Ce vs Il est/Elle est

Which one do i use in what context??

January 10, 2016


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Here's something that will help you and there are some exercises for you to try

January 11, 2016

this looks like a really useful site in general for french- thanks.

January 12, 2016

You're welcome. Hope it will help you :)

January 12, 2016

"Il/Elle est" is used when it is a person. Il est le Roi = He is the King. "C'est" is used when the noun is modified by an adjective, or if it is an object. C'est le petit Roi = He is the small King. Does that help? (I'm a bit worried about the grammar of the second sentence, but other than that, it should be fine.)

January 10, 2016

Not exactly.

  • "C'est" is used when the noun is modified (noun being person or not)
  • "Il est" is used when the noun is unmodified


C'est le Roi., C'est un petit roi., Il est roi., C'est une chaise., C'est un petit animal., Il est médecin., C'est un médecin*, ...

January 10, 2016 hope this discussion helps :)

January 10, 2016

Please also go to Tips&Notes - Skill "Être-Avoir".

January 10, 2016

I was wondering about this myself so I spent a while looking it up and this is what I found. By the way, I'm not a native French speaker, so this may not be perfect.

You use 'il' or 'elle' if the subject is followed by an adjective. In this scenario, 'il' and 'elle' can mean either he/it or she/it respectively.

Here are some examples:

Elle est charmante - she/it is charming Il est rouge - he/it is rude

You use 'ce' if the subject is followed by a noun. Again, 'ce' can mean it/he/she.

Here are some examples:

Ce sont une famille - they are a family C'est un ami - he is a friend C'est une amie - she is a friend C'est un chat - it is a cat

'Ce' is, however, increasingly being used with masculine adjectives to describe things which aren't people.

Therefore you can say:

C'est beau - it is beautiful C'est nocif - it is harmful

Note that you cannot say: 'c'est belle' or 'c'est nocive', as the adjectives here are in their feminine forms.

Of course there are exceptions, but I find this a useful general rule of thumb.

If there is something incorrect here, please correct me. I would really appreciate it.

April 5, 2018
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