1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "He is my brother."

"He is my brother."

Translation:C'est mon frère.

January 22, 2013

46 Comments


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

Why can't this also by "il est mon frere?"


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

Because that is not the way the French construct such a statement; Please have a look here: https://duome.eu/tips/en/zz#z03


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

I still don't understand why "Il est mon frere" is incorrect... the example they quote in the article: "C'est has an undefined, exaggerated meaning, such as "Paris? It's magnificent!" By contrast, il est is very literal, as in Il est en retard. (He is late.)" The English sentence is "He is my brother", not "That's my brother." Why is it incorrect?


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

Maybe Frenchabout is not focused enough on that page.

What you have to remember is:

"Il est + determiner + noun" or "Elle est + determiner + noun" does not work and you have to replace "il/elle est" with "c'est".

"Ils sont + determiner + noun" or "Elles sont + determiner + noun" does not work and you have to replace "ils/elles sont" with "ce sont".

Reminder: determiners are all the little words preceding nouns, like articles, possessive adjectives, demonstrative adjectives, numbers, indefinite adjectives.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/josh307636

Thank you. This makes sense. It's just another rule I need to learn. The link did not say anything about a determiner; it actually implies that il est would be correct because the subject is known and specific.


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

The link I gave 8 years ago is not good enough. Here is another one which explains everything about "c'est" and "ce sont".

https://duome.eu/tips/en/zz#z03


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

In the link, it says modified and unmodified. So if there wasn´t the 'mon', it´d " il est"?


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

unmodified: ils sont cousins (no article, no demonstrative or possessive adjective)

modified: c'est le cousin, c'est mon cousin, c'est ce cousin, ce sont des cousins....


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

Thank you for this helpful explanation and the link to the article, however, it is making me wonder. I thought it was rare in French to have nouns without articles, like "cousins" in the unmodified example above. How often does this happen - is it only with the verb être?


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

In my opinion, no. There are a number of common expressions that use avoir (when it has the sense of to be) followed immediately by a noun e.g. avoir faim. See https://www.lawlessfrench.com/expressions/avoir-expressions/ for more.


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

I checked the link you shared. That link shows the, " il est," construction a a valus exception.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Golden.tulip

Why we cannot say : il est mon frére ?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bee935127

Bonjour! Have a look at the lesson plan (At Work 4). It specifies that we should: A. "Use c’est when you need words like un, ma, etc. before the noun." or B. "use il est or elle est when a noun or an adjective immediately follows." Also, the same question was asked in the current thread 4 years prior to yours, and received extensive explanations. Merci,


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArielLeung2

This clarifies a bit. Merci!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rinkoo2

I used to be confused about this for quite sometime. When to use 'ma' and when to use 'mon'. Thanks to the contributions in the thread above, i am assuming that 'ma' is for feminine subjects/objects and 'mon' is for masculine. Could anyone confirm?


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

I confirm and add that "mes" is for masculine or feminine plural objects possessed.


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

Anticipating that it would be marked wrong, I was shocked to see that "Il est mon frere" was accepted on 9/6/16. Is this just a glitch, or actually a possible correct translation?


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

It is possible. This exception is motivated by respect or regard, in general. "c'est mon frère" shows a person (with c') and identifies this person as my brother. "Il est mon frère" qualifies "il" as a first name would. I am aware that it is subtle but you can sometimes find this in writing, in biographies, or journalists' reports on people.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Glen699071

Best explanation on this whole thread. Thanks.

In french if you say "He is my brother" it's like saying "John is my brother", but your brother's name is 'He'. So you don't really want to say it that way.

Also in English, saying things like "It's my brother" is very common. eg. "Who's that guy in the kitchen?" "It's my brother." "Oh." So it should be quite simple to switch out the "he is" for "it is".


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

I don't know if this is included in what you said, but I think you could find it too when il is in contrast with something else (and maybe then c' would be confusing). Il est mon frère; elle est ma belle-soeur for instance?


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

We have another way to stress a contrast: "lui, c'est mon frère et elle, c'est ma soeur". (double-subject).


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

I have read the threads and am confused, il est mon frere, surely should be correct. I can see people saying that it should be c'est mon frere. However without context surely this is not known and therefor should be accepted.

So if this is not correct, are we saying that we would never say, il est mon frere? Under no circumstances, which I find hard to believe.

If I was stood in a room with my brother, I would introduce him - C'est mon frere John ... are we meant to know he was there?

This has really got me flummoxed....


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

Again, "il est mon frère" is not the way the French say "He is my brother" (+ This/tThat/It is my brother) and it is only used by journalists or writers as a stylistic effect.

Since French is not your native language, saying it would sound like a basic grammar mistake rather than a stylistic effect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karagabrie1

Il est mon frère is grammatically correct and a direct translation of "he is my brother." I don't understand why that's incorrect.


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

"Il est mon frère" is a direct translation but it is not what the French use. Please read the explanations given on this thread or in the Tips.


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

It is disappointing, as a teacher, to see those who are trying to help, provide explanations without acknowledging the very real concerns of those who were confused by the question. Many people, who use the app version at least, are being presented with a question to translate without any context, and without any actual lessin to prepare them for the expected proper answer. They are penalized for "getting it wrong" because at least in many cases, they did not know the context nor the rule, and therefore, translated as best they could, using literal translation, not idiomatic rules. I am of the mind that they should receive credit for "il est mon frère", especially considering the number of sentence fragments, phrases, and expressions without context presented in this competitive, pay-to-play game (ahem, sorry, "free learning app"). Maybe this can be a learning tool at higher levels, once the learners/customers have been taught this rule. In terms of basic communication skills, however, those who translated verbatim were doing the right thing: "I was given these specific french words. These words translate to this specific set of images, and convey a particular meaning. So, in my own language I will translate the same images to convey the same meaning. ie. 'il est mon frère' does communicate 'he is my brother' and does so more specifically than 'that is my brother'. It may not work both ways because two different languages have different rules, but to honor the learning style if most ALL people, a "learning app" should provide context and encouragment, rather than denying those learners validation for their correct, albeit undereducated thinking.


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

This free learning app teaches languages to millions of users who will not have any other teachers than other learners. The method is based on trial and error, example-sentences translating back and forth, from which users have to understand the grammatical pattern.

"Il est mon frère" is not the way the French say it. This typical gallicism is the number 1 mistake made by foreigners attempting to speak French. This explanation written by volunteers may help you: https://duome.eu/tips/en/zz#z03


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkFloyd2

So in French to say "he is my brother" you say "c'est mon frère"so how do you say "it is my brother" in French?


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

The same, of course.


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

You say the wright answer is c'est mon frère. But de translation of that is het is my brother. The questions was il est mon frere


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fat.Red

You can't always literally translate word for word. The French way of saying this uses "c'est" instead of "il est. That's just how they do it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeniseMore645739

How do you make accents on qwerty keyboard?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Issa323320

Il est should be more appropriate here as C'est refer more to "this is" when you are introducing someone to another while if someone is absent and their name mentioned and you want to clarify that they are related to you use of il est is more appropriate like for example Tu connais ce vendeur? Il est mon père So practically as they didn't specify the situation in the question both should be correct


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

Please read and learn: "il est" must change to "c'est" in proper French when it is followed by a modified noun. A modified noun is a noun preceded by a determiner (article, demonstrative, possessive, number...).

The same applies to "elle est", "ils sont" and "elles sont".

  • He is my father = C'est mon père
  • She is my mother = C'est ma mère
  • They are good citizens = Ce sont de bons citoyens/citoyennes.

Not changing "il est" to "c'est" is the most common mistake made by French learners.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mark-in-cali

Merci - c'est une bonne information pour nous.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Karin453916

I think il est mon frère should be allowed at beginner level. I think everyone understands what is meant and this requires a literal translation for quite a few other points such as when we say: i stay with which in English the tool does not accept to mean the same as I live with but in every common understanding means the same as habiter.


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

How relevant would it be to learn improper French when you are a beginner?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hugogirl1026

Since the lesson is not about determiners, rather about people; this is an inappropriate question. Should not have to look up obscure rules!

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.