"He is a bad boy."

Translation:C'est un mauvais garçon.

January 30, 2013

54 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MrHazard

The best differentiation I have found is here: http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est

It requires close reading several times!

Briefly, "C'est" precedes a noun, so "C'est un mauvais garçon,"

"Il est" precedes adjectives, so "Il est mauvais."

As someone noted below, formal French might use "il est" where "c'est" is used, but apparently it sounds wrong nowadays in spoken French.

Read the full page at the above link; it's worth the time.

December 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/GregHullender

This was an excellent reference. Thank you.

February 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MrHazard

Glad to be of help. Happy learning!

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ulisserax

Very good reference!!

April 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/NavGirdhar

Thanks for the refences. I almost picked the right answer but last moment split the decision. I was thinking, it should be "C'est un..."

May 13, 2014

[deactivated user]

    Thanks for the link!

    April 10, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/VasudevanT

    The article is spot on. Thank you

    January 21, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/BlackSea

    I'm not quite sure why it can't be "il est"...

    January 30, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/bucko

    The noun 'garçon' has been modified here by the adjective 'mauvais'. 'Il est' can only be used with unmodified nouns, and since the noun has been modified here you have to use "c'est" instead.

    January 30, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/traherne

    That's not really true. Google "il est un homme dangereux" or "il est un mauvais exemple" for example and you'll get hits from reputable sources like Le Figaro. I understand it's formal and pretty much absent from colloquial french, but it's not "wrong".

    April 24, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/cjmothershed

    But it says to use c'est when the noun has an article (un, une, etc) but don't all nouns have articles then? Does it have to do with the article or the adjective? If there was no "mauvais" would it just be "Il est un garcon"?

    May 9, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

    Some nouns like those of professions don't require an article.

    Eg; il est professuer. He is a professor.

    May 9, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/sylvantier

    Is there any particular reason for that?

    February 15, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Macklebeed

    Nope, it is just how the language is. Its like asking is there any need for genders? Nope. Just the way the language is..

    February 16, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Porfirogenito

    don't say that to a feminist

    January 20, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/DuFarge

    So, how can one differentiate the subtle difference between 'this is a bad boy' and 'he is a bad boy'?

    June 12, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/xbecenti15

    In this case, more context is require to differentiate those two sentences. "Ceci est un mauvais garçon ." - This is a bad boy "C'est un mauvais garçon ." He/This/That is a bad boy. You could say it either way, but the former sentence is if you want to emphasize/specify the difference.

    <pre> Disregard the fact that you posted this question two years ago and obviously know the difference by now but for the people who are starting, this should help you. </pre>
    December 5, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/sarahdee92

    This was a pretty big surprise to me... I can't believe I never picked this up in my years of French instruction...

    February 20, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Brenna875906

    I learned french at the university level and I have been using duolingo to brush up. I never learned that C'est must be used in a situation such as this....Il est should be fine to use as well...

    June 11, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/Urien227

    As a native french speaker I agree.

    February 14, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/jimbop85

    Is "c'est un garçon mauvais" equally valid, or different in any way?

    February 6, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Gareth321

    The adjective comes before the noun in certain circumstances. Another user taught me "BANGS: beauty, age, numbers, good/bad, size".

    February 21, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/melon2020head

    Thank you all for your comments; they were a great refresher!

    March 17, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/suzzz

    Thanks for the comments. C'est and Il est have been hard to differentiate...

    April 2, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Lapri

    In the previous exercise in previous level, I think it was "Il est un mauvais ..." for "He is a bad boy". After reading the comments here, I still do not quite understand.

    August 14, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/T.A.R.D.I.S.girl

    question: how does 'C'est' stand for 'he is' answer:?

    November 4, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/GabsAguilera

    Shouldn't this sentence in English be "This is a bad boy" instead of "He is a bad boy"? I don't quite understand all the explanations above.

    November 17, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

    Rules regarding the verb to be.

    Nouns: Unmodified nouns invoke the il/elle est form. Modified nouns invoke the c'est form. Most nouns require a modifier in French. Professions don't require a modifier in French.

    He is a professor = allows an unmodified noun structure = Il est professeur

    He is a boy = requires an article thus the modified noun structure = C'est un garçon.

    Adjectives and Adverbs. Stand alone adjectives and adverbs can refer to a person or a situation. Those that describe a person require the il est form. Those describing a situation invoke c'est.

    He is bad = describes person = il est mauvais.

    It is bad = describes situation = c'est mauvais

    See http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm for a better explanation.

    November 17, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/GundaWright

    I like Mr. Hazard's explanation

    March 29, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/MrHazard

    Thanks!

    March 30, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/PlatypusPerson

    J'ai deux questions... 1. Why can "mauvais" be used before and after "garcon"? 2. Does "c'est" refer to girls, too? Ex: "C'est une fille mauvaise"?

    April 30, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/MrHazard

    "Mauvais" is one of those adjectives that goes before the noun—that's just the way it is. It can't be used after "garcon." Most adjective go after the noun. Some can go in both positions and the meaning changes.

    See here for a list of adjectives that go before the noun: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/french/grammar/adjectives/revision/1/

    "C'est" refers to any noun on the predicate side of a sentence: "This/that/it/she/he is..." C'est Père Noël, c'est un lapin, c'est une fille." etc.

    April 30, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/PlatypusPerson

    You, sir, have earned yourself a Lingot. Merci beaucoup!

    April 30, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/MrHazard

    Merci!

    April 30, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/upkaran

    Pls clarify I thought C'est was only to be used in masculine + singular context

    May 8, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/traherne

    Ce is neutral when it comes to gender. Think of it as "this". You're right that it SHOULD only be used for singular nouns (C'est une femme -> Ce sont des femmes). Orally and/or informally, though, "C'est des femmes" is acceptable.

    May 8, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/MrHazard

    I don't think so. "C'est la femme" is a good transation for "She/that/this/is the woman."

    May 8, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sancerrepolly13

    Great reference MrHazard Merci!

    March 20, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/katiebeatle

    It is telling me to not have a space around the apostrophes but I can't fix that!!!

    June 15, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/yarjor

    I put mauvais after garçon and it got accepted. Why is that?

    October 1, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/nda9cwzs

    Why cant it be "il est"?

    October 31, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/yarjor

    That's because in French you don't use the form Il est + noun, only Il est + adjectif. For nouns you use C'est instead, as in this sentence. This article explains it better than I can: http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est

    October 31, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/nda9cwzs

    Thank you!

    November 1, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/EricksonAd

    According to Duo, the correct translation is either "C'est un garçon mauvais" or "C'est un mauvais garçon". I thought BANGS dictated that mauvais come before the noun. Can anyone explain why both structures are acceptable?

    April 14, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/zeusjp

    "Il est" precedes adjectives, so "Il est mauvais." I see!

    October 26, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/AyaAlyousef7

    why is "il est un mauvais garcon" incorrect?

    July 4, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/xobzoo

    I was trying to use "mal garçon" — what's the distinction between "mal" and "mauvais", or their proper usage?

    August 20, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/papulaattori

    I'm wondering the same!

    December 2, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/selenebonafini

    How do you know what adjectives to put before the noun and which ones you put after?

    December 27, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/rudiwil

    why can't it be il eat

    January 6, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/Adityadapro

    I wrote "il est un mauvais garcon" but it refused to accept that! Why!

    January 22, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/JasmineCHA552654

    il est - he is both are logically correct

    May 10, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/Woobeeton

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    September 17, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/Dave66539

    I wrote 'il est...' which was wrong. The page showed the correction and explanation of when to use "c'est" (with an article before a noun) ...that is an excellent help. Thank you for the explanation!!!

    January 1, 2019
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