"My brother must write that letter."

Translation:Mon frère doit écrire cette lettre.

February 11, 2013



When do you use "ça" for "that"? Why can't you use it in this context?

July 18, 2013


"ça" is used as a pronoun : ça marche bien = that works well

"that" + a noun is an adjective: in French ce/cet, cette or ces: ce stylo, cette lettre, ces fleurs

July 19, 2013


So "ce" (etc) is an adjective and "ça" is a pronoun? Ah, OK, thanks. That makes sense.

August 19, 2013


That is a really good heuristic, but keep in mind that "ce" can be a pronoun in "c'est" and "ce sont".

November 24, 2013


Could you say that you use "ce" with être and "ça" with other verbs, when you're using them as pronouns?

November 18, 2014


Very helpful. Thanks.

August 13, 2014


I don't know

November 18, 2014


What is wrong with: "Mon frére faut ecrire cette lettre."?

February 11, 2013


Falloir is an impersonal verb, so (as I understand it) you can only have "il faut" no other noun can "faut." The rest of the time use some form of devoir.

February 11, 2013


Yes "falloir" is a defective verb, ie only a few forms actually exist and are used.

On top of the infinitive "falloir" only those are used

  • il faut (present)
  • il fallait (imparfait/preterit)
  • il faudra (future)
  • il fallut (passé simple/simple past -> never used on Duolingo)
  • il a fallu (passé composé + all the other composed forms: avait fallu, aura fallu, eut fallu, aurait fallu, eût fallu...)
  • il faudrait (conditionnel - présent)
  • qu'il faille (subjunctive - present)
  • qu'il fallût (subjunctive - imparfait)
February 11, 2013


Why cette and not cet?

February 7, 2014


cette is the feminine demonstrative adjective and "une lettre" is feminine

cet is the masculine one, to be used in front of words starting with a vowel or a non aspirate H

ce is the regular masculine one, to be used in front of words starting with a consonant

February 7, 2014


thank you, very helpful, i thought ce was masculine and cet was feminine and couldn't understand why it was wrong - it has been driving me mad!

February 8, 2014


Can you use il faut in this sentence...something along the lines of il le faut a mon frere...?

June 4, 2013


yes you can use "il faut" as follows: "il faut que mon frère écrive (subjunctive) cette lettre"

June 5, 2013


Is there any reason why we couldn't write a besoin de rather than doit?

May 5, 2014


"must" and "need" have different degrees of 'obligation'.

"he must" is stronger than "he needs" in English and in French as well.

To mean "must" to its full meaning, the French often use "il doit absolument", because "doit", by itself can have several interpretations, depending on context.

In this sentence, though, "he must write" is correctly translated to "il doit écrire".

May 6, 2014


What's wrong with "mon frère doit écrire CELA lettre"? I thought cela was that, ceci was this

September 7, 2014


"ceci" and "cela" are pronouns (= lit. "instead of a noun"), so you cannot have a pronoun in front of a noun.

When this or that are adjectives (in front of a noun), they translate to:

  • masc sing in front of a consonant = ce livre
  • masc sing in front of a vowel sound = cet arbre, cet homme
  • fem sing = cette femme
  • masc and fem plural = ces enfants
September 8, 2014


Can I use "cette lettre-là" to specify that letter? I use tried it and it rejected my answer.

November 3, 2014


Yes, that is perfectly right. I added it to the list of accepted answers. Thanks.

November 3, 2014


Do you pronounce the t in 'doit' in this case?

January 14, 2015


The liaison is most welcome, as with all one-syllable verbs.

January 15, 2015


How can we decide to use ce or cette to say 'that'?

January 27, 2015
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