The use of "It"

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New Member

I've been self learning French for about six months now, mainly from Tapes/CDs. Something that I have found quite confusing is how to use the word "it" in the following context.

eg "Il/Elle" or "ca" (Il est or c'est)

I'm guessing this is to do with whether or not you are referiing to a specific person/object, but there has been occasions when this has not been the case.


  • Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Rough (and ready) guide to it

    A it = something specific (person or object or idea or...)
    A1 it is + adjective = il/elle est
    > J'aime ma femme. Elle est très belle et très intelligente.
    . (Elle refers to ma femme, a person)

    A2 it is + noun = c'est
    > J'aime ma femme. C'est une femme extraordinaire.
    . (C' refers to ma femme, a person)

    B it = a whole clause
    B1 it anticipates a clause that hasn't been mentioned yet = il est
    > il est très important de s'amuser dans la vie
    . (il refers to s'amuser dans la vie)

    B2 it refers back to a clause that has recently been mentioned
    > Je lis beaucoup. C'est très important pour moi.
    . (c' refers to Je lis beaucoup)



    New Member
    Thanks for the explanations. This unfortunately now means my thinking time will be even longer. I guess it comes naturally in time.
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