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"They are babies."

Translation:Ce sont des bébés.

February 3, 2013



why is 'Ils sont des bébés' wrong?


In French, when you have an expression such as "he/she is", either "il/elle est" or "c'est" is used, depending on how the sentence is structured.

Here is a great tutorial on that: http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm

The singular version of the sentence here would be: "c'est un bébé". You have to use "c'est" because it is followed by a modified noun, un bébé. The plural form of "c'est" is "ce sont", hence -- "ce sont des bébés"..

Hope this helps.


So why was the previous audio exercise "Il est le bébé de la famille" and not c'est... ?


Hmmm, 9 months ago, but here goes anyway. "Il est le bébé" is an exception to the rule regarding "c'est" because it refers to "the baby" of the family (i.e., there's only one of those). In such a case, you can use "Il est" or "Elle est" or "C'est".


Doesn't this mean "those are babies" out of context ...?


Meaning and translation are different in this case:

  • they are babies = "ce sont des bébés"
  • these/those are babies = "ceux-ci/ceux-là sont des bébés", or "ce sont des bébés".

What you have to remember is that you should not use "ils sont des bébés"


Why isn't this "Ces sont des bébés." ?


"ces" is an adjective. This expression is constructed with "ce": in singular "c'est" (because est starts with a vowel, the 'e' is replaced by an apostrophe) and in plural "ce sont".


Ah, that makes perfect sense now, thanks!


Don't understand why this is not Ils sont. Doesn't make sense!


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I was just marked correct for writing " Ils sont bébés" but reading through this thread I now wonder if I should have been marked wrong? I am SO confused!


"Ils sont bébés" is an unusual construction, where "bébés" is used as an adjective as you would say "they are little".

If you use "bébés" as a noun, you need to change "ils sont" to "ce sont".

  • he/she is a baby = c'est un bébé
  • they are babies = ce sont des bébés

The same applies with other nouns that can be used as adjectives, like professions and a few others like "élève (pupil), étudiant (student), témoin (witness), victime (victim), membre (member)...".


How do you know when to use ils/elles or ce?


When the English is "he/she is + determiner + noun", you translate "c 'est + determiner + noun). "they are + determiner + noun" = "ce sont + (determiner) + noun"

he is a baby = c'est un bébé

she is a baby = c'est un bébé

they are babies = ce sont des bébés


I got it wrong because I neglected to type 'des' (tired)...buuut, Duo gave the 'correct' answer as "ils sont bebes" which kinda threw me to be fair; and throws some ambiguity on the discussions around the necessity of 'ce' and 'des'? o_O


You were taught that professions (after verbs être and devenir) do not need an article, because of their duality (nouns or adjectives or nouns acting like adjectives):

  • he is an actor = il est acteur

In parallel, you were taught that "il/elle est" + modified noun (= determiner + noun) have to change to "c'est + modified noun" ( in plural: "ce sont")

  • he is an actor = c'est un acteur.

The alternative translation you mention shows that not only professions can get a single noun after "être" and "devenir". Some nouns, giving the subject a "status" can also behave the same way (ie "real" noun or adjective):

  • he is a good student = il est bon élève OR c'est un bon élève
  • he is a victim = il est victime OR c'est une victime (une victime is always feminine)
  • he is a baby = il est bébé OR c'est un bébé
  • he is a witness = il est témoin OR c'est un témoin
  • they are good friends = ils sont bons amis (adj) OR ce sont de bons amis


The hover hint shows 'ils' and 'elles'.


Ils sont des bébés should mean "they are babies" shouldn't it?


"Ils/Elles sont des" has to change to "Ce sont des".

As a rule, "il/elle est" change to "c'est" and "ils/elles sont" to "ce sont" when they are followed by a modified noun (determiner + noun).

These determiners can be articles, numbers, demonstrative, possessive or indefinite adjectives.

  • he is a baby = c'est un bébé
  • she is my daughter girl = c'est ma fille
  • they are three of my best friends = ce sont trois de mes meilleur(e)s ami(e)s



Still scratching my head

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