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When saying "He’s the one who...", is it more natural to say "c'est celui qui..." than "il est celui qui..."? I’m so familiar with the "c'est" being used with the meaning of "it is" that its another meaning "he/she is" does not come naturally to me.

Albert ? De nous tous, je trouve que c'est celui qui a le moins changé depuis des années.

Albert ? De nous tous, je trouve qu'il est celui qui a le moins changé depuis des années.

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  • Je trouve que c'est celui qui a le moins changé... is by far the more natural way to state it.

  • Je trouve qu'il est celui qui a le moins changé..., while not being grammatically incorrect, is unnatural and would likely be avoided in a casual conversation by a native French speaker for being too emphatic. Paradoxically, that form is much more likely to be used by non native French speakers because, as you wrote, many are reluctant to use ce to refer to people.

    For example, Ils sont français is fine but Ils sont des Français, while fully understandable is very unidiomatic. All native will correct it to Ce sont des Français.

  • To @jlliagre: "Paul croit qu'il est un grand artiste mais c'est juste un peintre amateur." vs "Paul croit que c'est un grand artiste mais il est juste un peintre amateur." I assume that the first sentence makes it clear that the said artist is Paul himself whereas the second makes it sound as if the artist in question is someone else. Am I correct here? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Aug 26 '16 at 5:52
  • Yes, although in the second case, the most common form would be Paul croit que c'est un grand artiste mais c'est juste un peintre amateur or better ...mais ce n'est qu'un peintre amateur. – jlliagre Aug 26 '16 at 6:00
  • A way to avoid any misunderstanding would be "Paul croît être un grand artiste mais...". Without context, that's clear, while your sentences could both be ambiguous... – Laurent S. Aug 26 '16 at 10:36
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  • «c'est celui qui a le moins changé...» (he is the one who has changed the least), or
  • « je trouve qu'il a moins changé que les autres» (I find that he has changed less than the others)
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    Any explainations ? – Random Aug 26 '16 at 8:02
  • The English translation for the first version should have been "it is him who...". Also see here. – Erwann Aug 26 '16 at 14:30

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