"C'est un petit gamin."

Translation:He is a little kid.

March 30, 2018

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ARRRRRGH! The number of times Duo has marked me wrong for using kid instead of child.


That is because the old tree was a bit lazy and accepted it as a translation of enfant- now they have expanded the database vocabulary to actually include the French word for "kid".


Thanks! That's why this is here now...to show the difference between "child" (enfant) and "kid" (gamin/gamine).


How do you know when C'est means he/she instead of it? is it based on context?


The short answer is yes. Here is some information on how to use c'est and il est:

When describing people and things with être in French, you usually can't use a personal subject pronoun like elle. Instead, you must use the impersonal pronoun ce, which can also mean "this" or "that". Note that ce is invariable, so it can never be ces sont.

These pronouns aren't interchangeable. The basic rule is that you must use ce when être is followed by any determiner—for instance, an article or a possessive adjective. Note that c'est should be used for singulars and ce sont should be used for plurals.

C'est un homme. — He's a man. / This is a man. / That is a man.
Ce sont des chats. — They're cats. / These are cats. / Those are cats . C'est mon chien. — It's my dog. / This is my dog. / That's my dog.

If an adjective, adverb, or both appear after être, then use the personal pronoun.

Elle est belle. — She is beautiful. (Or "It is beautiful.")
Il est très fort. — He is very strong. (Or "It is very strong.")
Ils sont calmes. — They are calm.

As you know, nouns generally need determiners, but one important exception is that professions, nationalities, and religions can act as adjectives after être. This is optional; you can also choose to treat them as nouns.

He is a doctor. — Il est médecin. / C'est un médecin.

However, c'est should be used when using an adjective to make a general comment about (but not describe) a thing or situation. In this case, use the masculine singular form of the adjective.

C'est normal ? — Is this normal?
Non, c'est étrange. — No, this is strange.

I hope that helps.


Excellent explanation of c'est vs il est. Thank you for taking the time to put this together.


Merci but it is actually from Duolingo's Tips & Notes under the Skill Être / Avoir. :-)


Cheatsheet: pronoun + être + modifier (+ adjective) + noun I. E. He is a tall man = C'est un homme grand.


I do not object to learning a wider vocabulary at all, why should I? I do object to the word "boy" being called incorrect as a translation for "gamin". I taught my pupils all the slang/common usages in English, but made clear that some words should not be used when speaking formally etc. If applying for a job, for eg, would you say "As a kid I lived------" No, you would say child or boy/girl. So, translating gamin with "kid" is not the only option. My objection is that BOY is marked wrong. I also believe that you need to be totally fluent and relaxed in a foreign language before you begin to use that language colloquially. Otherwise you tend to sound rather like an adult trying to sound young and up to date by using teenage slang!


That is teaching formality and politeness of how one should speak however gamin does not translate to boy which, as a teacher, you would know is garçon.


But "gamin/gamine" is informal, not formal, just like "kid" is informal, not formal. And no one is suggesting that you should use the informal word when speaking formally. Some people are always in formal mode and may consider informal words as demeaning the language. Actually, they are just informal. Other people are always in informal mode, and just can't understand why everything isn't just accepted because that's what they always say. Enter Duolingo to teach that "enfant" (child) is the standard word and "gamin(e)" is the informal word. Per Larousse, "gamin(e)" = "kid", just "kid". https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/gamin/35961


Well, Duo... a kid is actually a young goat... to use the word "kid" for a young child is informal language... of course used often.....and more often than the word "child" but it is wrong (in my opinion) to mark the
informal translation "kid" as the correct answer and mark the correct formal English translation young child as wrong answer....


I'm sorry, Krista. But this is one where you will need to adjust to the reality that "enfant" will be translated as "child" (not "kid") and "gamin(e)" will be translated to "kid" (not "child"). What you choose to use in formal or informal speech is up to you. But for learning purposes, this is what it is. The French term for a young goat is un chevreau or une chevrette.


Yes, "kid" is informal English for a child just as gamin is informal French for un enfant. Duo is expanding your vocabulary. It is a term you will hear used in French films etc.

See here

It is a word that has also crossed in English usage:


You are joking!!!! "kid" is a slang term and I would never use it in polite conversation. I often hear French people using this word in interviews etc and it always sounds so very wrong. I know the word "gamin" and it does not have the same ring to it as the word "kid" in English. Maybe in American English you could get away with using it!! Do you use native speakers at all? I was a language teacher for many years so do have some knowledge.

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As an American import, "kid" used to be widely disapproved of in the UK, but these days it is generally accepted and, while informal, would not be considered slang. I certainly hear it all the time.


kid is used all the time in my environment (Australia) but English is my second language and I feel uncomfortable if I would use it in formal language or writing. so I thank you for your input Rachael.


Sorry, but "kid" is not slang. It is an informal word in English, just like "gamin/gamine" is informal in French. The terms are comparable across languages here.


French was my first language growing up but I fell out of practice when I moved to the USA at 8, there have been many changes to language since i last spoke it. When talking to French speaking relatives now I have noticed the inclusion of many new words that would not have been considered proper French when I first learned it.


Speaking as a "ricain," I would go so far as to say that "kid" is the standard spoken term for a child here, and "child" is reserved for a higher register.

Most common: "How many kids do you have?" "I have two kids." Less common: "How many children do you have?" "I have two children."


Does not 'gamin' indicate a rather wayward boy, What one might call an urchin, or a rascal. thus 'he is a little rascal (or urchin)' should be acceptable.


No, gamin means "kid, youngster".
galopin = "rascal, scallywag, scamp" and polisson = "naughty, mischievous", also "rascal, imp".

As-tu inscrit tes gamins à la piscine ? → Have you registered your kids at the pool.

See here


Here c'est is pronounced like 'set' but I thought c'est is pronounced 'say'?


It is usually pronounce like "say" however, here it it followed by a vowel - un - so it is pronounced "say-tuh" due to liaison.


As Ripcurlgirl says, the "t" is pronounced due to the liaison.


As a native English speaker i would never use the US "kid". "Lad" is a perfectly good informal term for boy


What is used more in common everyday french: "gamin" ou "enfant?"


Can gamin also mean brat? There was a French film called Les Gamins a few years ago. The English title was "The brats". I always thought that gamin and gosse had some negative connotations, and gosse (as in sale gosse) was worse.


Gamin, gosse and môme are synonyms and informal French for kid or brat. As a French native speaker, i use them a lot with my friends/family but they don't necessarily mean something negative. Just... familiar words with neutral connotations. When I want to speak positively about a child, but still rather unformaly, I say "pitchoune". It's a cute word from the provençal that means "little one", if I remember well.

NB: DON'T use "gosse" as "kid/brat" in Québec! They mean something else*. ;-)



"He is a small child" ...Why was this marked wrong?!!


I wrote C'est une petite gamine and reported that it should also be accepted.

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