"It's forbidden to use elbows in soccer."
Translation:C'est interdit d'utiliser les coudes au football.
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From what I can see, dans le and en both refer to the place it's happening. (It seems to depend on whether the topic is masculine or feminine, and as football itself is masculine (as is coude in this case) the former is somewhat more common.)
Au makes soccer the destination or objective.
Du takes something as the substance/contents of the soccer.
Any of those three could arguably work, no? Using au just makes it seem like they're amateurs, children maybe, trying to play something that passes for soccer to me. The sentence seems artificial here anyway. For a taste of how soccer French really looks: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loi_12_du_football#Faute_de_main (sometimes even faute de coude comes up online) . . .
I learned the opposite here on Duolingo.
C'est un homme. (C'est + noun)
Il est aimable. (Il/elle + adj)
I think c'est can also be used when describing a general state of things, e.g "c'est bon" or in this case "c'est interdit".
It's curious that "il est interdit" is also accepted, and I would appreciate a French person's input on why this is allowed when in so many instances the distinction between c'est and il/elle est is important.
"« C’est interdit » ce dit qu’enfin il s’agit d’une information.
« Il est interdit » ce dit quand on énumère des règles."
So apparently it's c'est interdit when you want to elicit a response, il est interdit when you're just going over the rules or in writing, say.
c'est interdit when you want to elicit a response, il est interdit when you're just going over the rules or in writing
I'd say that if anything, that's another argument in il's favor. The speaker is clearly explaining the rules to someone new to the sport, not reprimanding someone who just committed a foul (as no one in that situation needs to be reminded what sport they're playing ["au football"]).
Given that this is a general statement, it seems likely that "les" is standing in for a possessive pronoun. If that is correct, any of the following would be an accurate and better English translation of the French:
It is forbiddden to use one's elbows in soccer
... to use your elbows..
... to use our elbows ..