"il est dans le fond..." and "c'est dans la poche"?

Could someone make the rule(s) clear for these two sentences, please ? I've referred to some websites but they only confused me further. :'(

  1. Il est dans le fond de mon sac.
  2. C'est dans la poche.

I see (1) has to be "il est" because it's "il est + prepositional phrases," but (2) uses "c'est" because it is an idiom? Or because we just don't know what "ce" refers to?

Also, it looks like "il est + prepositional phrases" applies to both animate and inanimate objects. I was under the impression that it was only relevant to people. xD

March 19, 2016


"c'est dans la poche !" = it's in the bag! This idiomatic and colloquial expression is used to mean that whatever was at stake (negotiation, permission asked...), the outcome is positive. "c' " as well as "it" refer to a situation.

"il/elle est dans ma poche/le fond de mon sac" = it is in the bottom of my bag. The personal pronoun "il" ou "elle" replaces a noun, masculine or feminine, mentioned before.

March 19, 2016

Thank you! so it's just a matter of whether the subject is something concrete or not in this case? And it's not about prepositions? I must have misread something and thought "c'est + prepositions" was prohibited.

so you can still say "c'est à la banque" if it's just "this/that," non?

Just when I think I have sorted the matter of "il est vs. c'est," a sentence or two like this creeps in and gets me confused back again. It's always like this. xD

March 20, 2016
  • Question: "où est-ce que je peux changer des dollars ; à la banque ou à l'hôtel ?"
  • Answer: "c'est à la banque (que tu peux changer des dollars)".

c' represents "changer des dollars", not a concrete object.

  • Question: "où est l'argent que tu as gagné hier ?"
  • Answer: "il est à la banque."

"il" represents "l'argent", a concrete object.

March 21, 2016

Thank you very much. :)

March 22, 2016

C'est une bonne question, pistachio8! Il est au fond de mon sac. = It is in the bottom of my bag. C'est is used when there is an article and noun in an impersonal expression. The word "in" changes the structure of this sentence. I have seen this sentence on Duolingo: Elle est dans le fond de mon sac. I thought it was hilarious until I realized this could refer to a "key" (feminine) which is in the bottom of her bag! Bonne chance! EDIT: Sitesurf explains it better!

Here's a detailed explanation of the use of C'est versus Il est.

March 19, 2016

Thank you , but I'm afraid I still don't understand why (2) isn't "il est" when "dans" (preposition) follows right after. :'(

March 19, 2016
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