Yahoo Answers is shutting down on May 4th, 2021 (Eastern Time) and the Yahoo Answers website is now in read-only mode. There will be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services, or your Yahoo account. You can find more information about the Yahoo Answers shutdown and how to download your data on this help page.

To FRENCH language experts, when do you use "IL EST" instead of "C'EST" when refering to a thing not a person?

3 Answers

Relevance
  • Maya
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    C'est un grand appartement=it's a big flat

    Comment est cet appartement? (How is that flat?). Il est grand. (it's big).

    Qu'est-ce que tu penses de ce pull gris? (What do you think about this grey pull-over?)

    Il est moche.(it's ugly)

    Qu'est-ce que tu penses des pull-overs gris?

    C'est moche. (it's ugly)

    Il is used as a defined personal pronoun (the same way as you use "he" or "she" for people in English, we do the same thing for things in French). Ce (c') is used as a neutral pronoun.

    So, you use "il" if you really want to talk especially about THIS thing.

    This pull-over : it's ugly

    Ce pull-over : Il est moche

    And you use ce(c') to talk about it in general

    grey pull-over : it's ugly

    Les pull-over gris : c'est moche.

    In a sentence as "It's an ugly pull-over", we always use "c'est" for things such as people, because it's a demonstrative structure.

    "C'est un pull-over moche"; "C'est une jolie fille" (it's a pretty girl), but "Il est moche" (it's ugly); "Elle est jolie" (she's pretty).

    We can't say, as in English, "She's a pretty girl", we always say "it's a pretty girl" (C'est une jolie fille) and it works all the same with things. There are no grammatical differences to talk about things or people in French : the thing is a masculine word? Talk about it as if it was a boy. It's a feminine word? Talk about it as if it was a girl.

    Just pay attention. C'est beau/c'est moche/c'est grand....(it's beautiful, ugly, big) for example, can not be used for people.

    Source(s): Native
  • baremp
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    When I am referring to someone I wold say "IL est tres intelligent"=

    He is very intelligent.

    When I want to say: It is time to cut the grass I would say : C'est le temp our tond le gazon.

    Those are two examples of the way we use the language.

  • 1 decade ago

    " il est" is more suitable for a person and is present time

    "C'est" is more for an object (thing) and is also present time

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.