C’est versus Il est/Elle est: It Is [Explanation + 14 Examples]

c'est versus il est_elle est

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In this French grammar lesson you will learn about c’est versus il est/elle est.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • c’est versus il est/elle est: describing people
  • c’est versus il est/elle est: inanimate nouns
  • how c’est versus il est/elle est are used in sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on c’est versus il est/elle est
  • how c’est versus il est/elle est Anki files can be downloaded.

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar if you are curious about how this lesson fits in French A1.

By the end of the lesson, you will know all about how to say “it is” in French!

Table of Contents

Describing People

In this chaper of c’est versus il est/elle est we will look at describing people.

C’est and il est/elle est have different rules for this.

Both rules will be given and per rule you will find a few example sentences showing you practical examples.

  1. c’est + article/determiner+ noun

Anytime he/she/it is followed by un/une/le/la/du/mon/ma… (any form of article/determiner) you will use c’est.

C’est le dentiste.

It’s the dentist.

C’est une fille.

It’s a girl.

C’est le beau pompier.

It’s the handsome fireman.

Qui est Paul ? C’est mon oncle.

Who is Paul? It’s my uncle.

  1. Il est/Elle est + Adjective

Anytime he/she/it is followed by an adjective you will use il est/elle est.

Elle est paresseuse.

She is lazy.

Il est fort.

He is strong.

Elle est déterminée.

She is determined.

Il est intelligent.

He is smart.

Things (inanimate objects)

In this chaper of c’est versus il est/elle est we will look at things (inanimate nouns).

Essentialy these are nouns that are not people.

C’est and il est/elle est have different rules for this.

Both rules will be given and per rule you will find a few example sentences showing you practical examples.

  1. C’est for statements and opinions about general/unspecific things.
  1. Il est/elle est for statements and opinions about specific things.

C’est beau.

It’s beautiful. [the art in the Louvre]

Elle est belle.

It’s beautiful. [a specific painting in the Louvre]

In the left sentence, one can say that generally speaking the art in the Louvre is beautiful. There is no specific piece that is being referred to.

In the right sentence, someone is referring to a specific painting in the Louvre.

Faites-vous de la musique ? – Oui, c’est merveilleux.

Do you make music? – Yes, it’s wonderful.

Aimez-vous ma chanson ? – Oui, elle est merveilleuse.

Do you like my song? – Yes, it’s wonderful.

In the left sentence, someone is making a general statement about music. Music in general is wonderful.

In the right sentence someone is referring to a specific song.

Aimez-vous le brocoli ? Oui, c’est délicieux.

Do you like broccoli? Yes, it’s delicious.

Aimez-vous le brocoli ? Oui, il est délicieux.

Do you like broccoli? Yes, it’s delicious.

In the left sentence, someone is making a general statement about liking broccoli. In everyday life, this person likes broccoli.

In the right sentence, someone is having a meal, and is being asked about a specific piece of broccoli.

This part is often tricky to people.

When is something specific and when is it not?

Even for normal French people this can be ambiguous sometimes.

The context is the most importing thing here.

Keep these rules in mind and practice.

This will make more sense the more you spend time on learning French.

C’est versus Il est/Elle est in a Nutshell

This is one of the trickiest things you will face in French.

It’s okay if you are not entirely confident after just having read this.

In a nutshell c’est versus il est/elle can be described as follows.

C’est is followed by a noun.

Il est/elle est is followed by an adjective.

If you remember this then you will be correct in most of the cases.

Example Sentences on C’est versus Il est/Elle est

The final section of this lesson on c’est versus il est/elle est is about seeing them in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding on c’est versus il est/elle est through examples.

This section contains all of the previous sentences, neatly organised in one place.

C’est le dentiste.

It’s the dentist.

C’est une fille.

It’s a girl.

C’est le beau pompier.

It’s the handsome fireman.

Qui est Paul ? C’est mon oncle.

Who is Paul? It’s my uncle.

Elle est paresseuse.

She is lazy.

Il est fort.

He is strong.

Elle est déterminée.

She is determined.

Il est intelligent.

He is smart.

C’est beau.

It’s beautiful. [the art in the Louvre]

Elle est belle.

It’s beautiful. [a specific painting in the Louvre]

Faites-vous de la musique ? Oui, c’est merveilleux.

Do you make music? Yes, it’s wonderful.

Aimez-vous ma chanson ? Oui, elle est merveilleuse.

Do you like my song? Yes, it’s wonderful.

Aimez-vous le brocoli ? Oui, c’est délicieux.

Do you like broccoli? Yes, it’s delicious.

Aimez-vous le brocoli ? Oui, il est délicieux.

Do you like broccoli? Yes, it’s delicious.

Quiz Yourself on C’est versus Il est/Elle est

It’s not enough just to read the article on this subject.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!

Choose the right answer!____ le beau pompier. [It’s the handsome fireman.]
 
Choose the right answer!____ fort. [He is strong.]
 
Choose the right answer!____ belle. [It’s beautiful.] (the art in the Louvre)
 
Choose the right answer!____ belle. [It’s beautiful.] (a specific painting in the Louvre)
Choose the right answer!Qui est Paul ? ____ mon oncle. [Who is Paul? It’s my uncle.]
 

Anki File for C’est verus Il est/Elle est

It is important to do the Anki exercises for this lesson so that you can better remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1, you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas. This is recommended as you will have every lesson that you need. You shouldn’t miss out on the complete learning experience!

You can also choose to just get the Anki File for French A1 Pronouns. This only has the pronouns for French A1.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or if you don’t know what Anki is, then please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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