Ce is a French word. When used as a demonstrative pronoun, it tends to be followed by some variant of être. It can also be used in constructions such as Ce que or ce qui, or as a demonstrative adjective like cet, cette, or ces.
Differences between c'est and il est[edit | edit source]
Both c'est and il est can translate as "he is" or "it is".
With an adjective[edit | edit source]
c'est + adjective is only used to describe a thing, never a person, and the adjective is always masculine singular (e.g. c'est bon).
C'est, when talking about someone's profession, always has to be followed by a determiner; e.g. C'est un boulanger. If one were using Il, one could simply say, Il est boulanger, since boulanger there is an adjective.
C'est has an undefined, exaggerated meaning, e.g. C'est magnifique, while il est is very literal.
If the adjective leads on to a subordinate clause, it will typically be introduced with il est, e.g. Il est très difficile de trouver la bonne réponse ! (It is very difficult to find the right answer).
With an adverb[edit | edit source]
C'est is used with modified adverbs, e.g. C'est très loin d'ici (It's very far from here).
With a prepositional phrase[edit | edit source]
If there is a prepositional phrase, il est should be used, e.g. Il est à la banque (He is at the banque).
With a noun followed by a relative clause[edit | edit source]
C'est will probably be used for this, e.g., Ce sont mes parents qui me l'ont donné (It's my parents who gave it to me).
Other uses[edit | edit source]
Il est is used to express location or tell the time, e.g. Où est le livre ? Il est sur la table or Quelle heure est-il ? Il est onze heures.
C'est is also used with questions, dates, adverbs, and stress pronouns, e.g. C'est moi (It's me).
It is also used with proper names, e.g., C'est Luc (That's Luc).
Difference between ce and ça[edit | edit source]
Ça is used before verbs other than être, e.g. Ça dépend de ce qu'il dira (It depends on what he says).