Lesson: Expressing Professions in French

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Complete the sentences below with “il est, elle est, c’est…”


Welcome, English-speaking learners! Today’s lesson focuses on correctly expressing professions in French. Unlike English, French has specific rules regarding the use of articles with professions and when to use “il est/elle est” vs. “c’est.” Let’s dive in!

Part 1: “Il est / Elle est” for Professions

When stating someone’s profession in French, we do not use an article before the profession if we’re using “il est” (he is) or “elle est” (she is).


  • Il est comédien.              He is an actor.
  • Elle est comédienne.   She is an actress.

Important: Do not say “Il est un comédien” or “Elle est une comédienne” when simply stating someone’s profession.

Part 2: “C’est” + Article + Profession

When you want to define someone more specifically or introduce someone, use “c’est” (it is/this is/that is) followed by a definite article “un” (a) for masculine or “une” (a) for feminine, plus the profession.


  • C’est un comédien.          He is an actor.
  • C’est une comédienne.  She is an actress.

Note: Avoid saying “C’est comédien” or “C’est comédienne” without the article.

Part 3: Adding Additional Information

To include extra information about the person, such as age, nationality, place of birth, or fame, always use “c’est un/une.”


  • C’est une politicienne suisse.           She is a Swiss politician.
  • C’est un chirurgien âgé de 36 ans.  He is a surgeon aged 36.
  • C’est une grande actrice belge.        She is a great Belgian actress.
  • C’est un sportif professionnel américain né à Paris. He is a professional American athlete born in Paris.

Note: Do not say “Elle est politicienne suisse” or “Il est chirurgien âgé de 36 ans” in these cases.

Part 4: Compound Profession Names

For professions with compound names like “sportif professionnel” (professional athlete), “professeur d’anglais” (English teacher), or “ingénieur agronome” (agronomist engineer), both structures are acceptable.


  • C’est un sportif professionnel. / Il est sportif professionnel.
  • C’est un professeur d’anglais. / Il est professeur d’anglais.


Complete the sentences below with “il est, elle est, c’est…”

Understanding these nuances will help you speak about professions in French more accurately and sound more like a native speaker. Practice these structures, and you’ll master talking about professions in no time!

Keywords : Il est vs c’est