"il" something? somebody?

natalie_tyw

Member
Cantonese, HK
How to translate "Est-ce que tu peux me dire combien il reste de lait ?" ?
My trial: Could you tell me how much milk is left?

Actually, I don't understand what "il" mean in the sentence, does it refer to somebody? Or, does it refer to the milk?
 
  • Crescent

    Senior Member
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Yes, 'il' in these impersonal expressions doesn't mean 'he'. It really depends on the expression itself, but here are a few examples to make it clearer for you:
    Il y a = there is
    Il faut = one should, one must
    Il pleut/neige/fait du brouillard = it's raining/snowing/fogging
    There are plenty more others, but in your case 'il reste' simply means 'there is' or 'there remains'.
    :)
     

    Harrylechat

    New Member
    British English until age 30, now live in France since 1993
    As far as I recall we don't conjugate the partative article after a negative (pas de lait), an expression of quantity (un litre de lait) and when there is a plural adjective placed before the noun des amis formidables but de bons amis. Good job it's not a complicated language!

    I don't remember the rule extending to interrogatives and certainly my dear mother-in-law is always asking "Qui veut de la tarte?" Me! Me!
     

    Harrylechat

    New Member
    British English until age 30, now live in France since 1993
    Oops, I forgot to answer Giannid's question:

    It's combien il reste de lait? for me because we could also phrase it combien de lait reste-t-il? Which would be an expresison of quantity.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top