"Is he your grandson?"

Translation:C'est votre petit-fils ?

January 27, 2013



Why is "est-il ton petit-fils" not acceptable?

January 27, 2013


I made the same mistake at first. If you state "He is your grandson," you have to say "C'est ton petit-fils" because you use c'est instead of il est before a possessive adjective like ton. So when you invert that to turn it into a question it becomes "Est-ce...?"

April 25, 2013


so by that logic, you wouldn't say "il est ton petit-fils" because that's wrong?

June 3, 2013



October 17, 2013


This site only says that - most of the other French experts don't. But you should use that rule for this site, though.

February 28, 2014


I don't think Duo is alone in teaching this rule. At least two French experts online also teach this rule regarding the use of c'est vs. il est / elle est with a modified noun.


The most relevant section is part A.


The relevant section is the table comparing the use of il est and c'est with unmodified nouns and modified nouns.

Finally, a French language instruction book also puts forward this rule:

"When a noun is used with adjectives that modify or refine the meaning of the noun, c'est is the appropriate choice. [as opposed to il est] Even a single article used with a noun is enough to modify it and make it necessary to use the c'est construction."

August 23, 2015


You're mistaken. I checked several sites and books, and they all agree with Duolingo.

But don't feel bad--people agree that this is one of the most difficult French constructions for English speakers to learn. I know it's been kicking my butt!!

November 9, 2018


would that mean that you could not say for example "est-ce que tu es son frère?" or is that okay because it's you? how about "est-ce qu'il est ton frère?"

October 30, 2013


The rule is only with the third person singular form, so with you it's OK.

est-ce que c'est ton frère [mandatory space]? or beter Est-ce ton frère ?.

October 30, 2013


Okay,cool, thank you. I managed to live in france for 2 years without noticing this rule, so I feel enlightened. (Though i don't think i ever heard someone phrase a question like "est-ce.. ?"without the que - in everyday speech)

October 31, 2013


Just a remark "est-ce.. ?"without the "que c'". Indeed, grammatically:
Est-ce <-> Est-ce que* *c', the ce (of the first one) becomes the c' (of the second one), not the ce (of the second one).

And indeed we used it a lot and even overused when we grammatically shouldn't use it.

October 31, 2013


Mandatory space? I have never heard of that..? Can you explain where that comes from and when it's applied?? I've seen it here on Duo, but always just assumed it was a mistake!

November 22, 2014


It is accepted as of Feb 2018.

February 23, 2018


wouldn't it be, "est-ce qu'il ton petit-fils?"

June 2, 2013


Apart from the "ton/son... + c'est"explanation, the main verb is missing. No, it wouldn`t.

August 5, 2013


I don't get this. Why is Est-ce qu'il ton petit-fils not right?

January 4, 2014


You're missing the verb. Est-ce que is a construction --- that goes all together in one block, you can't split it --- to ask questions. You can't translate it with words into English, it's just used to form questions.

Is he your grandson? <-> Est-ce votre petit-fils ? = Est-ce que c'est votre petit-fils ?.

I bolded the (real) verb+subject of the sentences.

January 15, 2014


For me the literal meaning "is it that..." works to translate "est-ce que", in the sense that it tells me how the construction works in French. You are correct that it is not standard English, though. (Both "Is it true that he is your grandson?" and "Is it the case that he is your grandson?" are valid English, but the literal "is it that he is your grandson?" is not.)

April 9, 2015


Why is it "Est-ce votre petit fils?" without the que after est-ce?

January 20, 2017


Oui,vraiment pourquoi ? "Est-il votre petit-fils?"Il n'y a rien à se tromper,Peut-être

November 13, 2018


Why is votre allowed here since he is a relation?

March 1, 2016


The grandson is not the speaker's relation, but his/her counterpart's.

So if you speak to your boss: "c'est votre petit-fils ?"

March 2, 2016


IM SO DONE "est-il" is totally acceptable and I am a french girl born and raised im so done with this ive been trying to ace this test for so long

June 8, 2017


"Est-il ton/votre petit-fils ?" sounds very formal nowadays.

June 15, 2017


so how do you say this is your grandson

July 15, 2017


C'est ton petit-fils.

July 18, 2017


Why isn't "est-ce qu'il est ton grand-fils" accepted?

January 6, 2019


Why is "Est-il ton grand-fils?" wrong? I thought the inversion automatically made the verb interrogative.

October 4, 2013


See theswt's answer to phil1232's comment for the Est-il part. Also, in French, we say petit-fils, not grand-fils.

October 17, 2013


I said "est-ce qu'il ton petit fils?" Why is this wrong?

November 8, 2013


The verb is missing. Est-ce qu'il est ton petit fils.. (equivalent to Est-il ton petit-fils.).

November 8, 2013


I put "Être-t-il votre petit-fils?" is it right?

February 27, 2015


"être" is the infinitive form. You need to conjugate it in 3rd person singular since its subject is "il".

June 15, 2017


Why was "Il ton grand-père? " marked wrong?

May 31, 2015


1) It lacks a verb.

2) « grand-père » is "grandfather" not "grandson".

3) See theswt's answer at the top.

June 1, 2015


I wrote this sentence: est t-il ton grand-fils? Is it wrong?

July 2, 2015


First of all, you don't need to use -t- when you already have a -t; « est-il » is enough to cover French's need for a consonant sound when inverting. Second, see theswt's answer at the top of the discussion.

July 2, 2015


it said petite-fils needed a hyphon? it already had one! :+

November 2, 2015


"petite-fils" is not correct: petit-fils (masc) or petite-fille (fem).

So they probably gave you a wrong reason for a real error.

November 2, 2015


would this have been correct?: "Est-ce que c'est votre petit-fils?"

November 12, 2016


Yes, it is correct.

November 12, 2016


Why is est-ce qu'il votre petit-fils wrong?

November 30, 2017


Because you missed the verb. What you suggest would back translte to "is it that he [...] your grandson?"

December 2, 2017


Est-ce ton petit-fils? Accepted

November 26, 2018
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