Ceci is the contraction of ce + ici (this + here), while cela is the contraction of ce + là (this + there). When translating, note that you do not say "this here" or "that there", just "this", and "that". These are pronouns and are typically used as the subject of a sentence.
Ceci is rare in spoken French. Just as là commonly replaces ici in spoken French (Je suis là - I'm here), French speakers tend to use cela to mean either "this" or "that." Ceci only really comes into play when one wants to really distinguish between this and that, e.g.,
- Je ne veux pas ceci, je veux cela = I don't want this, I want that.
I can't speak to what Canadian French or Belgian French or African French use. But Laura Lawless says it's rare, and I'll take her word for it. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indefinite-demonstrative-pronoun.htm
I was reading an article that said that other versions of French only have very slight differences, so no matter what you learn you're not going to really get confused talking to another French speaker. From what I understand it's like an American talking to an English person.
"Ce", "cet", "cette" and the plural "ces" are demonstrative adjectives, not pronouns, i.e., they will always precede a noun and will be translated as "this" or "that" (a demonstrative adjective, not a pronoun); "ces" will be rendered as "these" or "those". "Ce", "ceci", "cela" and "ça" can be demonstrative indefinite pronouns; i.e., they substitute for a noun. They are not interchangeable. "Ça" is usually translated as "that" or sometimes "it". "Ceci" will always be translated as "this" (a pronoun, not an adjective). http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives-and-pronouns.htm
No, that doesn't work, not even with celui/celle/ceux/celles-ci (that would translate to this/these ones [that/those ones won't work because then that would be celui/celle/ceux/celles-là]). Ci, on the other hand, is not a legitimate French word (it is actually ici contracted), so that wouldn't work either. Nor cela (ce + là?), as it would translate to "that".
The only correct translations I can think of as "correct" translation is the above one.
Correct me if I'm wrong, please.
Though generally used as as adverb on Duolingo to emphasis this, e.g., ce livre-ci (this book), "ci" is also a demonstrative pronoun meaning "this", hence "comme ci" is definitely "like this". Here's another expression to demonstrate how it is used this way: l'un dit ci, l'autre dit ça = one says this, the other says that.
So just to confirm...
Ce (cet)/cette/ces = this/that (indefinite) Ca = this/that (indefinite, informal, for etre/avoir) Ceci = this (indefinite, formal) Cela = that (indefinite, formal) Celui = the one that.... Celui-ci = this one? Or 'this one here'? Celui-la = that one? Or 'that one here'?
Could someone clarify the difference between ceci and celui-ci?
And if ceci is indefinite, what is definite? Because the Duo Tips section gives the example 'Non, ceci est le mien. Cela est le tien' - which seems pretty definite.
Still there, skiffie? It may help to focus in on the part of speech because there are two kinds of "this/that/these/those".
- Ce, cet, cette : are used as demonstrative adjectives. Used before a noun (e.g., ce livre, cette voiture), they mean "this/that book", "this/that car".
- Ce, ceci, cela, ça : are indefinite demonstrative pronouns. Note that "ce" may be used either as an adjective or a pronoun. There are also variable demonstrative pronouns (celui, celle, ceux, celles).
Explore these links for more information:
I'm not a French teacher, and because this things come so naturally to me, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to explain the different situations.
« Ceci » is definitely “this” but « cela » can be either “this” or “that”, and even “it” like in « Cela ne marche pas » (“it doesn't work”). Keep in mind that we say « cela » a lot a time in his “casual” form: « ça » (avoid writing it, but you can say that as much as you want). We would say « Ça ne marche pas ».
But for a more technical answer about « ceci » and « cela », I'm afraid I don't know how to help you. Maybe someone here can.
When you start a skill, there's an explanation page below the lessons. It gives some background on what you're about to practice. I've started actually reading through them before starting the lesson, and it helps me a lot.
Also, during lessons, there is a link "Tips & Notes" in the upper left corner, below the blue bar.
See the note from n6zs just below. Comme ceci is used when you are trying to show a move, a technique or something to someone. You just perform the move, technique etc and say to the person: comme ceci (like this) (but more often you will be saying comme ça or comme cela) . It will help to read above comments by n6zs as well for more specificity.