"He is a very nice person."

Translation:C'est une personne très sympathique.

December 18, 2017

This discussion is locked.


why does this translate 'he' when une personne is feminine?


You would get the same or opposite phenomenon with "une victime", or "un témoin" or for instance:

  • She is the only witness = Elle est le seul témoin (or "c'est le seul témoin", which could be interpreted as a "he")

  • He is the first victim = Il est la première victime (or "c'est la seule victime", which could be interpreted as a "she").


This is silly: surely it HAS to be "il est" here, for otherwise there is nothing to indicate that "he" is meant.


Perhaps to specify a man: C'est un très sympa homme.

But, DL gave me: "C'est une très amiable personne" and that doesn't make sense. Amiable may be 'friendly', but it is not 'nice'.


Sorry if this is an obvious question, but when do I have to use "C'est le/la" and when can I use "Il/Elle est". I thought it has to be "C'est" all the time if it's followed by an adjective.


The other way around. Read the comments on c'est vs il/elle est in the Tips and Notes here:



personne is always a feminine noun. "She is a very nice person" is equally correct depending upon context.

Connais-tu Émily ? C'est une personne très sympathique.
"Do you know Emily? She is a very nice person".


Remembering all the noun either masculine or feminine is one of the hardest thing for me. Sigh...


That's because this particular sentence & answer makes no sense. They say "He" and then use "Ce" which is indefinite and could mean "This", "That", "These", "those", or anything.


Please read the notes at the bottom of this discussion thread → you may begin to understand then.


Could be either he or she


It is considering "il est une personne très sympathique" wrong. Is it a mistake or there is something that I'm missing?


Yes, it is incorrect. You must use ce when être is followed by any determiner—for instance, an article (such as "une") or a possessive adjective.


How is one supposed to know that this sentence is referring to a very nice man when une person is feminine?



With lack of context, you don't know. That is why "She is a very nice person" is an equally correct translation.


I was given English: "He is a very nice person"

So, it was indeed specified in this case.


The "une personne" is silly overkill when everyone knows a person is male or female without changing a word's ending from 'masculin' à 'feminin' and we certainly don't need to change from "Il" or "Elle" to "C'est une personne" to re-explain that it is a human being, a person, a female or male.


Why not "C'est un homme ...". A "he" person is a man, right?


Because this can also be translated as "She is a very nice person" as we have no further context to determine the gender of the subject.

Please read through the thread. ☺


This is a good exercise on translation. It made me aware of using "he" for "une personne." And using "il est une personne ..." is just as bad, or even worse.


"C'est une personne très gentille" or "C'est une personne très gentil" Shouldn't one of these work?

I can't decide if "Gentil" needs to agree with "Il" or "Une personne"....


I believe it needs to agree with personne, so "gentille". (I don't know if the adjective itself is acceptable or not though.)


Not C'est un gens tres sympathique. I just don't see how the 'he' can be disregarded here


gens is always plural - https://www.wordreference.com/fren/gens

It never means "person", singular.


Perhaps an alternate translation?


C'est un très sympa homme.


Despite all the discussion existed, I see this a translation from english snetence" HE IS . . . . ." so it ust be " C'EST UN . . . . . " instead. isn't it??


The indefinite article belongs to the feminine noun "personne". The translation can equally back-translate to "She is a very nice person".

However, that aside, "He is a very nice personne" translates to "C'est UNE personne très sympathique".


What if we said C'est une personne très sympa? Would that work? Or is it too informal?


From reading some discussions between French and English speakers on the WordRef forum, it appears that sympa is informal, almost colloquial.


What was wrong with "Il est une personne très gentille" ?


As être is followed by a determiner (une), you cannot use il as a subject, only ce: "c'est une personne..."


Why was "Il est une personne très sympathique" not accepted?


As noted above, when using être + modified noun you use "c'est". C'est une personne...

When être us followed by an adjective, you use il/elle. Elle est gentille.


Thanks to Ripcurlgirl for; Tips Notes in the Être / Avoir lesson:


Why is the gender not important? We are making an assumption that 'he' is acting as a demonstrative pronoun in the Latin grammatical sense, pointing at something mentioned earlier that is obviously a person of masculine gender. In this case the gender would be clear. If the English statement is out-of-the-blue (and the subject isn't present to boot) this assumption is broken. The French given can't be out-of-the-blue because the grammar is Latin-based and a demonstrative pronoun must always refer back to something, no? Or has French changed too? Therefore you'd have to start by giving what is referred to, correct the common English to posh English that obeys Latin grammar such as (considering man/boy makes person redundant) "A man/boy, he is very nice." -> "Un homme/garçon, il est très sympa(thique)."


Why does 'gentille'not work?


I think it should work Xavier, could be the Duo programmers forgot to input that particular version?

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