead of with “they”. Perhaps this can be corrected sentence by sentence.


Ok, so this is a rule


Why is it that when we say "we are man" we say "Nous sommes des hommes", but when we say "they are men" we have to say "Ce sont des hommes" and not "Ils sont des hommes"?


I am a man. We are men. Possibly typo? Good question. “Ils sont hommes.”, but “Ce sont des hommes.” There are very specific rules when to use “Ce sont” or “C’est” and when to use “ils sont” or “il est”.



Why is it not "That are men."?


That is used for the singular noun and men is plural


I am not a native english speaker. Would "It's men" be correct? For example: if it is late in the night and suddenly I hear noise outside, and it comes from men laughing out loud, woud it be correct to say "It's (just) men"?


"It's men" would be correct, but it would be better to say "it's some men" or "it's just some men" in the situation you describe.


To say "It's just men" in that scenario would be totally acceptable, dont listen to the other comment saying it would be better to say "its just SOME men"...the way you said it is every bit as common and acceptable


Yes, "It's (just) men" is correct.


Why is it not "Ce sont les hommes"?


This is the translation for "They are the men".


'This is some men' doesnt work and why?

[deactivated user]

    Because "This is" are singular, and "some men" is plural. You would say, These are our dogs, not This is our dogs. However, I still don't get the Ce vs. Ces in this question.


    It is always « ce sont », because «ce » is a pronoun that is invariable while « ces » is an adjective and must have a plural noun with it. «  Ces hommes sont ici. » is « These men are here. » or “Those men are here.” depending on where in the conversation they were mentioned. Oh English can use the singular pronoun sometimes in front of a statement about more than one person “ It’s them!” Duh, duh duh!


    I don't understand this. Isn't ce a demonstrative adjective meaning thes? why is translated as They are men. Any one can comment?


    For "ce" to be a demonstrative adjective, you need a masculine singular noun to follow:

    • ce chien, ce joli manteau


    Yes, “ce” is used as a demonstrative pronoun here. In English we could use demonstrative pronouns here also We could say “They are men.”, “Those are men.” or “These are men.” The difference is that you cannot say “ils sont des hommes.” in French, so the lesson is concentrating on teaching us that even for “They are men.”, it is required to use “Ce sont des hommes.”


    Did I hear 'des' as dez? is a liaison made because 'des' ends with a consonant and 'hommes' begins with an 'h'?


    "Hommes" has a mute H and therefore a liaison is possible: des hommes = dezom


    "Des" is the plural of "un" or "une" and it is required with the meaning of "more than one.


    Why is "They are some men" wrong? Not the most natural translation, but should still be valid I think.


    Exactly, it is not natural English. If you were talking about quantity, you would say “Some of them are men.” This statement is about identity. “They are men.” (not boys) In English there is an expression, “They are some men.” said with emphasis on the word “some” which would mean that they are special in some way which would require an adjective in French. At least that last one exists in American English, I am not sure if British English also has that expression.

    Now you could say “There are some men.” , but that would be “Il y a des hommes.” which is about their existence or you could point and say “Voilà les hommes.” which is an expression for “There are the men.” with an emphasis on where they are.

    You could say “They are just some men.” (What did you think they were?) but again that would require an added word in French as well.


    i don't think i'll ever get this! The sad part is i grew up in Egypt and studied french all the way till 9th grade when i moved to the USA, i used to know french, now i'm 40 & trying to learn it again & it seems impossible..C'est impossible..there you go, lol


    Why not These are men? Thanks in advance.


    Technically, yes, but we are more likely to say “They are men.” if they are close to us and possibly “Those are men.” if they are far and someone wasn’t sure what was over there.


    Ce sont des hommes can = Those are the men, they are the men etc. Correct??


    No, that would be “Ce sont les hommes.”

    “Ce sont des hommes.” could be “They are men.”, “These are men.” or “Those are men.” “Ce” is not specific as to where.” which is why “They are men.” might be the better translation. “Ceux-ci sont des hommes.” would actually be “These are men.” and “Ceux-là sont des hommes.” would actually be “Those are men.”


    because "ci" is here and 'la' is there?


    Yes, “ici” is the word for “here”, but the combined form “Ceux-ci” is the masculine plural form (technically, “these ones here”) which is translated to the demonstrative pronoun “These”. The location “there” is “là” and “over there” is “là-bas” and “ceux-là is the masculine plural form (technically, “those ones there”) which is the demonstrative pronoun “Those”. The location “there” is not to be confused with the expression “There is...” or “There are...” which are really about existence: “Il y a...”


    my brain remembers these here & those there. That's how i connect ceux-ci with here and ceux-la with those :)


    Am I the only one who have problems hearing the 's' in hommes?


    No, the ‘s’ in “hommes” is not usually supposed to be pronounced and is silent here as it should be. https://www.thoughtco.com/beginning-french-pronunciation-1369548

    There are times when a normally silent ending letter is pronounced. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2004908/French-liaisons-between-words

    • 1726

    I am not hearing the difference between Ce and C'est


    Ce sounds a bit like [suh] really just a schwa sound though, and C’est sounds a bit like [say] without the y sound.

    Listen to native speakers here: https://forvo.com/search/Ce%20%20C%e2%80%99est/

    • 1726

    that link is very useful. thx! playing the sentence slow and fast on duolingo sounds different sometimes..


    “C’est” is the word “ce” combined with the verb “est” into a contraction. Does the slow version separate that out? I know for sure that the slow version goes word by word so it ignores liaisons, but I thought that the contraction was kept together. Always listen to the regular or (fast) one afterwards to hear the liaisons. Here is a great link about liaisons: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/liaisons/


    I typed "These are men" why was I corrected?

    Isn't "Ce" These and They?


    Ce can be these or those and there are specific ways to specify which, so “they” is the better translation here when talking about people.


    what is the difference here?


    Difference between what and what? Please copy what you entered if you want us to help you.


    What is wrong to say "ils sont des hommes." Does it not mean "ils sont"= they are?


    There are strict rules in French when to use “ils sont” or “il est” and when to use “ce sont” or “c’est”. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-expressions-cest-vs-il-est-4083779


    It just does not like the way I'm saying 'hommes.' Doesn't it rhyme with Holmes, just without the hard H?


    No, it is not a long o sound, there is no l sound at all and no s sound. In a different sentence with a word that follows with a beginning vowel sound, the s will sound like a z and attach itself to that following word in what they call a liaison. Since “hommes” begins with a vowel sound, there is a liaison from the s in “des” which sounds like a z attached to it. Some French people will add a schwa sound for the e in hommes when it is the last word of a sentence or when there is a consonant sound next. https://forvo.com/search/Des%20hommes/

    This is the open O sound described in the link below as sounding like the o in the English word “ton”: https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-o-1369576

    I don’t know if it helps, but my way of showing the sound to myself is [seh sō(nasal) dā zum]


    um... cant you say both of these?


    Can it be ce sont les hommes


    No, that would be “They are the men.”

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