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  5. Elle = it/she?


Elle = it/she?

Not sure which category this fits in as I got this question in the Color section, but this question has nothing to do with colors.

The french sentence I received was

Ta chemise est sale : elle est grise.

Having had the word "elle" drilled in me as "she", I answered

Your shirt is dirty: SHE is grey.

Which is wrong, and I agree with duolingo, the translation is

Your shirt is dirty: IT is grey.

My question is, the reason we use elle is because "chemise" is a feminine word hence "elle" is employed. Does french have the word "it" and if they do why is the word "it" not employed? Do french refer to every inanimate objects/animals based on their word gender as oppose to english?


June 23, 2012



All words in french have gender and there is no 'it'. You just have to decide if 'elle/il' is 'it' or 'she/he' based on the context. That said a lot of languages have gender for words.


ce, ça, il and elle can all translate to it in the right context (And ce can mean he or she). I found these 2 videos relating to your example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezt0DPrKHkY. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJO0xPoVdeg.

EDIT: ça isn't really relevant to this since it's used with verbs besides e^tre (like aller) and is limited to this, that or it.


The French have no exact equivalent to "it"; instead, people use "il" or "elle" depending on the subject's gender.

"Tu aimes ma jupe? Elle est nouvelle."


Ah gotcha - thanks for the info and resources! :)

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