"It is beautiful to love!"
Translation:C'est beau d'aimer !
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The phrase "C'est beau d'aimer" is an example of an impersonal expression. "C'" (or "it" in English) is a "dummy" subject as it does not refer to a real noun like it would in the following: "J'ai une pomme. C'est rouge." In the latter, "C'" refers to "pomme," but the former doesn't appear to refer to anything in particular. This type of impersonal expression is constructed using il est/c'est + adjective + preposition + intransitive infinitive. While the preposition "d'" may seem redundant, this construction requires it.
from what i've seen (and i'm only at the DELF B1 in-progress level) it is generally using masculine articles with words that start with vowels. example: apartment is a masculine word, but the french say "un bel apartment" not "un beau apartment". belle is feminine, normally you use beau for the masculine. "bel" is a masculinized form of "belle". Always you say "mon ami" even if your friend is a woman, that kind of thing. also with certain nous verb conjugations they change the spelling because they dont like a hard "g" sound and if the root ends with a "g" they will add and "e" so it's a soft "ge" sound ("nous mangeons") but the truth is there isn't much logic or consistency with the exceptions, when you ask why they say it sounds better in certain cases or "that's just the way it is done" which to them means ends the discussion. i have a masters in english literature and truly struggle with understanding french even though i live here and am lucky enough to have many kind french people helping me. it's a tough oral language to be able to hear when spoken normally. i'm hoping if i can really grasp the grammer and integrate it into my thinking i'll be able to better "hear" the words. a huge part of my battle is learning to discard my need for logic and consistency. bon courage!
I wonder if it has something to do with the translation of say 'to love' in this infinitive form maybe only being translated in this way (with the 'to') after another verb? Perhaps after an adjective/adverb such as 'beautiful' in this sentence, the de is still grammatically required? I am not a native French speaker, but to me it sounds right to add the de, but my hunch is that this also relates to a grammatical rule.
Surprised that this complicated sentence construction that I'd never seen came right after the simple 'Salut!' in my practise...
It would pass in other romance languages ("amare è bello", "amar é bom/bonito" etc., correct me if I'm wrong), but french has been much more influenced by germanic languages through history, maybe that's the reason. Germanic languages are very fond of dummy subjects, such as "it"/"es"/"det" etc. to fill in the subject position, while romance languages very often don't need it. English: It rains German: Es regnet Italian: Piove Portuguese: Chove but french: il pleut.
Why is it de and not à here? In the notes it says that à is used for constructions without an object and de is used for constructions with an object. My understanding is that this sentence doesn't have an object because it doesn't specify what they're loving, so I said "C'est beau à aimer" but was marked wrong.
This is an impersonal expression where "it" does not refer to a specific thing, as you said. It is a general statement like stating the weather. If "c'" had been referring to a real subject then the impersonal expression would use "à" instead of "de." "J'aime mon livre. C'est facile à lire." / "I love my book. It's easy to read." vs. "C'est facile de lire." / "It's easy to read." The latter is a general statement about reading while the former refers only to the aforementioned book.
The de is required in impersonal expressions like "c'est difficile de parler" or "il est amusant de patiner." The structure for phrases with a "dummy" subject (where "it" or "c'" doesn't refer to a specific thing) follow this structure: c'est + adjective + preposition (de) + infinitive. Typically "c'est" is considered more informal and is more common in spoken French, while "il est" is more commonly written.
when you have an impersonal expression of the form il est + adjective + preposition + infinitive and the subject is a dummy subject then the adjective must be masculine and the preposition must be de
Il est important d'étudier. - It is important to study (the word it acts as a dummy subject)
il est bon d'exercer - it is good to exercise (the word it acts as a dummy subject)
Il est difficile de manger parce que j'ai mal à la gorge - it is difficult to eat because I have a sore throat (the word it acts as a dummy subject - in other words the act of eating is difficult because I have a sore throat))
Note if the subject is a real subject then you need to use the preposition à
il est difficile à manger - it (the lobster you have been served) is difficult to eat
If il wasn't acting as a dummy subject, then the sentence: Il est beau d'aimer would not make sense. For example, suppose il represents a man called Jacques, then the sentence would imply: Jacques is beautiful to love. which doesn't make sense.
Consider another example: il neige - it is snowing. Here il is acting as a dummy subject. The word it is not referring to a thing, no object is snowing. In contrast in the sentence - It is going very fast - the pronoun it could be referring to a car, horse. etc.