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"They are children."

Translation:Ce sont des enfants.

January 16, 2013

45 Comments
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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

I have done some research on the subject.

C'est/ Ce sont is used with modified nouns. In French enfants is modified by des . (at least in this sentence) Therefore Ce sont is required because of the presence of a modifier which is plural. If there were no modifier for the noun then ils sont would be correct.

source: http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cslarmore

Thank you! This is very helpful. However I'm still not clear why Ils sont enfants (what I wrote) is not correct, since it has no modifier. Does this sentence require a modifier?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnIndoorKite

Because in french you need, somewhat paradoxically, an article to indicate no article.

"They are children" has no article before children, but that doesn't mean you can do that in French. de la and du can translate as "Some" as well as being there in instances where we wouldn't have any article before "children"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tanja747

Hello! I have answered "Ils sont des enfants" and it was wrong. Can someone explain it? Beacuse it seems correct to me... Thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"il/elle est" and "ils/elles sont" change to "c'est" and "ce sont" before a modified noun, that is, a noun preceded by a modifier. A modifier can be:

  • an article: un, une, des, le, la, l', les
  • a number: un, deux...
  • a possessive adjective: mon, ton, son, ma, ta, sa, notre, votre, leur, mes, tes, ses, nos, vos, leurs
  • a demonstrative adjective: ce, cet, cette, ces

"il/elle est" + adjective stays "il/elle est" + adjective.

These articles go into more detail and are worth a read.
http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm
https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

Also, the Tips and Notes for the Gallicism skill (click the lightbulb icon when you open the skill) give more information.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acanniz

Why is "ils sont" not correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"il/elle est" and "ils/elles sont" change to "c'est" and "ce sont" before a modified noun, that is, a noun preceded by a modifier. A modifier can be:

  • an article: un, une, des, le, la, l', les
  • a number: un, deux...
  • a possessive adjective: mon, ton, son, ma, ta, sa, notre, votre, leur, mes, tes, ses, nos, vos, leurs
  • a demonstrative adjective: ce, cet, cette, ces

"il/elle est" + adjective stays "il/elle est" + adjective.

These articles go into more detail and are worth a read.
http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm
https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

Also, the Tips and Notes for the Gallicism skill (click the lightbulb icon when you open the skill) give more information.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaiirapetjan

That's all fine and dandy, but we have no context here, nothing to clue us into whether enfants should be modified, since we are only given the English sentence They are children to translate. I know Italian very well and although one usually would modify here (sono dei bambini), like, for instance, you see some kids playing and say this sentence. However, if your neighbors' kids have done a cute prank on you, you might just say, sono bambini without the modifier, like, sono solo bambini (they are only kids). Unless French just plain differs from Italian in this, I really think Duo should add Ils sont enfants to their accepted alternatives.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

French does just plain differ from Italian here. In French, anywhere where you would use "un/une" in singular, you need "des" in plural, so this sentence must have "des".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"They are children" is the plural of "he is a child" or "she is a child". In both cases, the indefinite article "a" is used. In French, it is the same, with the only difference that there is a plural indefinite article in French and none in English. So "des" is required whenever the singular would have "un/une" (a/an).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aramil444

Same here, don't understand why 'Ils sont des enfants' is wrong...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"il/elle est" and "ils/elles sont" change to "c'est" and "ce sont" before a modified noun, that is, a noun preceded by a modifier. A modifier can be:

  • an article: un, une, des, le, la, l', les
  • a number: un, deux...
  • a possessive adjective: mon, ton, son, ma, ta, sa, notre, votre, leur, mes, tes, ses, nos, vos, leurs
  • a demonstrative adjective: ce, cet, cette, ces

"il/elle est" + adjective stays "il/elle est" + adjective.

These articles go into more detail and are worth a read.
http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm
https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

Also, the Tips and Notes for the Gallicism skill (click the lightbulb icon when you open the skill) give more information.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hannrkelley

There was a good explanation in a past comments section stating that it's very much WRONG to say ils sont. It's grammatically correct but it's wrong. It was posted by one of the main top commenters. All I know is the link haha, I'm very much a beginner again.

http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vidbina

Based on the webpage I would expect "Ils sont enfants" and "c'est sont des enfants" to be correct. Can someone explain this?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vidbina

Sorry I meant "ce sont des enfant". See the unmodified noun vs modified noun section.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"enfants" is not an adjective, nor a profession, so it can't be used this way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Squarner

What's wrong with: "Ces sont des enfants" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Ce" is an indefinite pronoun without a plural form: c'est - ce sont.

"Ces" is an adjective to be used before a plural noun: ces enfants = these/those children.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElizabethSchiess

why wouldn't this be "elles sont enfants"??? :/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"il/elle est" and "ils/elles sont" change to "c'est" and "ce sont" before a modified noun, that is, a noun preceded by a modifier. A modifier can be:

  • an article: un, une, des, le, la, l', les
  • a number: un, deux...
  • a possessive adjective: mon, ton, son, ma, ta, sa, notre, votre, leur, mes, tes, ses, nos, vos, leurs
  • a demonstrative adjective: ce, cet, cette, ces

"il/elle est" + adjective stays "il/elle est" + adjective.

These articles go into more detail and are worth a read.
http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm
https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

Also, the Tips and Notes for the Gallicism skill (click the lightbulb icon when you open the skill) give more information.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/srauf729

Can some differentiate between du, des and les, please? Its a little confusing at times where des needs to be used as opposed to les. Like "she has strawberries" translates to des fraises or les fraises?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"du" is the masculine singular partitive article. It means an undefined quantity of a mass thing, sometimes stated as "some" in English. For example "Il mange du fromage" means "He is eating cheese" or "He is eating some cheese".

"les" is the plural definite article, meaning "the". If the singular version of the sentence uses "la/l'/le", the plural will need "les" - "Elle a la fraise" (She has the strawberry), "Elle a les fraises" (She has the strawberries).

"des" is the required plural indefinite article. If you put the sentence in singular, then if it has "un/une" in French or "a/an" in English, it will need "des" in plural. It means "an unknown quantity greater than one", also sometimes expressed with "some" in English. For example, if you take "She has strawberries" and put it in singular, it becomes "She has a strawberry" (Elle a une fraise). That tells you that you need "des" in plural, so "She has (some) strawberries" translates to "Elle a des fraises".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaycienicolee

why is ces sont des enfants wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"ce" as a pronoun is invariable ("c'est" is merely the mandatory contraction of "ce est"). "ces" is an adjective meaning "these" or "those" - "ces enfants" would be "these/those children".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/epiclyawesome11

What is wrong with "ils ont" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"ils ont" means "they have".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1brandon_E

Why can't I use

"Ces sont des enfants" or "Ils sont enfants"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CherylFont1

The recently revised learning "tree" has added a great (and well needed) summary on the topic of ''c'est vs il est'' in a unit which they have labeled ''Gallicism''. The tips and notes section will answer your questions. Hopefully you have access to this new tree.

To answer your question

  1. Here the plural noun ''enfants'''requires the use of the indefinite plural article ''des'''. Almost all nouns must be introduced by an article or other determinator.

  2. The basic rule is that you must use ce when être is followed by any article or possessive adjective. Here être is followed by an article, so either c'est or ce sont must be used in this sentence.

  3. The plural of c'est is CE SONT not ces sont so the sentence would have to be ''Ce sont des enfants''.

  4. If the sentence were to contain an adjective or adverb after the verb être then you would use "'Il est'' for example. "'Ils sont de beaux enfants.'' They are beautiful children.

  5. Why de and not des in my example?. That another lesson where if there is an adjective before the noun des becomes de.

As English has its own set of rules that can be complicated, so does French. Don't feel bad if you don't immediately understand this concept. It took me many months to finally begin to understand this concept.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BERKALPBIR1

What is with the french word de or des, it's not even useful when you're trying to translate french to english!@#?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

French is its own language with its own rules, it was not invented for the purpose of being translated to English.

In this case, the rule is that "des" is the plural indefinite article, and if the singular version of the sentence would use "un" or "une", "des" is required in plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pam520742

Ils ont une jolie fille is modifying the noun is it not? Yet it is Ils not ce?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

Yes, that's correct. In that sentence the verb is "avoir" (to have), so there is no change. "ils/elles" only changes to "ce" with "être" (to be).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arpan_007

I have written "elles sont des enfants" and they marked it wrong. I want to know why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trofaste

"il/elle est" and "ils/elles sont" change to "c'est" and "ce sont" before a modified noun, that is, a noun preceded by a modifier. A modifier can be:

  • an article: un, une, des, le, la, l', les
  • a number: un, deux...
  • a possessive adjective: mon, ton, son, ma, ta, sa, notre, votre, leur, mes, tes, ses, nos, vos, leurs
  • a demonstrative adjective: ce, cet, cette, ces

"il/elle est" + adjective stays "il/elle est" + adjective.

These articles go into more detail and are worth a read.
http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm
https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

Also, the Tips and Notes for the Gallicism skill (click the lightbulb icon when you open the skill) give more information.

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