Why don't french people say "Elle est aussi..." why do you have to use C'est all the time? Is it so as to confuse foreigners who want to learn this beautiful language?
Yes, actually we're plotting a world conspiracy to prevent all people from learning French. Also, we're daily killing kittens in our secret base. You should join us, it's fun.
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This is an instance of a modified noun.
I am trying to get a handle on the c'est/il est rule. Not sure what part of speech aussi/also is (embarrassment), but I ignore it and look at the une and because it is an article, it gets the c'est, n'est pas?
You're doing absolutely the right thing; «aussi» is an adverb, and should be ignored when you decide whether to use «il est» or «c'est». The main thing that matters is whether there's a noun that is modified in some way (an article counts), and then it becomes «c'est» even when you're talking about people.
:-D I can easily picture a francophone sighing with despair... "Pourquoi devez-vous utiliser he, she et it tout le temps? Est-ce que c'est pour confondre les étrangers qui veulent apprendre cette belle langue?"
If, being a francophone trying to learn English, I was in an English discussion about beautiful girls and suddenly the name of Adèle Exarchopoulos was mentioned, probably the first thing to come to mind would be to say "This is also a beauty!" Surely, this is just a fantasy, but an actual francophone could tell how close my fantasy is to reality!
une beauté clearly has a female grammatical gender, but this CAN also refer to a male, right? (as in "HE is also a beauty")
I think you're right. Same logic as "IL est LA victime."
edit: Arjofocolovi seems to answer this question in this discussion in their response to walcfra
The English sentence, She is also a beauty, can have two meanings. It can mean that, among the person's several qualities, beauty is one of them. And it can mean that the person could/should be placed among a group of people identified for their beauty. Does the French sentence carry the same ambiguity?
Actually, it can refer to a ship too, with both meanings -- there are times when English does not use the neutral "it" for an inanimate object. I often struggle with French elle / il as "it" vs she/he.
Usually yes, but it can also be used for animals. It's not usually used as a substitute for objects.
Note that "beauté" / "beauty" is also a concept, and as such can be used for pretty much anything.
"La beauté de ces lieux."
"Ce cheval est d'une beauté sans égale."
"beauté" is always feminine, even when referring to something masculine, so you'll always use "la/une" with "beauté".
So for your examples :
- "C'est une beauté."
- "C'est une beauté."
If one was talking about a male horse or other animal, in English one could say "He is also a beauty". I understand in French, there's is a reluctance to describe human males as "beautiful", but other languages don't necessarily have that restriction. I think we can certainly think of animals as beautiful (male or female).
Are we really restricted to using "beauté" only for females? And, is there another word to describe a male animal as a "beauty"?
Arjofocolovi has explained above that the word "beauté" which is a noun happens to be feminine whether it is applied to a male or a female. The adjective changes from "beau" for male to "belle" for female and to "beaux" for plural masculine and to "belles" for plural feminine, but the noun "beauté" stays the same in the singular and "des beautés" would be plural. There is no such reluctance in French to describe males as beautiful. In English, however, men and boys would be handsome instead of beautiful. If you put "He is also a beauty.", you could report that as an alternative answer for a horse or other animal, but it is not the most common use of the word "beauty". We can say that about animals, but it is also correct to say a handsome horse. Without context, I would put "It is also a beauty." or "That is also a beauty." although I am not sure if those are in the database yet. "She is also a beauty." is correct and probably a safe answer that many people would come up with.
Why not 'She too is a beauty'? Unless it means that she is a beauty as well as something else?
The second word is "bouteille" and so does not sound the same. http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-francais/bottle
So, I was told that whenever there is a copula, a verb connecting the subject with the object using the verb "to be," you must use "c'est" (not "il/elle ), or you must use "ce sont" (not elles /ils) for plurals. Okay, that seems pretty clear (though not intiutive for the English speaker), -- but is it right?. THEN I was told that if you do not have an article in front of the object (say you have "actrice" instead of "la/un actrice), you can say "elle est actrice," if you want. Is THIS right? Very confusing for the English speaker, no matter what... But interesting!
Yes, you can say "elle est actrice", because it's a profession. It also applies to pretty much any noun that defines a person, for example: "elle est mère de deux enfants" or "elle est adulte" (actually "adulte" is also an adjective, but you get the idea).
I didn't know about this copula thing, if I take the example in the copula wikipedia article "the sky is blue", it would translate as "le ciel est bleu", so I would tend to disagree with that rule I guess.
Thanks, Arjofocolovi! Sorry, I forgot to say that the the object in these sentences that I mentioned has to be a noun (not an adjective/adverb), so "le ciel est bleu" wouldn't be included. Would you agree with this amended version of the "rule"? That the"rule" applies if the object is a noun? But... I did not ask whether the subject has to be animate: so, for example, if you are taking about "le violon," being "un Stradivarius," must you say: "C'est un Stradivarius," or can you also say "Il est un Stradivarius"? What sounds natural to you? Ha ha, I promise not to nag you anymore after this!
Well I would need to have a look at all possible uses of this "rule", but from the top of my head I can't think of any example that would use "il est" so I guess it could be used at least as a rule of thumb: "It is a duck" = "c'est un canard".
For your example, it would definitely be "C'est un Stradivarius".
I don't know if you had a look already, but there are some existing rules that seem maybe a bit more precise: