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"He is the baby of the family."

Translation:C'est le bébé de la famille.

February 19, 2013



Why isn't "Il est le bébé de la famille" correct?


This is a rule you will have to apply VERY often on Duolingo. In French, "c'est" (sing.) and "ce sont" (plural) are used in a large variety of expressions, when a pronoun (it, she, he, they) is subject of verb "être" and followed by a nominal group, ie: article (+ adjective) + noun. - it is + noun => c'est - she is + noun => c'est - he is + noun => c'est - they are + noun => ce sont


Still... how do real French people say it? I also went for 'il est' and I don't see why that has to be incorrect in real life...


A rule is a rule... but, luckily all rules have their exceptions.

when "il est" (or elle est or ils/elles sont) is followed by "the" + a noun expressing a "single status", you can use "il est" or "c'est" interchangeably:

  • he is the president of the republic (only one person has that status) = c'est le président de la république or il est le président de la république.

  • she is my only cousin = c'est ma seule cousine or elle est ma seule cousine.

  • she is Peter's second wife = c'est la seconde femme de Peter or elle est la seconde femme de Peter.

So, by exception, Duo should accept "il est LE bébé de la famille" (there is only one)


I can't understand ... Is it "il est le" + noun something incorrect??


Please read again, I said that the rule has exceptions.


Thank you, now you have provided those other sentences, I understand the rule better.


Merci Sitesurf


This is the correct solution the time I'm taking this.


There was an audio question "il est le bebe de la famile" with the translation "He is the baby of the family." but "il est.." is not accepted here. Strange.


As you can read on the 4th post on this page, "il est le + noun" can be an exception to the rule that "il est + modified noun" has to be changed to "c'est + modified noun".

So, it is possible that Duolingo has not offered that exception as a valid answer for all sentences containing "he/she is the + noun".


How does "He is the baby..." translate as "elle est ..."?


Un bébé is indeed masculine, but if you use a pronoun to refer to a baby girl, you will use "elle" .


In this case the English to be translated was "he". I think it is a genuine error in the marking.


Agreed, I was referring to general terms, in real life.


i repported this question. Translating "he is" should not be "elle est"


I need an English grammar text book to refresh my memory of terminology. Do you have any suggestions? My last grammar class with over 40 years ago.


I teach English using Raymond Murphy's English Grammar in Use for explanations with exercises, but if you just want to look up what a term means I'd recommend the Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar.


Here is a good resource to understand when to use "il est" and "c'est": http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm


To get past the duolingo "dink dunk" of a wrong response, just remember the form: "c'est" if the noun has "the" or "my" in front of it (or almost any other modifier). "Il/Elle est" otherwise.

Don't overthink this and get caught up in the linguistic jargon. Learning French is not hard. Four year old French kids do it every day.


Why is c'est used as he in this sentence? I learned it as Il est.


Duo is wrong in that "elle" can never mean "he". It should NOT be offered as one correct answer.


"c'est le bébé" can be a baby girl or a baby girl, so "she" or "he".


Considering the fact that "famille" was a masculine noun.. Would the rule of "de + le = du" apply?


"une famille" is feminine: de la famille.


I know, but if we hypothetically assumed that "famille" was a masculine noun. Would the rule "de + le = du" then apply?


c'est le bébé du groupe = he is the group's baby / he is the baby of the group

So, yes "of the" = de+le = "du"; or "de la"; or de+les = "des"


Thank you so much Sitesurf, really helps me! So am I understanding it correctly that you use de/des both for describing that a noun 'belongs' to something ("he is the baby of the group") and to describe an uncountable noun ("des verres")?



When "des" is a contraction of "de+les", it is:

  • either a possessive case (le bébé des parents)
  • or the indirect object of a verb constructed with preposition "de" (il parle des enfants = he talks about the children).

But "des" is also the plural indefinite article (that does not exist in English), and in this case, it is not a contraction of de+les:

  • je prends un verre (singular) = I take a glass
  • je prends des verres (plural) = I take (some) glasses

When it comes to "de", it is only a preposition, with a wide array of usages, including tricky ones:

Expressions of quantity:

  • j'ai beaucoup de verres - not "de + des verres": in this case, the article "des" disappears to give precedence to "de", which belongs to "beaucoup de" (prepositional phrase), for euphony reasons.

Negative sentences:

  • je n'ai pas de verres - not "de + des verres", again for euphony reasons.
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