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why c'est devenu

Carl C.C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

why c'est devenu

In the last sentence, "he has become" is translated "c'est devenu."  Why not "il est devenu"?

Asked 1 year ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Carl,

Here it is stating a "state" (he became a lovely young), so you can either use "il s'est transformé en un.e [...]" or "c'est devenu un.e [...]" - See link here: C'est vs il est, elle est | French Grammar | Kwiziq French

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour à tous,

After discussing the examples in Alan’s answer, we (French native speakers) all agreed that example (40) would be correct while example (44) would not.

Also, in this context of the exercise, if you choose to use "devenir", you have to remember that it's "un verbe d'état" (like être, rester etc.). Therefore, if you wish to express "he/she/they became a + [noun]", you will use "c'est devenu un.e (etc.) + [noun]" (in the same logic as with "he/she/it is + a/my/their etc. + [noun]" - hence, the link in my previous answer)


To become + [adjective]:

Il est devenu gentil = He became nice

Elle est devenue folle = She became mad


To become + a + [noun]:

C'est devenu un gentil garçon = He became a nice boy
C'est resté un gentil garçon = He stayed a nice boy
C’est devenu une belle région = It has become a nice region
C’est resté une belle région = It stayed a nice region

Attention : with jobs/professions

Il est devenu avocat =He became a lawyer

C’est devenu un avocat réputé = He became a renowned lawyer

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Maarten,

We discussed this point and agree that, when using Le Futur, "il deviendra..." is an acceptable option (not with in Le Présent though). However, using "cela/ça" with "deviendra/devient" doesn't work as they both refer to an object/concept. 

Also, when using Le Passé Composé"il" is not an alternative we would use ourselves as it imitates / is derived from the English structure. After discussing this further, we've now decided to accept "il est devenu..." as a correct alternative (as Alan pointed out that it is being used too). However, "c'est devenu..." is definitely the best option (for us). ;-)

We will be doing a bit more research on this very interesting grammar point. ;-)

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

Maarten K.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Céline, can you expand on this please ? 

I would have agreed with Carl that this should be ‘il est devenu …’ and my wife said the same. At the least, there is a difference of opinion between native speakers here to clear up.

The phrase to be translated is very specific ‘ … he has turned into .. ‘; the 2 verbs you note are se transformer or devenir - both in passé composé as expected. 

I do not understand what the lesson on choosing between ‘il est’ and ‘c’est’ has to do with this - this is not ‘être’, and the lesson does not cover any other verbs that I can see.

Further explanation would be helpful and appreciated.

Carl C.C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

After I asked my question, I saw several other people asked the same thing or similar.  I often see "correct" answers that seem to me to be a matter of opinion.  For example passe compose vs imparfait.  This one seems to be a matter of opinion too.   One thing for sure, I am never going to remember to use the "correct" c'est instead of il est.  Thanks to everyone who replied.  

Alan G.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

In an attempt to research this, I read the following document, titled "Les constructions il est médecin / c’est un médecin"


I doubt anyone other than me will want to read this, but I do think I understand the difference between "il est" and "c'est" much better now. 

It also includes some examples with devenir, which seem to me to suggest that "il est devenu" would be correct here, and not "c'est devenu".

(40)     *Paul, c'est devenu un médecin très réputé (the asterisk indicates that this is incorrect)

(44)     Paul, il est devenu un médecin très réputé 

But in the following examples it's the other way round:

(43) a. quel est ce type ?

b. *il est un médecin très réputé

c. c'est un médecin très réputé 

The point, I think, is that "c'est" is used to identify someone, but that doesn't make sense with devenir.

Maarten K.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thanks Alan. I thought I could count on you to find some resources !

Alan G.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thanks for replying, Céline. That's quite a difference of opinion, though. 

If you disagree with the author on which example is correct, you will presumably also disagree with his reasoning. He goes to some lengths to explain that devenir and rester are different from être - in his opinion anyway. 

I don't know how to explain this, unless French has changed in the last 40 years or so, and the pattern with c'est has been copied to all verbs of state. 

I have to point out, however, that Google finds no occurrences of "c’est devenu un avocat réputé", but there are at least 17 instances of "il est devenu un avocat réputé".

Maarten K.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Céline, the reasoning here remains unclear to me. Can you confirm the present and future tense use of devenir/rester as well ? 

Are you saying you would use ‘ cela/ça devient un bon jeune homme ‘ and ‘ cela/ça deviendra un bon jeune homme ‘ in these cases ? Accepted that these would be ‘ c’est un …‘ and ‘ ce sera un … ‘ rather than ‘il est..’ and ‘ il sera..’  if être was the verb in use.

Alan has linked a highly complex and detailed reference, and evidence of ‘grammar in use’.  Can you provide references to your position as I have not come across anything relevant on the very many sites I use. A general search on google for discussion and confirmation has so far also proven fruitless. 

why c'est devenu

In the last sentence, "he has become" is translated "c'est devenu."  Why not "il est devenu"?

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