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, 2020 at 10:46

1 Answer 1


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, 2020 at 16:05
  • Thank you, it's corrected.
    – lkl
    Jan 13, 2020 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, 2020 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, 2020 at 12:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.