"Il est jeune, car c'est un garçon."

Translation:He is young, because he is a boy.

January 7, 2013

91 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/dovecoteben

"C'est un garcon"? Why not "il est un garcon"?

January 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/cloudblower

Anytime I run into something I know I can open up the discussion and likely have it resolved because of you. Thank you very much for all of your contribution to this site. Nous t'aimons !

January 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Thank you, je vous aime aussi !

January 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/avanade

Merci aussi, monsieur! ;p

August 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Aeniala

Same here, I've learned so much from Sitesurf's comment, they would be an excellent teacher :)

May 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/elsharwood

Wait, I'm still confused. How is "boy" a modified noun?

January 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

A modified noun is preceded by a determiner (article, possessive, demonstrative, number). This construction with "c'est" or "ce sont" (plural form) is used for human beings specifically and for a number of English versions:

  • he is a boy = c'est un garçon

  • he is a good boy = c'est un bon garçon (noun modified with adjective?)

  • they are my cousins = ce sont mes cousins

  • it is a wall = c'est un mur

  • this is mine = c'est à moi

January 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

I said that "c'est" is used to match a number of English versions - ie with personal pronouns (human beings), with "it" (impersonal/objects/animals) and even "this" or "that".

To clarify the issue, maybe you could try and remember 2 tips:

  • in English you would not say "it is a <human being>", but he/she. But in French, you can use the impersonal "c'est" construction.
  • "they" applying both to human or non human subjects (plural of he/she but also plural of it), when you translate into French, you say "ce sont".

Or learn by heart the examples I gave you earlier to try and remember them when you have to translate from English to French.

January 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

You use "c'est" instead of "il/elle est" when followed by a modified noun (not by an adjective).

  • he/she is young = il/elle est jeune
  • he is a boy, she is a girl = c'est un garçon, c'est une fille
April 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EmilijaLouise

Is there a way to mark comments so that you can come back to review them ? Coming back to French after speaking English almost exclusively, I keep tripping up on the c'est vs il est but your note here is extremely helpful and I should like to come back to it should I need to... :/

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jascuty

What I do to remember stuff like this is I get a post-it note and write the name of the tip (eg "il est VS c'est"). Then on the back I write some clues or helpful notes to help me remember. Then if I get stuck, all I have is do is look for the correct post-it note and turn it over for help.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jascuty

@Sitesurf: on my desk just in front of my computer for easy access, but I limit myself to 3 uses per day. I don't need my current post-it notes anymore because I have already learnt what is on them now just by making mistakes ;)

August 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

@Jassycats. I like your method!

August 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PetraMia

I am trying to understand when to use ''c'est'' and when ''il est'' and I can't seem to grasp it. Even though I've read french.about's lessons and did all the exercises there are so much contradictions. Even you, now you said that it is for human beings specifically, and then you say that ''it is a wall'' should be translated ''c'est un mur''. I know that even walls have ears, but they are not a human being last time I checked :)

January 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Please read this, it is even better than french.about:

http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est

December 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There must be some confusion here. In "c'est un garçon", "un" is not a preposition but an article.

The rule works with determiners in general: articles (c'est un/le garçon), possessive adjectives (c'est mon fils), and demonstrative adjectives (c'est ce garçon).

May 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DeveshSoma

Hi, I had the exact same confusion and asked a friend in France who is a French teacher. According to her "we always use c'est before preposition" For eg. Il est jeune, c'est un garçon. Normally we would wanna use "il est un garçon" isn't it. But not in French :) I've realised that this was the best way for me to spot when to use c'est instead of Il/Elle.

May 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jmm97138

Do you think the confusion stems from the several lessons in which Duo permitted the response, "il est un garçon"? Is is proper to use "c'est un garçon" all the time?

September 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Have you read this? http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est

"il est un garçon" sounds like old French (and it is) and modern French does not use it any more (why? I don't have a clue...).

You have probably come across the famous "he is a professor" in earlier lessons. That example is typical because it has two correct translations:

  • il est professeur: professions drop the article, then "professeur" is a non-modified noun, then you can keep "il est"

  • c'est un professeur: professeur is modified by article "un", then you have to change "il est un..." to "c'est un..."

December 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sumemon

Is the indefinite article really a modifier?

August 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Applying to this rule, modifiers can be: indefinite articles, definite articles, numbers, demonstrative adjectives, possessive adjectives.

There are only few exceptions.

August 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SVosloo

It is modified by the "un" indicating the number of boys

June 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sumemon

Un is not a number in this case but the indefinite article

August 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/angusj

So would "Il est jeune, car il est garçon" also be grammatically correct? (from the same logic as the "Il est avocat" example in the link)

February 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/EStyrke

No, I don't think you can say "garçon" without an article like that. Professions are a special case.

May 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

It is a rule that the English expressions: "he/she is + noun" or "they are + noun" are translated in "c'est" for singular and "ce sont" for plural.

February 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/EmilijaLouise

Above you said il est un garçon is old French. So could part of the reason I get tripped up be because I learned French from my grand-mère ? When I was in France, I remember people occasionally giggling good naturedly and saying that I spoke very old fashioned French. If so, what are other things I should be looking out for ?

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/xuanhienchess

Because after "c'est" is an article (un)

February 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/starwatcher

i was given three options, one other was "he is young, as he is a boy." why would that also not work?

January 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/xavislow

Agree. I do not know why 'as' is not accepted as one of the options

February 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wdawson65

it should. I was also given three options: because, for, and as. I used for, and the site took it as correct. why it wouldn't take as, i dont know. But whenever I use one of the options that is not the most common (which is usually the case), then it takes it. I am not sure why it wouldn't for you.

August 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/KimSCasey

I am pretty sure Sitesurf's avatar is a perfect rendering of him, an angel crying. :)

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lilymarthafont

I never thought of that before, but i bet youre right!

February 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/baerli

never mind the correct French.....the sentence more or less says that "he's young because he's young" It's not helpful to have odd....meaningless sentences....like "It's her first cow" ????What?????

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

Make a 'game' of it, try to think of a way that you could use it. Here for instance there could be a debate over an abstract painting of someone regarding whether it was an old or young male in the painting. You settle the argument by saying "he is young, because he is a boy", pointing to the previously unseen title of the work "Boy, in Abstract".

Focusing on the seeming inanity of sentences only hurts your ability to remember to main point that is being taught.

February 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/T.A.R.D.I.S.girl

Just because he is a boy, does NOT make him young... I'm sure some of us have grandfathers....

April 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jmm97138

Can this sentence be written correctly in French as "C'est jeune, car c'est un garçon"?

September 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

no, "il est " does not change to "c'est" in front of an adjective.

September 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jmm97138

that helps

September 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/KimSCasey

Sitesurf, je suis désole. Je ne comprends pas. Where is the adjective? garçon is a noun meaning "boy" now if you said, (Incorrectly?) c'est un garçon sale" he is a dirty (clean, handsome, ugly, happy, sad- anything that describes the boy) boy ( there are your adjectives) wouldn't you then apply the "Il est un garçon sale"...... am I missing something?

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There are two parts in this sentence:

  • he is young = he is + adjective => il est jeune

  • he is a boy = he is + article (modifyer) + noun => c'est un garçon

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KimSCasey

Thanks SS, OK, I get it, I mistakenly didn't identify young as an adjective. I was thinking more like He is a "youth" (noun) instead of Il set un jeune (?) He is a youth.......

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"un jeune/des jeunes" also exist as nouns in French (youth).

he is a youth = c'est un jeune (same rule as previously).

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Ch0colatosa

I wrote 'cause, instead of because. It's a common abbreviation. He's young, 'cause he's a boy. It was wrong anyways.

November 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Duo is not very flexible when it comes to non required contractions.

November 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Ch0colatosa

Yes, I noticed xD. Thanks!

November 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Dentarthurdent42

Is it normal to put commas before "car" (and I assume the same rules would apply to "parce que")? Because in English, you would woudn't separate the two parts: "He is young because he is a boy."

January 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The rule is indeed to place a comma before car, although with very short clauses (as in this sentence), it can be considered as optional.

January 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Nihou

When I was young I was taught that you didn't put a comma before a joining word. Does anyone know whether it is the same in French?..and if it is, why do duolingo put commas before very 'car'?

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

With coordinating conjunction (mais, ou, et, donc, or, ni, car), you can drop the preceding comma if the last clause is short enough:

  • il ne viendra pas car il est occupé.

  • il ne viendra pas, car il n'a pas pu trouver assez de temps pour se préparer.

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

Ditto in English.

February 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/OsamaHajissa

Please state in English too

February 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

He will not come because he is busy

He will not come, because he has not been able to find enough time to get ready.

February 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/olympianqueen

I was taught that "because" in English translates to the phrase "parce que" in French, not "car." What is the difference between the two, and why are there two words that supposedly mean "because"?

December 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The main difference is that "car" is a coordinating conjunction while "parce que" is a subordinating conjunction.

Practically, it just means that "car" cannot start a sentence.

  • parce que c'est un garçon, il aime le football
  • il aime le football car/, parce que c'est un garçon

Side note: you don't need a comma before a coordinating conjunction in simple sentences (this is valid for "et, ou, ni, or, mais, car, donc")

December 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/olympianqueen

So would you say that you would only use "parce que" to start sentences and "car" in the middle? Are there any special cases?

December 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

As you can see in the examples I gave above,

  • "parce que" can start a sentence and be placed in the course of a sentence.
  • "car" will only be used to "coordinate" two pieces of information within a sentence.
December 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/sumemon

Car enfin vous avez toujours raison

January 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

:-)

January 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/olympianqueen

Ah, I see. Merci beaucoup, Sitesurf!

January 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sumemon

So why is there a comma in the example?

December 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

As I wrote before on this thread, you only need a comma before "car" if the rest of the sentence is long. The sentence exercise here could do without a comma.

December 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tusharbajaj

is car same as parce?

January 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

yes, "car" and "parce que" are synonyms; they introduce the reason-why.

January 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/susanstory

In school I was taught that "parce que" means "because" but my penpal in France (who didn't speak any English) always used "car". She and I have been penpals since 1973. She was 16 and I was 17 when we started writing. She only emails me once a year now, very seldom. The last time was for New Year's Day, a few days ago, in French, of course. In French, of course. I can understand French but am not so good at expressing myself in French. I used to be able to write lots in French. I only ever used my French to write to her. Around here there are lots of French speaking people but it's not the same kind of French. They have a different accent, pronunciation and different words and I don't understand any of it. One time when I was in the post office, a red-headed postal worker was talking rapidly in French with a customer who was ahead of me. I didn't understand one word. Then he went away and she switched to English. It's a bilingual post office. The staff will speak English or French. Years ago, my dad told me that he went into the post office and said, "un timbre, s'il vous plait" and that was all he could say in French. Of course, they knew he didn't speak French so they probably spoke to him in English. Another time my dad told me that he said "Bonjour" to a Frenchman and the man started talking in French. My dad told me that he just said, "oui" every so often and the man kept on talking. My dad didn't understand a word he was saying but just kept on saying, "oui" every so often and the man kept on talking in French. He said after awhile the man walked away and looked happy.

January 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/johans2103

When use "Car" and when "Parce"?

December 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

You can use one or the other but remember that "parce" does not exist without "que": "... parce que c'est un garçon"

December 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/johans2103

Thanks a lot.

December 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/GabrielOvadia

I thought it is "ton garçon"… :/

January 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/annag

Why is it "il est jeune", and not "il est jeun"? I thought "il" meant a masculine referent.

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"jeune" is the masculine singular form (with an -e at the end).

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Geraldine8888

why not use parce qu'il un garcon

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

2 reasons:

  • you missed the verb 'is' = est
  • you cannot say "il est un garçon", but "c'est un garçon" - click here

therefore, instead of "car c'est un garçon", you could say "parce que c'est un garçon"

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/shromona

When does "car" mean "as" and when does it mean "because"??

June 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"car" and "because" are synonymous to introduce a reason why.

"Il est jeune car/parce que/puisque c'est un garçon" can translate "he is young as/for/because/since he is a boy".

June 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ANGELFRENCH

Why is my answer incorrect? Just because I used child instead of waiter? I don't understand!!!

October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The prime and correct translation for "garçon" is boy.

A child can be a girl or a boy.

A waiter is "un garçon de café" or "un serveur"

October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KatN9

Why is cause not an okay answer instead of because??! It's practically the same thing...

February 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Proper English is also welcome here, and "cause" instead of "because" is not.

February 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/dotsimey

Why are come comments marked "discussion locked"?

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Some discussions are locked when everything useful has already been explained (and several times) and all subsequent comments are irrelevant.

June 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/daughterofAlbion

I know that Duolingo sometimes uses bizarre, illogical sentences in order to teach grammatical structures, but I am unsure whether this sentence is as illogical as it instinctively feels.

It is, of course, illogical if "car" is a causitive meaning of "because"; he can be described as un garçon because he is jeune, rather than the converse. But it is not illogical if the "because" is meant in the sense of logical inference: "[we know that] he is young, because [we know that] he is a boy."

I am asking whether this is simply a somewhat random sentence, or whether the use of car in the logical reasoning sense of "because" is commoner in French?

June 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

@Daughter Of Albion. Hi mate. I'm never 100% on fine grammar but nobody seems to have responded to your really pertinent and useful query. I know just a few things: Car doesn't start a sentence. (Bear with me, I'm sure I'll say things that you know anyroad.) Parce que introduces a cause, explanation, or motive.....why something is DONE. Car can mean Because as in the same way in English as For may be used. So in my small mind, the boy is not young because he Intended and Succeeded in being a Boy. He is young As/For/.because he is a boy (where Boy is literal not as used in "Boy Band".) Now, I'll stick my neck out now and I stand to be corrected here by the "Grammarians to the rescue" team. I think that Parce que is a Subordinating Conjunction and can start a sentence whilst Car is a Coordinating Conjunction and does not start a sentence.. Know what? I very nearly understand that. :)

June 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/daughterofAlbion

Thank you JJ. Both for recognising the spirit of my enquiry - I am not carping at Duolingo's teaching method, merely trying to learn how French is used - and for providing a useful and succinct summary of the difference between the two French words for "because".

Your instinct agrees with my interpretation of car being used in a logical, rather than causitive, sense here.

You have more experience than I, my friend. In the absence of any contribution from the native speakers, can you give me your impression about how frequently it is used in this sense?

June 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"car" is essentially used in writing.
"parce que" often replaces it in spoken French because/for it is more versatile.

The reason why this sentence looks weird is that at this stage of the course, we don't have enough vocabulary to build neat sentences that both deliver a grammar notion and a reasonable meaning.

  • il est jeune car is est né en 1996 = he is young because/for he was born in 1996
  • il a pu entrer dans cette école car c'est un garçon brillant = he could enrol in this school because/for he is a bright boy
June 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/daughterofAlbion

Thank you Sitesurf, for answering both aspects of my question. You have corrected my understanding of the relative formality of the two possible translations of "because", and confirmed my impression that their use in the sense of deductive logic (rather than that implying causation, which is commoner in English) is a normal French usage.

June 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Amdeep

Sitesurf is a DON when it comes to explaining the wee intracacies of this lingo......RESPEK!

July 5, 2016
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