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  5. French: "c'est" or "est"?


French: "c'est" or "est"?

Hi all,

What's the rule (if there is one) for the use of repeating the "ce" (what's it called, a pronom démonstratif?) when, for example explaining something? E.g:

  • Un jour de remplacement, c'est un jour qui remplace un jour férié qui tombe un dimanche, par exemple.

Do you only repeat the "ce" in "c'est" when it's repeated in a subclause? Within the clause one would not repeat it (e.g. "une rose est une fleur")?


August 27, 2017



The "ce" here is completely optionnal: it is used to introduce a definition, but the sentence is still correct without. You may say:

"Un jour de remplacement est un jour..."

Similarly, you can also say "Une rose, c'est une fleur"

Generally, forms with ce are more common in spoken French, while forms without are more common in writing.


That's a very conclusive answer. Thank you!


Then again... I just read your answer and browsed to another Duolingo notification and saw this:



This has to do with another weird rule of French: if what comes after être is a noun, the subject has to be "ce" (even if the noun is plural). But if être is followed by an adjective or an adverb, then you use the corresponding pronoun (il/elle/ils/elles). some examples:

Ce sont des enfants "they are children" (enfants is a noun - ce)
Ils sont là "they are there" (là is an adverb - ils)

C'est Marie "This is Marie" (Marie is a proper noun - ce)
Elle est belle "She is beautiful" (belle is an adjective - elle)


Thanks a lot @relox84!

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