"l' " is the elided version of "le" (or la), definite article, in this sentence, to be placed in front of a noun or an adjective (starting with a vowel or a non aspirate H):
- l'ami, l'amie - l'homme, l'habitude - l'immense océan (masc), l'immense mer (fem)
- "l'un / l'une et l'autre" = lit. "the one and the other" (in this case "un/une" = one, not "un" as an indefinite article)
l' /le is a pronoun (direct object form of "il") when placed in front of a verb.
- je l'aime bien = I like him/her/it
1)But duolingo didnt accept ,"He is the one of my best friends.". Why would you say,"l'un" if you dont mean ,"THE one."
Also, I thought "les meilleurs" means "the BEST", and only "meilleurs" means "BETTER." So, why doesnt,"mes meilleurs" mean "my better"?
"He is the one of my BETTER friends."
2) How do I find out when "C'est" means "He is" and when it means "It is".
You can say "c'est (l')un de mes meilleurs amis", with or without the article "l'".
But in English, you cannot say "the one of my best friends" in this sentence.
- meilleur(e)(s) is a comparative adjective.
- le(s) meilleur(s), la(les) meilleure(s) are superlative adjectives or nouns.
"my better friends" and "my best friends" both translate to "mes meilleur(e)s ami(e)s" because French does not distinguish those.
2) If "c'est" is followed by a modified noun, it can mean "he", "she" or "it", depending on the noun:
- c'est ma fille = she is my daughter
- c'est un beau jour = it is a beautiful day
- c'est le cousin de ma mère = he is my mother's cousin
If "c'est" if followed by an adjective or an adverb, the translation can be "it", "this" or "that"
- c'est sympa ! = it/this/that is nice!
- c'est beaucoup mieux = it/this/that is much better.
- c'est bien comme ça = it/this/that is good like that.
@sitesurf, You said,""my better friends" and "my best friends" both translate to "mes meilleur(e)s ami(e)s" because French does not distinguish those."
so can we say.
"ce sont mes meilleurs amis." = These are my best friends. Is this right.
ce sont mes meilleurs chevaux."- These are my best horses.