Rule not clear enough

AlanA1Kwiziq community member

Rule not clear enough

In this article, it says that when talking about specific things we should use il/elle.


Yet in the example, we see a sentence that says:

   C'est le fils de Martha


Wouldn't we have to use il est instead of c'est here ? Just how many kids does Martha have that we have to use a generalizing statement like c'est instead ?

Asked 1 month ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Alan, 

this is recognised as a difficult part of French for English speakers, and there are some ‘exceptions’ to the rules, or particular applications of them that need to be ingrained. It is pretty fundamental to everyday language though, so worth taking time to develop understanding. Additionally, some of the ‘rules’ are not strictly adhered to in everyday casual, spoken French - but at least initially those quirks are best left to native speakers !

To start with, it is worth looking back at ‘rule’ 1 in the lesson. 

To reformulate that rule, almost always (uncommon exceptions aside), you will not use ‘ il/elle est article/determiner noun‘. It will be ‘ c’est article/determiner noun ‘

Hence, ' c'est ma sœur ' or ' c'est le fils de ... ' 

To also reformulate the next 2 rules, 

1. when describing something specific/known, use ‘ il/elle est adjective (with subject gender agreement) . eg ‘Cette robe, elle est chère’ or ‘Ce pull, il est cher’. 

2. when making a general or unspecific comment about something, use ‘ c’est adjective (always in masculine form)  eg ‘Trente euros, c’est cher’ 

Additionally you might find it worthwhile to look at other references, a couple of excellent ones below, and many good YouTube clips addressing the difficulties and usage to be found. 

At best, even slightly different explanations of the same concept can be the key to the breakthrough moment, and at worst reinforcement is worthwhile ! 

 https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/cest-vs-il-est/

 https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-grammar/cest-versus-il-elle-est/

 

Rule not clear enough

In this article, it says that when talking about specific things we should use il/elle.


Yet in the example, we see a sentence that says:

   C'est le fils de Martha


Wouldn't we have to use il est instead of c'est here ? Just how many kids does Martha have that we have to use a generalizing statement like c'est instead ?

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