"That is a cake."

Translation:C'est un gâteau.

April 9, 2013

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Why isn't it "Est-ce un gateau"? What is the difference?


"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.


I think "ceci" is used with feminine nouns

E.g 'ceci est une chienne'


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


Is there such thing as a tarte ?


Sure! une tarte is a tart, ie a disk of dough with fruit on top.


Ah thanks a mil, so it's like a pie :) Mixed them up


if "that is..." is "c'est", what is "this is..."?


Is there any difference between "that" and "this" in French?

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