I would like to say the following sentence in French: That is kind of you to say.

Using Google translate I obtain C'est gentil à vous de dire. If this is the equivalent translation in French then I have a question. I do not understand why de is used. What grammatical rule is being used that causes de to be there?

  • 1
    Well an equivalent in idiomatic French (as opposed to “Google French") could be C'est gentil de votre part de l'avoir dit. Your question about the grammar at play still stands though. But maybe this already answers your question french.stackexchange.com/questions/279 ? Dec 11, 2018 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


C'est gentil à vous de dire

This sentence is neither correct nor idiomatic.

  1. "C'est gentil à vous" is not correct, use ether "C'est gentil de votre part" or just "C'est gentil"

  2. You can't just end you sentence with "de dire". You can use "de dire ça" or "de l'avoir dit".

You can skip both, as a response to a compliment or something nice it would be idiomatic to just say "C'est gentil".

Howerver, your question stills holds because you can use de after "C'est gentil".

C'est gentil de me dire ça.

C'est gentil de m'aider à porter ma valise.

Here it translates with to : "It's nice of you to help me carry my luggage."


Grammaticalement donc :

2 verbes > 2 propositions.

  • C'est gentil à vous : Proposition principale,

La proposition suivante (subordonnée) va venir compléter la principale (préciser la raison de l'expression principale), on l'appellera proposition complétive

Pour introduire cette subordonnée, on a besoin d'un... subordonnant (dans le cas d'une complétive, certains parleront de... complémenteur.)

C'est très exactement le rôle que joue ce de qui t'interroge ici. Il introduit la subordonnée complétive. (Qui se trouve ici de plus infinitive)

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