When is it "ce" versus "cette" versus "c'est" for the use of "this". I know "cette" is for feminine but I am confused otherwise
"ce" is for masculine nouns; "cette" for feminine nouns; "cet" for masculine nouns starting with a vowel or a non-aspired H. All the latter are adjectives.
"c'est" -> c' is a pronoun, masculine and elided because "est" starts with a vowel.
hmmmm, then in the following expression "ce sont ....", is ce adjective? it looks like a pronoun to me, or it was "ce (a deleted noun) sont ..." , because I am pretty sure I have seen ce sont before,
You're right: "ce" is a demonstrative adjective here, which explains why it is in front of a noun and not the subject of a verb.
Demonstrative adjectives are:
- ce vin -> masculine singular, in front of a consonant
- cet ami -> masculine singular, in front of a vowel
- cet homme -> masculine singular, in front of a non aspired H
- cette femme, cette amie -> feminine singular
- ces vins, ces amis, ces hommes, ces femmes -> all plurals
Both Ce and Ca mean this and that. can they be replaced by each other or there are some rules regarding when to use which.
Demonstrative adjectives: ce chien, cet arbre, cet hôtel, cette fille, ces enfants. "Ce" is used in front of a masculine noun starting with a consonant.
Demonstrative pronouns: ce sont des chiens, c'est un chien, ceci est un chien, cela est un chien. "Ce" is used only with verb "être" (and rarely with "pouvoir").
Je veux ceci (I want this), je veux cela (I want that), je veux ça (I want that). "Ça" is the shortened, spoken version of "cela" = that (thing)