FR: c'est / ce sont / c'était / ç'a été

mime2

Member
English-England
Hi everyone,
I am a bit confused.

When using c'est in different forms how does the "c" part change?

and does the "est" always follow the pattern of être?
So what would the plural of "c'est" be?
My guess is: "ce sont"

Thanks,
Happy Christmas!
 
  • Angle O'Phial

    Senior Member
    USA English
    So what would the plural of "c'est" be?
    My guess is: "ce sont"

    Correct. C'est is just a contraction of ce and est so you can have ce sont or que ce soit or ce fut or whatever is appropriate.
     

    mime2

    Member
    English-England
    Thanks

    I was also thinking about the past tense.
    Would it become "c'été" and "c'ont été" ?
     

    Angle O'Phial

    Senior Member
    USA English
    No, in the past tense you'd say most commonly c'était or c'étaient see this thread. If you need to use the passé composé (which is less common with être than the imparfait), you'd say ça/cela a été or ceux ont été. If you have an example in mind, it might help clear things up.
     

    mime2

    Member
    English-England
    So one would say "les vacances étaient super!"
    I do not understand why an imperfect form of "être" is used for a sentence in the passé composé
    I'm sorry if the question was answered in the thread, but my french is not quite good enough to understand it properly.
    Thanks for the help
     

    Angle O'Phial

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The answer to your question is that it depends what you're trying to say. Have a look here for a comparison of the imperfect and passé composé. It's one of the trickier subjects for anglophone students of French.
     

    trueleech

    Member
    French - France
    Oh and, just as a matter of fact : in everyday language French people often use "c'est" even when the correct use is "ce sont", so don't be fooled if you ever see this. It's a mistake, but it's usual.
     

    mime2

    Member
    English-England
    So writing a sentence in the present tense would be like this:
    "Je joue au foot, c'est super!"
    "Les vacances sont super!"

    In the past tense:
    "J'ai joué au foot, c'était super!"
    "Les vacances étaient super!"

    So if the imperfect form of être is used for a sentence in the past tense, then what form of être would be used for a sentence in the imperfect tense? Would it also use the imperfect form of être or a diiferent form?
    Like: "Je jouais au foot, c'était super!"
    And: "Les vacances étaient super!"
    However it would not be possible to distinguish which tense the second example was in.

    Please clarify and excuse my bad examples.
     

    mime2

    Member
    English-England
    Thanks Tim~! but would that still be the correct form of être to use for the sentence?
     

    Tim~!

    Senior Member
    UK — English
    I wouldn't feel confident in saying. I think I always use the imperfect, but it would be better for a native to tell you, because I could be wrong in what I do.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Maître Capello offered the passé composé version in post 9, but as Tim~! pointed out, it isn't commonly used with être. Être has a continuous "feel" to it. As you read in the link, passé composé is usually best suited for a single event, or change of state, and if you think about the verb "to be," it rarely describes a single event or change. That vacation or football game was great over a period of time.
     

    Larsipan

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Bonjour.

    J'ai des problèmes savoir quand il vaut mieux employer l'imparfait ou le passé composé.

    Par exemple:
    "Hier on est allés à une fête. C'était amusant".
    "Hier on est allés à une fête. Ça a été amusant".

    Quel est l'emploi correct ?
     

    quinoa

    Senior Member
    french
    On dirait plutôt: On s'est bien amusés.

    Par contre , "C'était amusant de le voir faire." Avec l'imparfait on s'attend à un développement de la situation évoquée.

    "Ça a été amusant un moment, mais au bout de cinq minutes, tout le monde est parti." Avec le passé composé le fait est clos, pris dans sa globalité et on va passer à autre chose, on est pris dans une succession d'événements.
     

    WatsJusto

    Senior Member
    English - The States
    Je sais que celui-ci est un vieux fil, mais je voulais poser une question liée a ce sujet: Dans le contexte: It was fun (or difficult or easy), (...) je crois qu'en français on préfère "C'était difficile"...C'est vrai, ça?
    (...)

    Merci beaucoup d'avance!
     
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Actually both tenses are possible and natural but they are not equivalent.

    C'était difficile = It was difficult (at that time)
    Ç'a été difficile = It was difficult (and those hard times are still vivid in my memory) / It has been difficult (until now or until very recently)
     
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