"That is a cake."
Translation:C'est un gâteau.
"Est-ce un gâteau ?" is interrogative (question), while "c'est un gâteau" is assertive (statement).
Have I not seen such assertive statements with question marks in Duolingo? Perhaps I am remembering incorrectly. What are the general differences between sentence structure anyway between interrogatives and assertives?
There are 3 possible structures to ask a question in French: formal - standard and casual. The unmistakable hint, however, is the presence of a question mark at the end of the sentence (?)
- The more formal one is built with an inversion Verb-Subject: "est-ce un gâteau ?"
- The standard one uses "est-ce que" which already contains an inversion (est-ce), followed by an assertive sentence : "est-ce que c'est un gâteau ?"
- The casual one is used in oral and since its structure is similar to an assertive sentence, it implies that your voice raises at the end of the sentence: "c'est un gâteau ?"
Wouldn't "Ceci est un gâteau" Work as well? I know french, just strengthening it.
No, ceci and cela are independent from the gender of any other word in the sentence:
- ceci est un chien/une chienne = this is a dog/a female dog
- cela est un chien/une chienne = that is a dog/a female dog
It is relatively easy to remember both translations with the vowel used:
- thIs = cecI and thAt = celA