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
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
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!
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I've added it to this discussion with references to French grammar tips. Thank you!
- '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.
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!
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)
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.
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)?