"They are heroes."

Translation:Ce sont des héros.

April 10, 2013

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Why not "Ils sont des héros?"?


This is a rule you will have to apply VERY often on Duolingo.

In French, "c'est" (sing.) and "ce sont" (plural) are used in a large variety of expressions, when a pronoun (it, she, he, they) is subject of verb "être" and followed by a nominal group, ie: article (+ determiner/adjective) + noun.

o it is (+ determiner) + noun = c'est + article + noun

o she is (+ determiner) + noun = c'est + article + noun

o he is (+ determiner) + noun = c'est + article + noun

o they are + noun = ce sont + article + noun


I always forget this.


I typically don't have much trouble with "ce" vs. "il" forms but translating from "they" throws me off. I think it's because the "ce" forms usually convert better into this/that/those while "ils/elles" almost always converts well to "they."


me too - without context though it's impossible to tell "c'est + ..." means.


Always, always, always.


What about questions? Surely "Sont-ils des héros?" will be permissible here?


Yes, by exception, because "sont-ce" does not sound good.


Une petite note d'anglais, si cela ne vous ennuie pas :

Sounds, tastes, feelings, etc. are "good" rather than "well." If I'm not mistaken, it's the same in French.


It's a personal preference whether "good" or "well" is used. "Well" sounds more proper, but both are commonly used interchangeably in colloquial speech. However, sometimes there are phrases where one or the other just doesn't sound right.


Small small correction, Sitesurf. A very common mistake in English. Should be "sound good" not "sound well" because "sound" is a verb relating to the senses and reflects back to the subject. Therefore an adjective is used in this case "good". It is clearer in the distinction in meaning between "I feel good." and "I feel well." People, native and non-native, often misuse "well" here. And say "I feel well." when they really mean to say they feel good. To "feel well" means that one's capacity to feel is functioning just fine. I'm doing well and I feel good. We might think too, that "It' does not sound good" doesn't sound good, so we stick a "well" in there instead, thinking it sounds better. But as you can see, we don't say, "It sounds 'weller'".

In our sentence above, things are complicated by complex meanings of the verb "to sound" http://learnersdictionary.com/definition/sound

All of this is offered in a spirit of great gratitude to you for your clear and generous help to all of us learning French. It is only because I know you care about these subtleties of language that I offer this information. And not just to non-native English speakers, either. :D


I am grateful for your time and care, Ahulani. As you can tell, after learning and using English for countless years, I can still indulge in (stupid) direct translations.


although what you say is true, there is no reason Duolingo should refuse us to write it this way (ils sont des héros). where I come from (Québec) we say the singular "c'est un héro" and the plurar "ils sont des héros". it's just a matter of usage, but semantically speaking, it's exactly the same


Thank you for this clarification


What is an article?


Definite articles: le, la, l', les (= the)

Indefinite articles: un, une (= a/an), des (= some or nothing)

Partitive articles: du (de+le), de la, de l' (= some + mass noun)

Contracted articles: du (de+le), des (de+les), au (à+le), aux (à+les) (= preposition + the)

Please take a look at this: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4614759


But there is no article in "they are heroes." So why does this rule apply?


There is no article in English, but there is one in French:

  • singular: un héros
  • plural: des héros


Good rule to be made are of - thanks


what's the feminine version of this sentence?


Ce sont des héroïnes.


They are heroes; could be used to describe a particular group of men as heroes, and therefore "Ils" should be accepted as an alternate answer. e.g. If a group of male firefighters saved me from a burning building, I'd say, "Ils sont des héros," because "They" would be referring to a particular group of men.


The issue is not with the meaning but with the grammar:

  • il/elle est + modified noun = c'est + modified noun
  • ils/elles sont + modified noun = ce sont + modified noun

Please take a good look at this: http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est


This is probably a dumb question but why is this not "Ce sont les héros"? Is the "des" partitive which means "some" or is the "des" = "de + les" in which case I enquire why should there be a "de" or "of" included in the sentence? -- doesn't "Ce sont des héros" mean either "they are some heroes" or "they are of the heroes"


I have the exact same question. Les héros sont intelligents, par example. So why "des" if it moves to the back of the sentence...argh...


This is neither de + les = des nor des the partitive article. This is des the plural indefinite article.

There is no such thing as a plural indefinite article in English and we frequently use the filler word "some" to fill the gap that sometimes results. Consequently, the partitive article and the plural indefinite article are often confused by (and confusing to) anglophones.


Partitive articles are "du" and "de la", nothing else.

"Partitive" means "part of sth" and they are exclusively used with singular, uncountable nouns.

  • du pain, de la farine

"Des" is the plural of "un" or "une", which are used exclusively with countable nouns (even if the "count" is theoretical). The meaning of the plural indefinite article is "more than one (countable thing)".

  • C'est un héros --> Ce sont des héros
  • C'est une héroïne --> Ce sont des héroïnes

The other "des", contracted from the preposition "de" and the definite article "les" is a contracted definite article, like "au(x)" (= à + le(s)). It is the plural of "du" (= de + le).
Depending on the context, it can be part of a possessive case or an indirect object.

  • Les pages du dictionnaire --> les pages des dictionnaires (possessive) = the dictionary's page(s)
  • J'ai besoin du dictionnaire --> J'ai besoin des dictionnaires (indirect object) = I need the dictionary/-ries


Who not ils sont des heros


if you have not understood what I wrote above, then please read this: http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est


Thank you for that. It's a great link!


I understand the explaination but "they are heroes" and "these are heroes" in French are the same thing? Or there are some differences?


ce sont des héros = they are heroes or these are heroes.

To insist on the demonstrative aspect of that sentence, we may add something emphatic:

  • ceux-ci / ceux-là sont des héros (these ones are heroes)
  • voici / voilà des héros (here are heroes)


I understand "Ce sont des héros" is correct, but what about "Ils sont héros"?


"héros" is not a profession and cannot be used as an adjective, ie without an article.


thank you, now it's clear :)


why isn't it ces sont des héros?


"ce" is invariable as a pronoun before "sont".

"ces" is an adjective you can use before a plural noun: ces chiens, ces filles = these/those dogs/girls


Ils n'ont pas eu peur, Ils sont nos héros - Paris Match I am still confused.


This is emphatic and a "new style" that journalists seem to like.


Ok, how do we say in English : 'Ils sont des héros' ?


They are heroes


You can't say I am good in English except American English. It sounds like poor English to English ears, although decreasingly so, with the influence of American television etc. Just thought I'd mention, as the distinction between well and good is still significant in the UK, and the lack of it is an american thing. The same applies to the lack of adverbs in American English. Saying, someone did bad rather than badly, or to go slow instead of slowly, really sound broken in English English (because it is... But Obv the colloquial normal differ)


No, it's wrong in American English too, just that most Americans ain't speak english good.


Love it! Got a, well...a good laugh, from your creative sentence!


Of course you can say "I am good." in English, just as you can say "I am evil.". It is just that you are not very likely to say either (unless you mistakenly say it when you really mean something else).


my french speaking colleague said, the correct translation here, without context is "Ils sont des heros" because that means THEY are heros whereas Ce sont des heros sort of means THESE are heros.


In everyday conversations, French people use "ce sont des héros". In writing, and with some stylistic effect, you may read "ils sont des héros".


So they are therefore both correct.
(Although I can see why you feel that "Ce sont …" is the one that should be taught.)

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