FR: I want to know how much it is

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New Member
I'm a bit confused about when to use il/elle vs ce/cela/ceci.

I've been using whatever based on just how well it sounds.
For example, if I wanted to say: "I want to know how much it is."

I'd say: "Je veux savoir combien d'argent il/elle est."
But in this "Learn French" program with Michel Thomas, he insists on using "ce." This comes out as: "Je veux savoir combien d'argent c'est."

But this just sounds weird!

Would somebody please break this down for me?
Thank you for your help.
  • Oddmania

    Senior Member

    First off, this isn't a good example as neither combien d'argent c'est nor combien d'argent il est makes sense to me. If you want to know the price of an item, then say Je veux savoir combien il/elle/ça coûte.

    Basically, I think you can use ça to talk about pretty much anything, and il/elle according to the gender.

    Un sac : ...combien il coûte/combien ça coûte.
    Une lampe : ... combien elle coûte/combien ça coûte.

    Du jus d'orange : combien ça coûte (as it's uncountable). If you've just talked about une bouteille de jus d'orange (a couple of seconds/minutes ago), then you can indeed say combien elle coûte, but it would sound weird if it's not clear.
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