C'est = It is

Look at these examples:

Attention, c'est chaud!  
Watch out, it's hot!

C'est très ennuyeux !
It's very boring.

C'est bleu.
It's blue.

Note that to describe things in general in French, you can use :

c'est (it is/this is/that is) + a simple adjective (describing word)


See also Standalone adjectives after c'est are always masculine

and more advanced C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources


C'est grand.
It's big.


C'est bleu.
It's blue.


Le McDo, c'est bien pour les dimanches soirs paresseux, pas pour le jour de l'Amoooouuuur!
McDonald's, it's good for lazy Sunday evenings, not for the day of Luuuurve!


Attention, c'est chaud!  
Watch out, it's hot!


C'est très ennuyeux !
It's very boring.


Q&A Forum 12 questions, 29 answers

JoanneB2Kwiziq community member

Il est vs. C;est

One of the questions was to write in what would go before "chaud" in order to create the sentence, "It is hot." I wrote "Il est" because I'd learned in Rosetta Stone that with a simple adjective, you should use "Il est" and not "C''est". They used the example of "Il est dangereux de toucher un serpent." Is there something different in this sentence that makes the use of "Il est" more appropriate? Would love to get an answer.

Asked 3 months ago
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Joanne,

This topic causes so many problems for learners. I struggled with it for ever but now think I have a handle on it.

In your case it's a case of the general vs the particular (I'm supposing you're talking about the weather/climate), thus:. "C'est chaud" since you're talking about a generality

If you're talking about some thing specific (especially something previously mentioned (say la soupe)) then it would be "Elle est chaude". 

Hope this helps,

Tom

 

Il est vs. C;est

One of the questions was to write in what would go before "chaud" in order to create the sentence, "It is hot." I wrote "Il est" because I'd learned in Rosetta Stone that with a simple adjective, you should use "Il est" and not "C''est". They used the example of "Il est dangereux de toucher un serpent." Is there something different in this sentence that makes the use of "Il est" more appropriate? Would love to get an answer.

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ClaudiaA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Amoooouuuuur in the audio sounds really aweful

Asked 6 months ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Claudia !

Oh là là ! Quelle catastrophe ! :)

Thanks to you, I've now fixed the audio file!

Merci et bonne journée !

CécileKwiziq team member

Thanks Claudia, have flagged it up...

Amoooouuuuur in the audio sounds really aweful

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BrunoA0Kwiziq community member

So I can't just say: Il est mon cousin?

Asked 7 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Non, Bruno, 

C'est mon cousin 

is the only option...

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Sasha,

You cannot say -

'Il est mon cousin'    but

C'est mon cousin, il est très gentil ....

SashaA1Kwiziq community member

Pourquoi? Aren't you describing a particular boy (il est) as being my cousin?

ClaudiaA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Salut a tous

If I were to say She is my cousin, would it still be C'est mon cousin?

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Claudia, 

It would be -

"C'est ma cousine."

ClaudiaA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Merci

So I can't just say: Il est mon cousin?

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RodneyA1Kwiziq community member

Bonsoir! Why is c'est amusant this is funny and not it is funny? Merci por la lecon. Rod

Asked 8 months ago
MichelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

C'est can be translated as either this is or it is. My guess is that it's context dependent.

Bonsoir! Why is c'est amusant this is funny and not it is funny? Merci por la lecon. Rod

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Claudia A2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Salut a tous

In the video:" Les fleurs, c'est beau." C'est  is singular, beau singular, fleurs plural. Why    c'est   and not   Ce sont?

Merci

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Claudia, 

It is because of 'c'est' which is followed by a masculine adjective and makes it a general statement:

Le violet, c'est beau.

La musique classique, c'est beau.

Les bonbons, c'est bon ....

Hope this helps!

Claudia A2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Merci

Salut a tous

In the video:" Les fleurs, c'est beau." C'est  is singular, beau singular, fleurs plural. Why    c'est   and not   Ce sont?

Merci

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JeremiahA1Kwiziq community member

difference between C'est and il est

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Jeremiah,

If you look at the following lesson -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is

and in particular the Q&A section at the bottom of it, you will see that this has been a hot topic...

Take particular heed of the answers from our team marked correct as it is a tricky subject.

Hope this helps

difference between C'est and il est

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DavidC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

C'est nul vs Il est nul

The quiz asked "It's lame", "_____ nul".

The answer that it wants is "C'est nul".

Why can't it be "Il est nul"?

Suppose the sentence was a response to the question "What do you think of that film?"

The answer is providing an opinion with an adjective which it is applying to a specific thing - "that film".

That sounds a lot like case 2b in the lesson:

"2. Cases expressing opinions or simple statements (adjectives) about prementioned things"

"b. il est/elle est  for statements and opinions related to specific things"

Asked 1 year ago
ChikaA1Kwiziq community member
C’est nul
DavidC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
A more elaborate reply would be appreciated.

C'est nul vs Il est nul

The quiz asked "It's lame", "_____ nul".

The answer that it wants is "C'est nul".

Why can't it be "Il est nul"?

Suppose the sentence was a response to the question "What do you think of that film?"

The answer is providing an opinion with an adjective which it is applying to a specific thing - "that film".

That sounds a lot like case 2b in the lesson:

"2. Cases expressing opinions or simple statements (adjectives) about prementioned things"

"b. il est/elle est  for statements and opinions related to specific things"

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AshleyA0Kwiziq community member

On the quiz it said that "c'est amusant " could mean it is funny or this is funny

I did not see in the lesson or video where c'est could mean "this is". That sounds specific to me. What do you think?
Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Ashley - remember that 'ce' usually translates to 'this' or 'that' (and "c'est" is ce + est) but it's not usually very helpful to think about what individual words translate to in English. Expressions like "C'est amusement" can loosely be translated as "It's funny" or "That's funny". The actual sense will depend on the context.
ChikaA1Kwiziq community member
it can be both ways
AnnC1Kwiziq community member

I appreciate it can mean both but it then seems wrong to mark an answer as incorrect because one only puts "its is amusing" which is the only answer it gives in the lesson to explain this 

On the quiz it said that "c'est amusant " could mean it is funny or this is funny

I did not see in the lesson or video where c'est could mean "this is". That sounds specific to me. What do you think?

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MelissaB1Kwiziq community member

Inserting a seemingly unneccessary definite article

In a similar vein to my question below ( I don't know where to find the relevant grammar topic ), there are many places in french where it seems one must insert a definite article where it would be omitted in English-- here are a couple of examples: "Il y a même des alcools spéciaux en France qui sont synonymes de l'apéritif comme le Pineau, le Muscadet que l’on sert avec une liqueur de fruit. " "Vous serrez la main que l'on vous tend." Why can't you say "qu'on sert"," qu'on vous tend" ?
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Melissa,

You can say on or l'on in these cases; l'on is a euphonic technique:
https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/on-vs-lon/

Inserting a seemingly unneccessary definite article

In a similar vein to my question below ( I don't know where to find the relevant grammar topic ), there are many places in french where it seems one must insert a definite article where it would be omitted in English-- here are a couple of examples: "Il y a même des alcools spéciaux en France qui sont synonymes de l'apéritif comme le Pineau, le Muscadet que l’on sert avec une liqueur de fruit. " "Vous serrez la main que l'on vous tend." Why can't you say "qu'on sert"," qu'on vous tend" ?

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MelissaB1Kwiziq community member

"Le nombre ( de bises) le plus répandu, c'est 2.

Why do you need the c' here. Why not just "le nombre est 2?"
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Mélissa !

This is a colloquial difference of expression between French and English :)

Indeed in such cases where the subject of a sentence with "être" is quite long, we tend to add a coma + "c'est" in French, which is a (slightly redundant I agree) way to take a breath and not get lost in the sentence I guess, as such:

Ce que j'aime le plus, c'est son sourire.
What I like the most is his smile.

Le jour que je préfère est le samedi.
Le jour que je préfère, c'est le samedi.

The day I prefer is Saturday.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !
StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Aurélie

Do I understand your answer to mean that both of the following sentences are correct?

Le jour que je préfère est le samedi.
Le jour que je préfère, c'est le samedi.

Thank you

Stewart

AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Stewart !

Oui, c'est tout à fait ça :)

À bientôt !

StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Je vous remercie.

C'est brilliant.

"Le nombre ( de bises) le plus répandu, c'est 2.

Why do you need the c' here. Why not just "le nombre est 2?"

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AnishA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why is it not "Regarde ce dessin, il est superbe"

As per the Video "il/s or elle/s" is the correct pronoun to be used when talking about specific thing/s
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Anish and Ron! Actually here I agree with Anish : "il est superbe" would indeed be better here, as this is a specific drawing you have already mentioned. I've now changed this example to better fit this lesson :) Merci beaucoup et à bientôt !
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Anish, Je pense que cela au-dessous expliquera votre question. Regarde ce dessin, c'est superbe! Look at this drawing, it's superb! C'est bleu. It's blue. Note that to describe things in general in French, you can use the simple expression c'est ('it is/this is'), followed by an adjective (describing word). Peut-être l'adjectif qui suit serait la raison. «ce dessin» est une chose en général au contraire d'«un dessin de Monet» ce qui serait plus exact. J'espère que ma réponse vous aidera. bonne journée, Ron

Why is it not "Regarde ce dessin, il est superbe"

As per the Video "il/s or elle/s" is the correct pronoun to be used when talking about specific thing/s

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AdamC1Kwiziq community member

C'est moi qui paye

Why can't you just say Je paye? Or someone corrected me after I said that my small daughter is ill (La petite est malade <- wrong, C'est la petite qui est malade <- why?)
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Adam, Je paye isn't wrong, it's just that "C'est moi qui paye" is more emphatic. For example, John says, "Je paye" but Bill insists that he's going to pay, so he says "C'est moi qui paye," which is equivalent to "No, *I'm* paying." It's the same thing with "C'est la petite qui est malade" - there must be some context in which someone said something like "La grande est malade" and someone else is contradicting: "Non, c'est la petite qui est malade." Without that sort of contradiction/emphasis, Je paye and La petite est malade are perfectly fine.
AdamC1Kwiziq community member
There was no contradiction, just me saying that my little daughter is ill. He told me: "Ca ne sonne pas français" and corrected the sentense. Might this be related to his location? (Angers)
LauraKwiziq team member
Maybe - I'm not familiar with any particuliarities about the French in that region of France. I don't see anything at all wrong with La petite est malade.
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Adam, I'm French, and from what you explained, "la petite est malade" is perfectly acceptable, and sounds very French to me :) However, "Ça ne sonne pas français" is a very clumsy translation from English ;)

C'est moi qui paye

Why can't you just say Je paye? Or someone corrected me after I said that my small daughter is ill (La petite est malade <- wrong, C'est la petite qui est malade <- why?)

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