Difference between the two sentences?

  • C'est facile à faire.
  • C'est facile de le faire.

Hi there, is there anyone who can tell me the difference between the meaning of these two sentences?

I do understand that the first sentence means "It is easy to do". And may be the second sentence means "It is easy to do 'it'" : just addition of a direct object. If my speculation is correct why does the preposition differ from one another??

  • 1
    It's not just addition of a direct object. In it is easy to do, the it is the thing done - but in it is easy to do it, the first it is a dummy subject like in it is raining. These are quite different structures. – JD2000 Jan 13 '20 at 10:46

In C'est facile à faire, c' replaces a previously mentioned subject (its antecedent). In this type of construction, the preposition has to be à.

In C'est facile de le faire, c' is a dummy subject - it's not replacing anything. (Just as when we say It's raining, "it" doesn't replace anything.) In this example, le is replacing the antecedent. When you have a dummy subject, the preposition has to be de.

This is just one of the particularities of French impersonal expressions.

  • 1
    The rule given by your reference is correct, however, two of the examples used in that rule are not; "Il est important à comprendre." and "C’est important à comprendre." are not idiomatic. books.google.com/ngrams/…. – LPH Jan 13 '20 at 16:05
  • Thank you, it's corrected. – lkl Jan 13 '20 at 19:26
  • What's the difference then between c'est difficile de dire si on a volé un Ballon d'or à Ronaldo and c'est difficile à dire si Rafael Nadal va gagner ce Roland-Garros? Would they still be analysed as having different structures? – JD2000 Jan 14 '20 at 1:26
  • The difference is that "c'est difficile à dire si... " is wrong - it should be "c'est difficile de dire si..." As I explained above, à isn't followed by a clause in thes sorts of constructions. – lkl Jan 25 '20 at 12:33

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