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


Great! I just wrote a little article about that yesterday:

March 30, 2014

Hi Alex, nice post of yours too!

March 30, 2014


March 30, 2014

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

March 30, 2014
March 31, 2014

A really helpful article ! Thanks !

March 31, 2014

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. :)

May 31, 2019

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.

July 4, 2019

Anyone else having troubles using bullets when posting?

March 30, 2014

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

March 31, 2014

Thank you guys for the lingots

March 31, 2014

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

May 29, 2014

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

June 17, 2014

Thanks. This was useful.

August 22, 2014

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

October 10, 2014

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).

October 11, 2014

so when will it be ces sont?

October 11, 2014

Never. You can have ces amis sont... Because here ces isn't pronoun, but demonstrative adjective. But ces sont by itself just isn't grammatically correct.

October 11, 2014

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!

November 4, 2014

Really useful - thank you!

June 19, 2015

Mille fois merci !

June 26, 2015

Merci beaucoup xaponeis !!

August 1, 2015

Very clear, thank you Sir.

November 23, 2015

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

December 9, 2015

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.

December 9, 2015

You deserve my kiss!

December 30, 2015

Thank you very helpful :D

April 19, 2016

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

March 3, 2017

Many thanks, I had been wondering!

March 6, 2017

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

April 6, 2017

Excellent , very well explained . Thanks.

April 19, 2017

Really useful. thank you :))

May 8, 2017


May 22, 2017

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

August 20, 2017

me too

December 15, 2017

Precise and useful. Thanks for clearing this up.

December 17, 2017

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)

May 9, 2018

Merci. Good explanation.

July 23, 2018

Thank you, this was very helpful!

August 2, 2018

Very helpful!

August 11, 2018

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

November 13, 2018

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

June 12, 2019
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