Having trouble with ce, ça, and cette

Would someone explain the differences between these and when to use them, s'il vous plaît?

March 28, 2014


"ce/cet;cette;ces;ces" and "ça" are different words. To keep it simple:

  • ça means "that" or can be translated with "it": Ça coûte combien?" - "How much does that/it cost?" or "J'aime bien ça" - "I like that".

ce/cet;cette;ces;ces are different forms of the same word meaning this/this;this;these/those;these/those:

  • ce train: "this train" (singular, masculin, the following word starts with a consonant: ce)
  • cet article/cet hôtel: "this article" (singular, masculin, the following word starts with a vowel or sometimes (see the description below) with "h": cet)
  • cette destination: "this destination" (singular, feminine: cette)
  • ces articles: "these/those articles" (plural, masculin: ces)
  • ces destinations: "these/those destinations" (plural, feminine: ces)

Please note that there are a lot of adjectivs in French that have 4 forms (singular masculin, singular feminine, plural masculin and plural feminine), but only a few words do have 2 singular masculin forms where you have to differ between the following word that starts with a consonant or vowel (other examples are beau/bel;belle;beaux;belles or nouveau/nouvel;nouvelle;nouveaux;nouvelles).

Concerning the "h", this is pretty tough to learn since there are words in French where the h is aspired and some where the h is mute; f. e. it is correct to say "cet hôtel" (pronounciated "cettotel"), but you have to write "ce héros" (pronounciated "ce ero"). This might be an advanced rule for a beginner (as I am also a beginner) and goes maybe much too far for now, but I just don't wanted to write something like "you use the cet-form singular masculin with every following word that starts with an "h"" - that would have been wrong.

If you have further questions, do not hesitate to ask =)

March 28, 2014

Please, can you make a thread with your explanation, BastouXII collects the explanations to make a database about French grammar.

March 31, 2014

Thanks for the suggestion; I wrote him a message on his stream and see what he will answer.

March 31, 2014


April 25, 2017


April 25, 2017

Perce_Neige seems to me to be a play on Nex Pierce, a tribe in the USA that had great esteem because of the wise choices and leadership of a leader called in English Chief Joseph. I enjoy finding words that are puns in several languages for naming dear pets. Cultural bridge beings, I think of them.

April 25, 2017

Aha, no, I don't know Nex Pierce, I will google it, and it's a good occasion to learn something new today. It's not a pun, it's the name of a flower. Is Pierce from Pierre or from Perceval?

Edit: oh you mean "Nez percés"? (= pierced nose).
You are on the good way, because "percés" in "Nez percé" is the same than in my name, and the English "to pierce" is from this French word, if it can help you.

April 25, 2017

Thank you very much, that was very helpful! :)

March 29, 2014

Pas de problème =)

March 29, 2014

thank you

October 28, 2016

Thank you!

May 15, 2018

my question is that if ces mean this and those, how does that work? this means something different than those in english

July 2, 2018

What about cela? What is the rule for using cela as "that"?

February 8, 2016

I aways think I understand and get tripped up in is hard to search the forums tho one can search duo comments by topic on google, I think.

April 25, 2017

What about in the example "pas comme ça / pas comme cet", I understand both phrases mean "Not like this". My confusion though is with the use of ça to mean this instead of that. How often does this happen in French...?

May 31, 2016
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