Posts Tagged ‘c’est-y’

A friend from Central America was reading a Montréal newspaper article and came across an expression he didn’t know:

C’est-y pas beau?

He asked what this expression means and what the y is doing in there.

Here’s an example context (that I’ve made up) of how the expression was used:

Le gouvernement va augmenter la taxe sur l’essence. C’est-y pas beau, ça?
The government is going to increase tax on gas. Well ain’t that nice?

Can you guess now what that y means? It means the exact same thing as tu when used informally to create a yes-no question.

C’est vraiment necessaire.
C’est-tu vraiment necessaire?

It’s really necessary.
Is it really necessary?

C’est ben cher.
C’est-tu ben cher?

It’s really expensive.
Is it really expensive?

Y and tu, when used to create informal yes-no questions, are variants of one another.

The question c’est-y pas beau? contains sarcasm. The person asking this question dislikes the situation it refers to and is using the question to highlight this fact.

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