"It is between seventeen and nineteen."

Translation:C'est entre dix-sept et dix-neuf.

October 1, 2017

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Ok. Can someone explain me where to use il est and c'est? This is something that always goes over my head. Please.


You have to figure out what the English sentence means, especially what "it" is supposed to represent.

As a personal pronoun, "it" can be an animal or thing, which can translate to the personal pronouns "il" or "elle".

"It" can also represent a whole situation, and then there are several possibilities.

  • it is + an adjective = il/elle est + adjective, like "it is red" = "il/elle est rouge."
  • it is + determiner + noun = c'est + determiner + noun, like "it is a mess here" = "c'est le bazar, ici"

As an impersonal subject, "it" can be used in an idiomatic phrase and not mean anything: "it is raining", (il pleut) "it is Monday today" (c'est lundi aujourd'hui) "it is seven am". (il est sept heures). You have to learn them as you go.

The sentence here is rather vague (what is the measure? 17-19 what?), so the vague "c'est entre dix-sept et dix-neuf" is a correct translation, as well as "il/elle est entre dix-sept et dix-neuf".


Excellent summary as usual, SS. Wouldn't it be fantastic if Duolingo had very short paragraph exercises to translate, thereby placing the sentences within context? Sigh. A girl can dream...


I can't disagree with this! ;-)
Yet, we (mods/contribs) can be smarter and build self-sufficient sentences... I think I am going to change this one.


@CommeuneTexane and Sitesurf, completely agree with you!!

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