"He is certainly my son."
Translation:C'est certainement mon fils.
I think this is my biggest struggle yet with French....c'est vs il est. Is there a explanation to what a "modifier" actually is?! The word "fils" isn't modified (changed) in any way and I'm not sure what words around it are considered to be modifying it or not modifying it. Comments above say that "mon" and "un" can modify the noun....but then go on to say that "Il est un fils" is correct. If "un" modifys then it should be c'est un fils?
I agree. It's not the best explanation. Another link Sitesurf shared in a different place is better, in my opinion: http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est
Contrary to logic, "certainement" is not "more certain" than "probablement/probably, sûrement/ surely", etc. at least when it is placed as in this sentence, ie after the verb.
However, if you place "certainement" up front, with a comma, the certainty becomes absolute:
Certainement, c'est mon fils (!), like "of course, he is my son!"
This adverb could travel and be placed at the front, at the end or after the verb.
Its most natural placement is after the verb: "c'est certainement mon fils".
The back translation can be either "he is certainly my son" (because I was dating his mother 9 months before his birth, for instance); or "it is certainly my son" (as an answer to a question like: who did that?)
If you displace it, you add a specific stress on the adverb and can express a slight shift in meaning:
certainement, c'est mon fils ! (with a comma and an exclamation mark) = of course, it/he's my son!
c'est mon fils, certainement (with a comma) = "he/it's my son, certainly" Then the meaning is closer to "probably" with the same interpretations as when the adverb is after "c'est", but with a reduced certainty.
The adverb's best placement is after the verb.
And also "il est mon..." should be changed to "c'est mon...": http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est