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  5. "I am a man and she is a woma…

"I am a man and she is a woman."

Translation:Je suis un homme et c'est une femme.

December 19, 2012

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what is wrong with, "je suis un homme et elle est une femme"?

  • 1598

"Elle est une ..." is not correct French.

You have to use "c'est" when the noun has an article before it (une, un, le, la, or l').

Good examples on use to use "c'est" vs "il est" (singular) / "ce sont" vs "ils sont" (plural) can be found here:



So does that mean if someone asks about the gender of a baby, you would answer 'c'est un garçon or c'est une fille?

  • 1598

You are right.


so i forgot the " c' " in est?

  • 1598

You had to type "(...) c'est une femme."


The table on the link isn't intuitive, but after a few minutes study, the point is clear. Since this is a modified noun ('une' femme), we use "c'est" instead of "elle est" as an arbitrary rule of speech. Nearly every French noun has an article in front of it, which would mean that we would always be using c'est, so it needs to be clear that we speaking about the modification of a third-person subject. Otherwise, the rule as specified would render "je suis un homme" into "c'est un homme" because "you have to use 'c'est' when the noun has an article before it".

  • 1598

Right. This rule only applies for the third person.

FYI, for the 3rd person plural form, you have to use "ce sont" instead of "Ils sont" or "ells sont" in similar cases.

  • ex: You have to say "Ces sont mes enfants", and not "Ils sont mes enfants".


Thanks for the hyperlink Remy, it was very helpful.


I think when you read it, it sounds kind of weird.


But I don't see a difference between modified and unmodified nouns, the example didn't help.

  • 1598

Hi, there is a good explanation in this link:



But what about la/le? Would it also be "et c'est la femme"?

  • 1598

No, "a" is an indefinite article, and means "un/une".

("la femme" would be "the woman")


So la/le are definite articles? It would be "et elle est la femme"? (I know that's not the translation this sentence is looking for, I'm just curious whether it's c'est la/le or elle est la/il est le.)


If I understand it correctly, "la" can only be used with "c'est", because it modifies the noun. So if the sentence was "I am a man and she is THE woman", it would have been translated as "Je suis un homme et c'est la femme".


Sorry - I did not see an explanation at french.about.com that explains how the second half of this sentence contains a modified noun . What is it modified by? The first half? Were they two stand alone sentences would they then be - "Je suis un homme." and "Elle est une femme."? Thank you.


It looks like the article itself modifies the noun. Unmodified noun is without any article at all. So that's why when speaking about one's profession you can use "il est musicien".


If that were the case then the first half of the sentence should be "C'est un homme" as the word man is also preceded by an indefinite article.


I guess the rule applies only when you refer to someone or something. When you talk about yourself you cannot use it (normally). Then it's "je suis un homme" or "je suis musicien". And here is a topic about articles with one's profession, it may be useful too: http://duolingo.com/#/comment/5536


The il est/ c'est rule only applies to the third person.

Je suis is fine because it is first person.

  • 2310

can you say "elle est femme"?

  • 1598

No, "femme" (like every other nouns in FR) is always preceded by an article.

  • So you have to say: "c'est une femme" (because "elle est une femme" is not correct).


That was thorough - thank you so much!


I believe the a modified verb has a gender distinction, while a word like 'doctor' of 'professor' are unmodified as they do not change. Could this be right?


The explanation provided refers to a modified noun not verb, and in each case the noun has a gender distinction and is not modified.

The explanation at about.com looks like this:

Unmodified noun Modified noun Il est avocat. C'est un avocat. (He's a lawyer.) (He's a lawyer.)

Elle est actrice. C'est une bonne actrice. (She's an actress.) (She's a good actress.)

In the second example the noun is clearly modified by the adjective bonne. But I fail to see how it's modified in the first example. The English is exactly the same in both cases!

Thanks again all.

  • 1598


The modifier in the sentences "C'est un avocat." and "C'est une bonne actrice." are "un" and "une".

These modifiers determine the fact that you have to use "C'est" instead of "Il est" or "elle est".


Thanks Remy.

So the exception to this rule is the first person singular? If the sentence were - He is a man and she is a woman - would that translate to C'est un homme est c'est une femme?

Thanks again.

  • 1598

Only the 3rd person singular plural have to follow this rule.

For example:

"Je suis avocat." (Less idiomatic and frequent: "Je suis un avocat.")

"Tu es avocat." (Less idiomatic and frequent: "Tu es un avocat.")

"Il est avocat." (or: "C'est un avocat").

"Nous sommes avocats." (Less idiomatic and frequent:

"Nous sommes des avocats.")

"Vous êtes avocats." (Less idiomatic and frequent: "Vous êtes des avocats.")

"Ils sont avocats." (or: "Ce sont des avocats.")


When I was younger I was always taught that "c'est" meant "this is...". I'm assuming I had a very bad French Teacher?

  • 1598

"C'est" is used when the noun has an article ("le", "la", "l'", "un" or "une") or a possessive ("mon", "ma"...) before it.

  • For example: "c'est un homme" or "c'est ma femme" (and not: "elle est ma femme").

So "c'est" can have several translations:

  • "C'est un homme" = "He(/This/That/It) is a man"

  • "C'est un chat" = "This(/That/It) is a cat"


Thanks...she was a good french teacher after all..xD


why is "je suis un homme et elle est une femme" not correct? why does it have to be j"e suis un homme et elle, c'est une femme"?

  • 1598

The reply to your first questions has already been given in the comments above:

  • you have to use "c'est" when there is an article (une, un, le, la, or l') or a possessive (mon/ton/son, ma/ta/sa, notre/votre/leur) before the noun.

  • So you have to say "c'est une femme" (not "elle est une femme").

The suggestion in your second question is already accepted as a correct translation. Thanks!

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