1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. Ce sont or Ces sont (Tip 3)


Ce sont or Ces sont (Tip 3)

Here I go again!

Hope this can help somebody else because at the beginning I was very confused about the word Ce/Ces. Often, I answered wrong some question about Ce in plural sentences. So, lets start!

First of all, we have to understand that Ce could be a demonstrative adjective or a indefinite demonstrative pronoun:

<h1>Demonstrative Adjective</h1>

It always comes before a noun and agree with gender and number with the noun its modify:

Ce: masculine singular (this/that)
* Ce garçon est petit

Cet: masculine singular before vowel or mute H (this/that)
* Cet homme est grand

Cette: feminine singular (this/that)
* Cette fille est jolie

Ces: masculine/feminine plural (these/that)
Ces hommes sont grands
Ces femmes sont belles

<h1>Indefinite Demonstrative Pronoun</h1>

It refers to a noun previosly mentioned, it is impersonal and unvariable. Does not change acordding with gender ou number. Mainly used with the verb être and means it or this.

  • C'est la vie
  • C'est important
<h1>THE ANSWER</h1>

Now answering the title question, the correct form is: Ce sont les garçons
- in this case ce is used to refer something/someone mentioned before, and we can also realize that it is not followed by a noun. It would be WRONG to say Ces sont ... because the PRONOUN Ce is UNVARIABLE.

But we could say something like this: Ces garçons sont petits
- in this case Ces is an ADJECTIVE and it is modified by the noun garçons, so it agrees in gender and number with it.

Thats it! Hope this was clear enough!

À bientôt!

Source: French.about and French.about
Tip 1: Des vs De
Tip 2: De vs Des/Un/Du/De la
Tip 3: Ce sont or Ces sont

If you liked, Rate it! ;)

March 30, 2014



You are welcome! It helps me too with english writing about it!


Great! I just wrote a little article about that yesterday: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2397786


Hi Alex, nice post of yours too!


Thank you guys for the lingots


A really helpful article ! Thanks !


Most of places speak about vowel which words are vowel words in french


a, e, i, o, u, h. So, H is added to the list of English vowels

  • 'H' is a consonnant in French and in English.
  • English Vowel : a letter or other symbol representing a vowel — usually used in English of a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vowel).
  • French Vowel : "a" "e" "i" "o" "u" "y" (i grec) and the same vowel with the accents " ' " " ` " " ^ " " ¨ " as "à" "é" "è" "ê" "ë" "î" "ô" "ù" ... and "œ" and "æ" that we can find in a few word : cœur (heart, core), sœur (sister), "et cetera" or "et cætera".
  • It is not because French makes an elision with "h mute" that "H" becomes a vowel.
  • "Elision" : it is mandatory in French for the phoneme /ǝ/ (known as "e caduc" or "e muet" (e mute)) at the end of a word in front of a vowel or a "h muet" (h mute) : l'abricot, l'orange, l'univers, l'hôtel, l'heure, l'homme.


"Ce sont mes sœurs." = "They are my sisters.". Duolingo translation is not correct.

"Ce" Demonstrative Pronoun : it replace a noun previously used. "Ce" does not change with gender and number. "Ce" is most often subject of the verb "être".

  • Ce [sə], Ce -> C' [s] (before 'e'), Ce -> Ç' [s] (before 'a') = He, She, It, They.
  • C'est mon frère = He is my brother, c'est ma soeur = she is my sister, c'est mon livre = it is my book, c'est grand = it is big, ce sont mes soeurs = they are my sisters, qui est-ce ? = who is it ?, qu'est-ce ? or qu'est-ce que c'est ? (que -> qu') = what is it ?
  • more example and good pronunciations (masc. and fem. voices) (https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/ce/13786).

"Ce" Demonstrative Adjective. The adjective agrees with the gender and number of the noun which follows.

  • Ce m. [sə], ce m. -> cet [sεt] (before a masculine noun beginning with a vowel or a h mute, cette f. [sεt], ces pl. [sε].
  • Ce frère est grand, cet animal est grand, cette soeur est grande, ces frères sont grands, ces soeurs sont grandes = [close] this, these pl, [far] that, those pl, [past] last, [futur] next (night, week, ...).
  • more example and good pronunciations (masc. and fem. voices) (https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/ce/13787).

"Celles-ci sont mes sœurs." = "These are my sisters."

"Celui-ci" Demonstrative Pronoun : it replace a noun previously used. It replace a close person or object.

  • Celui-ci m., celle-ci f. = this one (here); ceux-ci mpl., celles-ci fpl. = these ones, these (here).
  • "Celui-là" Demonstrative Pronoun : it replace a noun previously used. It replace a far person or object.
  • Celui-là m., celle-là f. = that one (there); ceux-là mpl., celles-là fpl. = those ones, those (over there).
  • more example and good pronunciations (masc. and fem. voices) (https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/celui/648387#648388).

  • Duo is an owl. Il a toujours une bonne excuse, celui-là ! = he's always got a good excuse, that one !

He give some confusion @Make_me_Poly : We never say "Ce sont super". These are great = ceux-ci sont super.


Anyone else having troubles using bullets when posting?


You have to leave an empty line between the bullet list and the last line before it.


Thank you sooo much! I was really confused and to me it didn't make sense why Duolingo would mark it as wrong when i used "ces sont" :D Now I understand :D


Thank you so much for making that clear for me. I've had so much trouble with Ce and Ces till today.


Thanks. This was useful.


if the sentence is these are the lemons that THEY had used -- is it still ce sont ?


Ce sont les citrons qu'ils ont utilisés. So yes, always ce sont. As xaponeis sais, ce is an invariable pronoun, meaning it never agrees with anything, it doesn't change (when used this way).


Very good post, and it cleared up some things for me. One very minor correction. You said "Ces is an ADJECTIVE and it is modified by the noun garçons" but it should say "Ces is an ADJECTIVE and it modifies the noun garçons". But that's minor and it wasn't the point of the post, which was very helpful. Thank you!


Really useful - thank you!


Mille fois merci !


Merci beaucoup xaponeis !!


Very clear, thank you Sir.


So, just to be sure.... There doesn't exist a plural form of the indefinite demonstrative pronoun "ce"?


No, by its definition, "ce" is indefinite. It is treated as singular for grammatical purposes, but making it plural would make no sense at all.


You deserve my kiss!


Thank you very helpful :D


Thank you! I was just doing an exercise in Rosetta Stone and was completely confused! This totally cleared it up for me. :)


Many thanks, I had been wondering!


Great explanation. I suspect this is something that needs to be practised ad infinitum before it becomes facile.


Excellent , very well explained . Thanks.


Really useful. thank you :))


I know this is a post from 3 years ago, but it cleared up a lot for me. Thanks!


Precise and useful. Thanks for clearing this up.

[deactivated user]

    What are all the definitions of Ce as Indefinite Demonstrative Pronoun? This That These They? Is "those" also an option? You said "Mainly used with the verb être and means it or this". but Ce sont les garçons = These are the boys Ce sont des garçons.= They are boys. DL word definitions (ce Pronoun)


    Merci. Good explanation.


    Thank you, this was very helpful!


    sir , you have just made my day you have no idea how helpful this is thanks !!


    I still don't understand... There was a sentence I had to translate: "Are these your daughters?". I answered "Ces sonts tes filles?" and it was supposed to be "Ce sonts tes filles?". Can someone please help me understand why? Thanks. :)


    The reason is that in the sentence you gave "these" is used as a pronoun. In the example sentence it's replacing another noun-phrase such as "the women in front of us". So, as the article suggests, you should translate it as "ce".

    If the sentence you were translating was "Are these women your daughters" then you would use "ces" to translate it to "Ces femmes sont tes filles ?". This is because in this case "these" is an adjective modifying the noun "women" to clarify which women the sentence is about.


    Thank you for spelling it out like this. I was struggling so much.


    merci mais je dois le lire encore et encore.


    Thank you so much for taking the time to write that for everyone.


    Thank you! I was very confused and about to report an error in a story I just did haha.


    You're an angel! Thanks!


    Thanks, that really helps


    Just started learning French a while ago and this was a MAJOR doubt. Thank you!!!


    It was very helpful, merci beaucoup !


    Thank you! You made it clear for me.


    thanks,it has been very clear, here you tip good man jajaja


    thanks for your really informative and helpful clarification, body


    Thanks! But I'm still confused about the inversion.

    Can we have an inversion in the question with "ce sont"? I mean, like 'qui est-ce ?', only in the plural. If we do, is it "sont-ce", or "sont-ils" anyway? I mean, if I don't want to add "est-ce que" all the time? Or do we have to say "Qui est-ce que ce sont ?" (which strangely sounds wrong to me anyway)?

    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.