Basically, I am translating a recipe and I can't figure out how to say

the gratin was mentioned

because it is an inanimate object, food.

  • Do I say it is like il, and put été after it ?
  • Or do I keep être in infinitive form and just say “Le gratin être mentionner”?

Also, further on there is a part that says 'the gratin was cooked', however the 'was mentioned' will be phrased, I think that 'was cooked' will be written the same way right?

  • 3
    It's a bad idea to ask about translations without providing context. But before you ask about translations, you should look up the words in a dictionary. I wonder why you want to use the infinitive form for être: it just doesn't make any sense. Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 22:34

2 Answers 2


Apart from some rare exceptions, agreement depends only on the grammatical gender of a noun, and not on what it means. Since gratin is a masculine noun, the personal pronoun for referring to it is il if it's the subject of a verb. See When to use the pronoun en? for some of the cases where the personal pronoun isn't the subject (in some of those cases it does matter that it's an object rather than a person).

A literal translation of “the gratin was mentioned” is le gratin a été mentionné or le gratin était mentionné. The right tense depends on the context, there isn't a simple mapping between English tenses and French tenses. *Le gratin être mentionné is an ungrammatical jumble of words, just like *gratin be mentioned in English. It may well be the case that you shouldn't use the passive voice here in French, but that too depends on the context.

Cooked as opposed to raw is cuit. Once again, the context may matter.

  • Well in English it's kind of grammatical if it means “Le gratin soit mentionné” (but I doubt this is what the OP is looking for). Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 9:28

The fact that "le gratin" is inanimate does not affect the grammar in your case:

If you want to replace it with a pronoum, use il because it is a masculine word in French (le gratin).

"Was mentioned is a passive form in English, and so is it in French.

Le gratin était mentionné... Il était mentionné

is therefore correct. The same applies with "cooked" (translation depends on context, could be "cuit" or "cuisiné"

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