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https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

Il est très difficile de donner un nombre précis.

northernguy
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Why il est and not c'est? It's about a situation not a person. Très is an unmodified adverb so does that take priority over the adjective describing the situation?

4 years ago

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MultiLinguAlex
MultiLinguAlex
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Thanks for providing this fantastic link. Reminder for me: Basically you can say "C'est très difficile.", but "Il est très difficile de... .".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy
northernguy
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MultiLinguAlex

I looked through the link several times. I just couldn't find any reference to using de to distinguish between il est requirements and c'est requirements. It's important because de introduces a verb in this case so I don't understand what bearing it would have on the issue.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

I think the general rule still stands. For more specific references, il est is used. More general phrases use c'est; More formal = il est; More informal/casual/common = c'est.

From this (still focussing on impersonal phrases only), C'est is used when the statement isn't followed by an adjective:

c'est moi

Whereas Il est can be followed by an adjective for impersonal phrases:

il est un bon livre

However, things change again if the impersonal phrase is followed by an adjective and a clause or infinitive:

c'est/il est vrai qu'il vit. or c'est/il est facile de manger

So back to this example, I agree with the view the the adverb here is not the crucial element. Rather, the phrase consists of all the elements in the last example above - it is impersonal; is followed by an adjective which is in turn followed by an infinitive (donner). This suggests to me that either il est or c'est can be used for this statement.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy
northernguy
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Runakom

Thx. Your reply was helpful.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy
northernguy
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Yeva1

I found this link quite confusing. She says that you can dismiss adverbs and focus simply on the presence or absence of a modified noun.

Both about.com and authoritative commenters on Duolingo have said clearly that unmodified adverbs require il est while modified adverbs require c'est. They also indicate that adjectives referring to a person require il est while those referring to a situation need c'est.

Eg: adverbs

Il est tard - It's late.....unmodified adverb

C'est trop tard - It's too late .......modified adverb

Eg: adjectives

Il est fort - He is strong......adjective describing a person

C'est normal! - That's normal!.......adjective describing a situation

I get the sense that that she focuses on common spoken French but I was very surprised to read her view that adverbs don't count and can be simply dismissed from consideration when determining whether il est or c'est applies.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/microchasseur

On dirait plutôt en français "chiffre" et pas "nombre". C'est qui la personne qui crée les quizzes ?

1 year ago