C'est vs. Il est

Even if you’ve been speaking French for years, it can still cause headaches: when do you use ‘il est’ and when ‘c’est’? Therefore, for now and always: the solution.


Along with a subject and a verb C’est un petit garçon. (It’s a boy.) C’est le vin que j’ai bu hier soir. (It’s the wine I drank last night.) With an adverb – to describe a situation, a feeling, a whole. C’est beau ici (It’s beautiful here.) C’est agréable de vous parler. (It’s nice talking to you.)

With a name

C’est Juliette. (It’s Juliette.) C’est Benoît qui m’appele comme ça. (That’s Benoît calling me that.)

Il est

With a verb without the subject (usually when it comes to a job) Il est journalist. (He’s a journalist.) Il est musicien (He is a musician.)

With an adverb

to describe a person or a subject in a certain way Il est russe. (He is Russian.) Il est vraiment grand. (It’s big.- For example, if you’re talking about an airplane)