"Ce sont les femmes" or "elles sont les femmes"

I don't understand why "ce" is used in this sentence. Couldn't "elles" be used just as well?

June 15, 2012


thats mostly the same difference as in "These are the wonen" and "They are the women".

June 15, 2012

I thought "Elles sont les femmes" is wrong, as you use "ce" when you have a possessive or article before the noun.

September 23, 2013

Ok, so Elles sont femmes (they are women), but Ce sont LES femmes (these are THE women)??

December 11, 2013

I was thinking of way to answer that and emmanuelhonere got it. Little things like these trip me up, as well.

June 15, 2012

As others point out literally it's "these are the women" vs. "they are the woman", although the later sentence sounds very odd to my ears. The elles/femmes pairing sounds very redundant to me, I can't really come up with any situation where I'd say that. I think it's because the gender/number is already carried by "les femmes", so the "elles sont" feels extraneous.

Like if I have to answer an hypothetical question "who can bear children" (qui peut être enceinte?) I'd answer "ce sont les femmes" or simply "les femmes", never "elles sont les femmes".

I'm afraid this answer won't seem very helpful because I can't really come up with a good rule for that, I can just tell you how it feels as a native speaker. I would definitely understand if a foreign speaker answered "elles sont les femmes" though, but if a french friend were to say that it would definitely give me pause as I try to puzzle out why they phrased it in such an odd way.

May 31, 2017

I have the same question actually.

"Elles sont les femmes" and "Ce sont LES femmes" are they both valid statements? If so, for the question to Select the missing word, I think both statements can be right, UNLESS, Elles sont les femmes is not a valid statement (grammatically or for whatever reasons that might be)?

August 18, 2017

They're both grammatically valid but in general we prefer to use the "ce sont"/"c'est" over using il(s)/elle(s) est/sont. The latter just sounds redundant to me, unless I needed to put the emphasis on the il(s)/elle(s) for some reason.

August 30, 2017

thanks Liofla.

August 30, 2017
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