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What is wrong with this sentence?

I was doing some English from French exercises and in one of the discussions someone said that "Le chat n'est pas le mien" is not proper French. It must be something about having "le" twice so close together in the same sentence? I am confused.

The discussion was here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9414759

December 3, 2017



— A qui est ce chat ?

— C'est le mien !

— Ce n'est pas le mien !


— À moi !

— Pas à moi !


— C'est mon chat !

— Ce n'est pas mon chat !


— Ce chat est à moi !

— Ce chat est le mien !

I do not think there is another correct way to answer in French. You will never hear a French saying "le chat est le mien."

Oh, I remember that very very young children can say (but it is wrong) « C'est mon mien ! » ☺☺☺


So you're saying the problem is using the article le instead of ce?

  • 1269

The general rule in French is to use "C'est" before a noun & "Il/Elle est" before an adjective. I believe pronouns like le mien work the same way as nouns. So "Ce" is necessary here.


I see your point about c'est vs il/elle est before nouns / adjectives. (And thanks! I think I'll have to see it a million times before it sticks!)

However, it's a bit unclear to me how this is relevant here, as it is noun+est. Do you mean c'est can be broken to take either side of the noun?

In my mind, Ce chat n'est pas le mien is correct because it makes sense as a sentence, while Le chien... est le mien is pretty much nonsensical, like 'The dog is the one that's mine'. You just need to specify which dog and the definite article does not cut it. :)

  • 1269

The rule refers to what comes after the verb:

1) Il est grand.
2) C'est un grand homme.

You use il in the first example because you only have an adjective (grand); you use c'est in the second example because you have a noun (homme).

Note that professions without an article (un or une) work as adjectives:

Il est avocat.

see: https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est

In his example, the sentence will be "_ est le mien"

Since "le mien" works like a noun, the _ can't be "il", because you don't put "il est" before a noun. So it's "Ce chat est le mien" or "Le chat, c'est le mien."


So "le chat" functions like "il" but "ce chat" functions like "ce"?

What about "son chat" or "un chat"?


Since "le mien" works like a noun

Thanks, that makes it clear.


i found this explanation as a distinction between "a moi" and "le mien". hope this helps.

Ce livre est à moi. means that there is only one book under discussion. Ce livre est le mien. implies to me that there are at least two books, and I am identifying the one that belongs to me.

[deactivated user]

    Well, if you look, the translation is "La chatte n'est pas à moi."


    This does not explain why you cannot say "Le chat n'est pas le mien," or for that matter "La chatte n'est past la mienne."

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