Use of élève versus étudiant(e).

BonnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of élève versus étudiant(e).

I have a student who was taking an A0 test. She was asked how to say "Marie, you are a student." and was given the prompt 'Marie tu...'. She answered 'Marie tu es élève.' and Kwizbot told her that she was wrong, that it should be 'Marie tu es étudiante." Why would 'élève be incorrect? I was under the impression that they were interchangeable, so I need to understand the usage differences...

Asked 1 year ago
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

I think this is a US/British English issue. In the UK, a "student" is someone at university, so "étudiant(e)" in French. A child at school would normally be called a "pupil" = "élève". But I think in the US school children are referred to as "students".

BonnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you for your clarification. In the US, "student" is indeed used as a term for children (and adults) from pre-school through graduate school, at least where I have lived (the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest). While the term "pupil" is certainly in our vocabulary, it is not used as much, and certainly not to designate the age/level of students, that I am aware of. So, do the French refer only to people as "étudiant(e)s" after they have completed lycée? And before that they are only referred to as "élèves"? I don't want my students to sound ignorant when they speak of students! Thank you very much.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I think that's correct. There's also lycéen(ne).

Use of élève versus étudiant(e).

I have a student who was taking an A0 test. She was asked how to say "Marie, you are a student." and was given the prompt 'Marie tu...'. She answered 'Marie tu es élève.' and Kwizbot told her that she was wrong, that it should be 'Marie tu es étudiante." Why would 'élève be incorrect? I was under the impression that they were interchangeable, so I need to understand the usage differences...

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Getting that for you now.