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  5. "He is a Chinese man."

"He is a Chinese man."

Translation:C'est un Chinois.

September 8, 2017



Why is, "Il est un homme chinois" incorrect?


Nationalities are usually gender specific in themselves. Eg Chinois / Chinoise (Chinese man/woman), Français / Française (French man/woman), Australien / Australienne (Australian man/woman) etc ...

Nationalities and languages are not capitalised (unless they are proper nouns): French and le français, Spanish and l’espagnol. “I have a French friend” would become j’ai un ami français. However, if the nationality is used as a proper noun, then it is capitalised in French. For example:
“I spoke with an American man today” would become j’ai parlé avec un Américain aujourd’hui.

As for Il est vs C'est, l'Académie française states that il est has a qualification value and is therefore used without an article, while c'est has a classification value and is used with the article. Therefore, we write il est médecin but c’est un médecin. In the first case the name can be replaced by an adjective, in the second it cannot.

Reference: http://www.academie-francaise.fr/il-est-cest-un-0


Kim, don't you mean c'est doesn't have a classification value? Just trying to work out when the article fits and when not


"Il est" and "elle est" change to "c'est" when they are followed by a modified noun. A noun is modified when preceded by a determiner, which can be an article, a number, a demonstrative or possessive adjective, an indefinite adjective, etc.

The same applies to "ils sont" and "elles sont", to be replaced with "ce sont" with the same rules.


"Il est chinois" is not accepted here because "Chinois" is a noun (that's why it's capitalised) and if it is a noun it would be preceded by an article, in this case "un". If it weren't a noun, but an adjective, "il est chinois" would be accepted. Did I think correctly?


Yes, you did.


I accidentally missed the 'un' in this because I was typing faster than I was thinking, and when it corrected me, it said it should be: "C'est 1 Chinois". Presumably because it's mistaking "un" for the meaning "one". Thought it was funny. Might wanna fix that bug.


I also wish this bug were fixed at last. It's been there for years now.


Still not fixed as of August 10th 2018!


Why "il est chinois" is wrong?


"chinois" is an adjective: 'il est chinois" = he/it is Chinese

"Chinois" is a noun: "c'est un Chinois," = he is a Chinese man, it is Chinese one


The English asks for "He is a Chinese man", so why can I not put "C'est un homme chinois"? Is it grammatically incorrect, or adds unneeded emphasis to the statement?


Hi - in American English, the literal translation of this is rude. The rules in English are that certain constructions of origin country are rude for certain countries of origin. Some cases of when this construction is either rude or not used in English are for people from China, Japan, France, Wales, El Salvador, and others I'm sure. We say "He's a Frenchman," not "He's a French." I believe "He's a Frank" is a correct construction but increasingly uncommon, and not always accurate.

Is there another construction that can be used to describe people from other countries? If so, can that be accepted as an answer for this question? Since I don't like saying it in English, I'd rather not say it in French, even if it is grammatical. Thanks.


Why is "c'est un homme chinois" incorrect?


It says I should say "C'est une Chinoise" but isn't that a Chinese woman?


Il est chinois should have been accepted, because "he" indicates man. Also, your online answer: C'est 1 chinois doesn't make sense!


There is a silly algorithm which does not distinguish "un/une" as articles from "un/une" as numerals, nor "one" as a pronoun from "one" as a numeral.

If Duo wanted "il est chinois" the English sentence would be "he is Chinese" - adjective/adjective

Duo wants a noun preceded by an article "un Chinois". Since "il est un + noun" must be changed to "c'est un + noun", the translation for "he is a Chinese man" is "c'est un Chinois" - noun/noun


The English sentence emphasizes "man". Otherwise, you would just say "He is Chinese". The French translation does't accord here.


Yes, it does. "A Chinese man" is "un Chinois" and "A Chinese woman" is "une Chinoise".

By the way, sentences are written in French, so the English sentences you are given are already translated from the original, French sentences.


Why is "C'est un homme chinois" wrong?


Bonjour Jojo, I think all you need in french is" C'est un Chinois" for "He is a Chinese man" and "C'est une Chinoise" for Chinese woman.

Best you check that in a dictionary though as I am just a student of french and certainly no expert !


Sure, you can (and probably will) say just "C'est un chinois", but that doesn't necessarily mean that "C'est un homme chinois" is incorrect. Obviously the former term will be used colloquially because it's a lot simpler to say, but I think Jojo was asking if the latter is grammatically correct or not.

I don't see any issues with it, but I'm still not sure. I do know that people probably would not use it in regular, everyday speech.


By default, we use "c'est un Chinois" (capitalized) to mean "he is a Chinese man". If this person is not a man, we will get back to the adjective and use "c'est un garçon/citoyen/individu... chinois" (non-capitalized).

The same applies of course to "c'est une Chinoise" to mean "she is a Chinese woman".

And the same also goes for every nationality.


Is it technically correct to say "c'est un homme chinois", too? Or can you only say "c'est un chinois"?

I understand that if the former is correct, the latter would still be used much more.


Again "un/e XYZ chinois/e" is always technically correct, but "a Chinese man" is "un Chinois" as "an American" is "un Américain".


Thank you for the clarification. I was confused because the answer "C'est un homme chinois" was not accepted, and thought it may have been incorrect somehow.


I don't know if this is relevant, and it might just be my history as an American, but "C'est un Chinois" doesn't feel right. Not right as in correct, but in a moral sense.


As already mentioned on other threads related to nationality nouns, the French use "c'est un Chinois", which is correct on all fronts. Our own history is different from yours, and this is why there is no moral barrier to use it, as well as any other nationality demonym (un(e) Japonais, un(e) Américain(e), un(e) Anglais(e), etc.).


I thought I read somewhere in Duo that "c'est un chinois" means it is a Chinese restaurant. Is that correct? Then the difference between that and Chinese man is the capitalization of "C"?


I understand that C'est is useed for verbs, but isn't Il est still correct?


See second post in discussion at top. It is clearly stated why it needs to be C'est.


But why when the question is he is European, the answer is Il est not c'est??

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