"Il est tard."

Translation:It's late.

February 20, 2013

80 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lorilein

I translated it with "he is late" which obviously was wrong. but I don't exactly know why. what do you say to point out that actually HE (a person) is late?

February 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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In French "tard" is an adverb, not an adjective, that is why it does not work. Same thing with "tôt": it is early = il est tôt - he is early = il est en avance.

February 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/bugbrain_04

Good to know, but... why is this in Adjectives 2, then?

May 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/studyy
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Good point !

August 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Linnou

Couldn't agree more! And how do I say 'he is late'?

January 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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As already written 6 times on this thread: il est en retard.

January 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

Sitesurf: in the android app, your answer that it has already been mentioned several times is actually the first answer adressing that point. Is the answer tree perhaps upside down at different platforms? In the android app no time tags are visible.

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/BryanTelford

I think you would say, "Il est en retard."

March 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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@AasaLundin:

There are no time tags on the main site either, only on a scope of 24 hours. Depending where people ask their questions, the chronological order may not be respected. Example: if I start a new question on this thread, it will get down as the last post. If you read all posts down to the very end of this thread, you will see that previous conversations are located below (including the earlier mentions that "he is late" translates to "il est en retard").

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/joefrieler

Might wanna take the adverb out of an adjectives section.

June 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/legrosH

Why? Obviously this is meant to check whether we know the difference. I didn't and now have learned.

January 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Cheburashka_2014

I agree!!!

August 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Quouar
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Though, to be fair, what qualifies as an adverb or an adjective is flexible in different languages.

January 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tliarch
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this seems obscure...and I dont know how I would know it at this stage of learning. I am still trying to figure out french words as the apply using context of the sentence. So, this is a layer I dont believe I have been exposed to until now.

February 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/essdrae

Troll level: French.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Budahazy

Il here isn't masuline personal pronoun but an impersonal pronoun as in the expressions il est important/ Il pleut/ etc. they are translated by IT.= It is important/ It's raining. HERE:Il est tard.=It's late. or il est tôt =it is early

December 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Amy1706
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Thank you Sitesurf!

September 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/patlaf
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You can say "il est en retard" to say "he is late".

February 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/maila32

Il est en retard

March 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/alinarosemary

Am I right in saying that translating this as 'he' would be a bit like saying 'he is quickly' instead of 'he is quick'?

April 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Yes, you are right.

April 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ella.mckel

That helps me remember - but in English, "it is quickly" would also be incorrect. So to my understanding, tard is not really an adverb - it does not describe a verb in this sentence - but just an adjective that doesn't work with personal pronouns.

February 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"tard" is necessarily and adverb because it is not an adjective. The adjective matching "tard" is "tardif / tardive".

"il dîne / il rentre tard" show that "tard" is an adverb, modifying the verb.

February 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ella.mckel

In English though, "late" as in "it is late" is an adjective the same as for "he is late." It's only an adverb when modifying a verb, like in "he arrived late." Thank you very much for your French explanations! They're just not jelling with my understanding of English grammar. (but why would I expect them to?!)

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/belin91

In this case, I believe "tard" is the adverb modifying the verb "is."

March 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/TeardropExplodes

Part of the difficulty here is that 'tard' in French is apparently an adverb which translates into 'late' in English which we think of as an adjective because it goes with "is".

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rpl12345

That doesn't make sense. Not being an adjective doesn't make it an adverb by default. Actually I believe it is an adjective. Whether it describes HE or IT doesn't change its definition. It still describes a noun (pronoun in this case), not a verb.

February 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SourireCache

On a general note, I seriously recommend that "tard" be grouped w/ the adverbs. As Surf has repeatedly pointed out, it is NOT an adjective. Also because, it has started a frenzy of confusion - evident from the above comnents.

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lukman.A
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What if we say it, "C'est tard"? Is it right or common in daily conversation? Thank you^^

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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You can hear it, although it is not quite orthodox. Impersonal expressions are always more formal than the ones starting with "c'est".

January 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/annag
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I would guess that's like, "this is late", or "that's late", like maybe when someone's proposing a curfew of 5am... "c'est trop tard".

February 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/FGBraz
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That's because in "trop tard" you have a modified adverb.

http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm

But if the adverb is describing a person (in this case, whoever is late), not a situation, "Il est" is more accurate while "C'est" is more oral/informal.

March 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Morphenius

I would like to know this, too. I was going to ask this if I didn't see it asked here already - and I'm saddened to see no reply!

January 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ericdavis

it is late is translated as il se fait tard

May 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Yes, correct, from the colloquial, relaxed register.

May 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Tanya369

I just saw almost the same sentence "il est bas" which can be either "it" or "he" when translated. I'm not sure I see the difference. "il est tard" should be "it" and "he".

March 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"il est tard": "tard" is an adverb and not an adjective which would qualify "il" as a person. this is an impersonal construction. if you mean "he is late", you use: "il est en retard".

"il est bas": may relate to a piece of furniture (a low stool, for ex) and also to a person, although that would need a context: "il est bas dans les sondages" (he is low in the polls).

March 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/tliarch
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Sitesurf RULES with his explanations. I get more from these, than from any other commenter, though there are lots of good ones here. DUO is lucky to have you on here.

February 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wraxtl
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I always thought Sitesurf was a her though :)

February 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/beemerich
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Excellent explanations. Thanks for those.

March 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Wiggy96

Sorry, Sitesurf, I'm still having problems with this, despite your excellent explanations. You say (and I believe you) that in the sentence 'Il est tard', 'tard' is an adverb. But what is the verb being modified here? The only verb in the sentence is 'is', and it seems to me that what 'tard' is modifying is an unstated noun (the hour, or the season or whatever), and thus it's acting as an adjective. I'm sure I'm missing something, but what? Tricky blighter, language, isn't it? I think perhaps RuthBryant's comment at the bottom of the thread is the way to go - sometimes we just have to learn things rather than try to fully understand them!

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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In many cases, verb "être" is used to qualify the subject thanks to an adjective, but there are other cases, like this one, where the verb is complemented by an adverb or an adverbial phrase as attributes of position ( in time or space, incl. figurative):

il est tard = impersonal subject + être + adverb

il est tôt = il est tôt (it is early)

il/elle est en retard = real subject + être + adverbial locution (literally, "en retard" means: "in a delay")

il/elle est retardé/e = he is delayed ("retardé" does not mean "retarded").

That structure also exists in English, where "be" is not always complemented by an adjective: it is Monday, he is in the pink, she is under my thumb...

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/texascg
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Great explanation. Explains a recent discussion with a French colleague. I said "je suis tarde" and she quickly trained me to say je suis en retard. She explained that the way I said it implied that I was pregnant.

As in English, "I'm late" can have other connotations.

April 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Wiggy96

Thank you once again for your patience. This is extremely helpful.

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wendy_walsh

My confusion is that in English there are two basic positions for adjectives. The first is before nouns, and the second after 'linking verbs' (be, become, seem, etc). In English when we have the be verb, we follow it with an adjective, not an adverb. We don't say 'she is slowly' or 'it is slowly'. In both cases in English we use the adjective 'slow'. It seems that in French the verb 'to be' can be followed by an adverb as well as an adjective. How do we know when? Is it that the difference between 'He is smart' and 'He is late' is that smart is a personality trait and late is a temporary description of a situation?

June 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

Late is an adverb in English too, in a sentence like "It is late."

June 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fraserbooks

thanks for the explanation. I was puzzled by the sentence as well.

April 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/IIIIIIIV

thank you for elaborating

October 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PuckOfPooksHill

How about "il est pur"? How is that different to "il est tard" and your explanations for it? It appears in the same section but is translated as "He is clean" as well as "It is pure". I'm happy to be told it is just to do with French idiom - ways to say things in a language don't always make explainable sense.

July 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Budahazy

Many thanks Sitesurf. It was the first occasion that I noticed that you are answering the questions right here! I began to remember that I knew the difference between 'il est tard" (impersonnel) and "il est en retard" personnel. Like: il pleut;/ il neige etc.(impersonnel ones)

November 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Beanalby

In "il est en retard," what part of speech is "en" / what purpose does it serve? Googling shows it as an adverbial pronoun and preposition, which don't appear relevant.

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

En=in

Il est en retard=He is in (a) delay=he is late

Je suis en France=I am in France

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Beanalby

Oh, I guess it is a preposition there. That makes sense, Thanks!

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

You are welcome!

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Davewilson123

I am clear now. But ADJECTIVES.

November 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/philipo79

Since someone said tard is an adverb does this mean "it is late" as" in late at night" and not "it (noun e.g. the bus) is late"?

September 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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yes, you use "tard" as adverb when the subject is impersonal, your examples are appropriate to that: il est tard, tard dans la nuit, c'est trop tard, etc... or with another verb than "être", like "se réveiller tard, se coucher tard, s'y prendre trop tard..."

September 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/aboyer02
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Two different sites use "Il est tard" specifically when giving ways that 'tard' an adverb is used. http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-anglais/tard and http://www.wordreference.com/fren/tard

April 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

So confused...... Sitesurf, please help in individually explaining this to me!

December 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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in English, "late" can be an adjective and an adverb.

in French "tôt" (early) and "tard" (late) are only adverbs

  • it is early / late (impersonal) = il est tôt / tard

  • she arrived early / late (real personal pronoun) = elle est arrivée en avance / en retard.

December 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SourireCache

I like this explanation best. It was swift & simple. Thanks!

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KimSCasey

Sitesurf, the French Today site has a very helpful PDF download. Merci beaucoup.

March 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Kitishot

Just want state that putting an adverb in the in the adjectives section is misleading, and bad form when it comes to teaching the language, hence all these confuse people.

September 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/judithscott

My apologies for wasting people's time by stating what had already been said. For some reason I was not initially able to see and read the complete thread earlier today.

April 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/FrancisBuahin

Un homme sympa!

September 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Budahazy

Il est tard . Qui est tard? Il. What is the difference between 'il est tard "/ and (person) "Il est tard." ?

November 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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What if you read the whole thread?

November 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/annag
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"il est tard" = it (the time) is late.

"il est en retard" = he (the person, bus, whatever) is running late.

February 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Delta19-64

Really like how the hint gives "he" as a possible alternative....

January 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/annag
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I think the hints just aren't that clever about the context they're in, and are trying to give general advice about what the word might mean in any setting (not just this one).

February 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/chris_nairn
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Could "c'est tard" mean "it is late" as well as "he is late?"

February 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

No.

March 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/chris_nairn
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Okay, strictly because of common expressions or a grammar rule? Thanks.

March 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

A person that is late is en retard. Time, for example, is tard. Tard is an adverb while retard is an adjective, if I have fully understood this.

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"un retard" is a noun. "en retard" literally translates to "in a delay".

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DEJUANROBI1

There should be an alternative answer for this sentence structure.

April 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

How do you mean? That Duolingo would construct a new, easier way to say this that only those who have learnt French via Duolingo would understand?

April 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/devindeluxe1

Dang! I put "It it late"

February 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/dfJDe5iz

Surely it would depend on the context?

January 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ali716280

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@kuchepuchebachcha

February 6, 2019
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