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  5. Cela, ce, ca, cette, c'est

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lingua

Cela, ce, ca, cette, c'est

Can somebody please clarify when is the best time to use the various forms of the French words for This and that? Sometimes I get it right but it's often just luck.

January 22, 2013

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

All these words are demonstrative, ie something you point to.

Ce, cet, cette, ces are demonstrative adjectives, to be used in front of a noun:

  • ce fruit (masculine, sincular), cet ananas (= ce + addition of "t" as a liaison in front of a word starting with a vowel), cette orange (feminine, singular), ces fruits / ces oranges (masculine or feminine, plural).

Ceci, cela, ça are demonstrative pronouns, to be used alone:

  • ceci est à moi (this is mine) = cela est à moi (that is mine)
  • ça va ? (are you OK?) = ça is a familiar, oral contraction of "cela".

C'est (plural: ce sont) + inanimated object = that/this is: - c'est mon crayon = this/that is my pen OR it is my pen - ce sont des pommes = these/those are apples

C'est + human being in all forms, including names and pronouns: - c'est une femme = she is a woman - ce sont mes cousins = these/those are my cousins OR (better) they are my cousins - c'est un policier = this/that is a policeman OR (better) he is a policeman On this specific issue, please re. http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm

At last, two other words for you:

Voici/voilà (meaning "see here or see there) = here is or here are: - voici/voilà mon fils/ma fille = here is my son/my daughter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natka01

http://duolingo.com/#/comment/186113 please, can you comment on this? thank you. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

I think you still have questions about "c'est ce dont nous avons parlé", in particular the use of "ce" without a noun afterwards.

  • ce que = what: j'aime ce que je vois = I like what I see
  • ce qui = what: je sais ce qui me manque = I know what I miss
  • ce dont = of/about what/which: tu sais ce dont je parle = you know what I am talking about
  • ce à quoi = to what/which: tu sais à quoi je me réfère = you know what I am referring to

In the above examples, ce is accompanied by a relative pronoun (que/qui/dont/quoi) and stands roughly for "the thing": I like the thing that I see; I know the thing that I miss; you know the thing that I am talking about, etc. "ce" is used as an antecedent of the relative clause (starting with qui/que/dont/quoi).

The form of the relative pronoun itself depends on the construction of the verb and of its function: subject (qui), direct object (que) or indirect object :

  • "dont" is used with verbs using preposition "de"
  • "quoi" is used with verbs using any other preposition

For further explanations: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indefiniterelativepronouns.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Harri725785

shouldn't "ceci est à moi" be "c'est le mien" or "ceci est le mien"? Also In earlier exercise translation of "That is great" was "c'est super" why isn't "cela est super" correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"ceci est à moi", "c'est à moi" and "c'est le mien (la mienne...)" are all correct to express that what you are showing belongs to you.

This/that is great = c'est super

Il est super = he is great (man) or c'est super (thing, situation)

It is great = il/elle (a real thing) est super.

"Cela est super" is not often used because of the hiatus between "celA" and "Est". In conversations, please use 'ça, c'est super".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Harri725785

This is great stuff - thanks - you make learning easier


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Harri725785

or was it "il est super"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nouveaurs

Is "Ce n'est pas intéressant." a good translation of "It isn't interesting", as used here - https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29019747 ?

Since there is no noun in this sentence, shouldn't we use ceci or ça here based on your first rule?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Ce" is a pronoun in "c'est, ce sont, ce n'est pas, ce ne sont pas...", just like "ceci, cela/ça".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nouveaurs

Thanks for your response. I still don't understand the proper usage of these words, but I will do more research and practice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Everything you need to know is on this page though. Reread it until you have digested the explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zimo462290

Thank you so much. You are an angel!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nathan173901

What's the difference between "cela" and "ça"? Is the former never used any more in spoken language?

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