"He is a Japanese boy."

Translation:C'est un garçon japonais.

March 10, 2013



Why isn't it "Il est un garcon japonais"?

<pre>C'est un garçon japonais. </pre>

Use "c'est" when the noun has an article before it (une, un, le, la, or l').

I am a bit confused by their correction.

March 10, 2013


The general rule is:

il / elle est + adjective, ils / elles sont + adjective

c'est + [a noun which is modified by one of the following:]

an indefinite article - un, une, des

a definite article - le, la, les

a possessive adjectives - mon, ma, mes, tu, vous, son, sa, ses

a demonstrative adjectives - ce, cette, ces

by a number - deux, trois...

January 10, 2016


You use "c'est" when describing someone or something...hope that helps!

December 11, 2014


"He is stupid" describes someone as stupid, yet we would not say, "C'est stupide", but rather, "Il est stupide ". "C'est un garçon japonais" would be the correct answer for "It is a Japanese boy".

July 6, 2017


i thought the exact same idea, that's why i was going to discuss this sentence. my french immersion friend said that "Il est" is he is not "c'est" which is "it is"

March 11, 2014


Your french immersion friend is mistaken.

March 7, 2015


Bonjour! Je m'appelle Aurelie! Merci pour aide moi! I had a hard time understanding c'est + noun but when you said with an article and noun it made me understand better! Merci!!

March 19, 2015


You can say "Il est garçon japonais" but you can't include the "un". That is what makes the first response incorrect.

January 7, 2014


I asked my french friend if your sentence "il est garcon japonais" is correct and she said no, you must use articles ALL the time. So? :x

May 9, 2014


Ah, however with "Il est professeur" she said "Oh, thats correct because it is different!" -_-

May 9, 2014


No article needed for professions. Because um, reasons

June 21, 2015


Oh! That makes sense! I was wondering about that.

February 6, 2014


no is important to add un ! cuz if you didn't it well be an Incomplete sentence

December 11, 2014


Thank you kind person

November 2, 2015


I don't understand. Not the first choice because it spells Japanese with the feminine ending. It is the second choice that should be correct even with the addition of the third choice being correct due to the "c'est ma femme" colloquialism. However, I thought that this usage of "c'est" only applied in the possessive application as in " ma femme". Anyone want to clear this up?

February 2, 2014


Similar to how you don't say, Il est un professeur. You just say, "Il est professeur". You can also say, "C'est un professeur".


February 2, 2014


Thank you so much, Misha. This site clarified everything. Bon chien!

February 3, 2014


Although it is perfectly acceptable to use "il est un professeur", at least in Quebec, which is where I live now. I should add that this isn't just something I picked up, but rather that I was explicitly told by a native French speaker (and teacher, no less).

September 14, 2014


Quebec has lot of interesting words that may or may not be part of "Standard" french, as do other parts of Canada. Meaning that, even though "Char" is fairly acceptable in Quebec for "Car" (with the basis of the word being "Chariot"), it's not part of French the world over. English has the same issue. "Boot" in England means the trunk of a car, but we certainly wouldn't say that in BC. I guess what I am saying, is that Duolingo is focusing on more broad-based usage, rather than specific.

September 14, 2014


I guess it's just something I have to live with. It's very confusing, living in Quebec and trying to learn French, picking up phrases and words only to find that they're wrong on Duolingo. I can't expect Duolingo to accept Quebec French, since France has so many more native speakers, but it's frustrating. :P

September 14, 2014


That was a great website. Good practice exercise too! 11/12! and the one I got wrong was a silly mistake...

February 26, 2014


I love that site. it is so helpful.

July 4, 2014


I really don't seem to understand why "C'est un garçon japonais." is correct whilst "Il est un garçon japonais." fails. Could anyone help , please ?

January 27, 2014


This makes it much clearer. If I understand it if there is a NOUN as the object then you can say IT IS - C'est.

May 28, 2014


Not necessarily an object: C'est un grand homme. (he is a great man). Homme isn't grammatical object here...

I would say that c'est goes always before a noun with an article. Here are another links for this issue:



May 28, 2014


Is this a rule of french? It is impossible to me to keep it in my mind

November 11, 2013


Can anyone tell Aneka where he's gone?

May 5, 2015


I knew someone else would think of this song!

February 5, 2016


Showing my age... :-(

February 5, 2016


c'est is used for it and it asked for HE so it has to be il

March 6, 2014



Please look at the comment immediately above yours.

Edit: Because comments get bounced around over a period of days, you will now have to look a little further up the page to find the answer to your question.

March 6, 2014


The right translation of 'c'est un garcon japonais' would be 'this is a Japanese boy

May 27, 2014


I, too, was confused about the il est/c'est thing. I read part of the blog that KristianCRO linked to and now I'll just have to keep an eye out for articles. I guess it's just one of those things that will come naturally after enough practice.

From what I know so far, the translation of "C'est un garcon japonais" would've been THIS is a japonese boy. I still think Duolingo should've given us SOME sort of credit for selecting Il est..

June 2, 2014


No, no credit, because it's wrong.

March 7, 2015


D'accord! A French 'speciality', not an exception tho'? One of those things that will become a habit with usage? This is my first post, it's good to read the support & help.

September 21, 2014


To help me understand this better. In French 'Il est' is wrong because the sentence is just stating that some boy happens to be Japanese. We may or may not be near him, we may or may not know him; we are simply stating that a boy is Japanese. Given that the English language doesn't allow us to use 'it' when referring to a human, our only option is to use 's/he is'. So in fact this sentence in English could also be thought of as 'it's a Japanese boy'?

July 2, 2014



C'est versus il / elle est

You may find it helpful to read this:


This is an oversimplification but...

He is / She is + adjective -- use Il est / Elle est

He is / She is + noun -- use C'est

So... c'est can mean 'he is' or 'she is' in certain circumstances.

July 1, 2015


I met a Japanese boy once. He was shy, but very nice. =^.^=

October 31, 2015


Mister, can you tell me where my love has gone. He's a Japanese boy

April 6, 2017


Was it something you've said or done, that made him pack his bags up and run?

October 2, 2017


me too, the "he is" issue.. :(

August 25, 2013



January 31, 2014


Use "c'est" when the noun has an article before it (une, un, le, la, or l') ar a possesive (ma, son, e.t.c) before it

e.g ''c'est mon pere''

February 13, 2014


Super Sweet trick question

February 16, 2014


y u do diis

September 18, 2014


Duolingo asks me to translate "he is a Japanese boy" and says "il est un garçon japonais" should be "c'est un garçon japonais". Why can't you use "il" here?

November 23, 2014


Before "un", "une", "des" and possessive pronouns (like "mon", "ma", "mes"), "c'est" is used instead of "il est" or "elle est." It's just one of those French rules you have to memorize. So, you can say "il est japonais," but not "il est un garçon japonais."

November 23, 2014


I thought the same thing about "c'est" and "il est".. :p

February 3, 2015


I thought c'est was 'it is' or 'this is'

February 11, 2015


Thank you Andrew48! All other explanations not needed. :)

February 14, 2015


i do not understand normally. he is = il est

September 9, 2015

September 11, 2015


I spelt it japonies the first time XD

May 4, 2016


I do not have accents in French on key board can not get buy this one

December 13, 2016


C'est means it is not he is

October 20, 2017


Why isn't it c'est garcon japonais

December 25, 2017


I completely fail to understand when the sentence starts with "He is.... " that that it should translate as c'est which basically translates as "this is". I am sure that I have answered very similar sentences in exactly the same fashion to have the answer directed the other way. I am sure that in a real-life conversation it won't matter either way.......

January 14, 2018


I am not saying it is incorrect, I am only saying the phrase was wrotten twice so I clikced on it twice and Duolingo marked it wrong

October 18, 2018


'il est un garcon japonais' is absolutely correct and should be accepted.

November 6, 2018
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.