https://www.duolingo.com/sephquartz

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?

Thanks

June 23, 2012

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/aperl
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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.

June 23, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/jena
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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.

June 23, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/arvore
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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."

June 24, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/sephquartz

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

June 24, 2012
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