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Cette orange

"Cette orange" translates into "this orange" but can it also mean "that orange" or would that be something different? "ça orange" maybe? Thanks!

EDIT: Wrote "cet orange" first which is incorrect.

September 5, 2017



French doesn't make as much of a distinction between this and that as English does. But if you really need to distinguish them, you can use "cette orange-ci" for "this orange" and "cette orange-là" for "that orange".

"ça orange" is ungrammatical: ça is a pronoun and cannot be used before a noun, it would be like saying "it orange" in English.

Also, cet is used with masculine nouns starting in a vowel, but orange is a feminine noun, so cette is used.


Oh okay thanks! Why do you have to add the "-ci" after "orange"? I don't think they do that in the Duolingo lessons, when they ask you translate "this orange" I think "cette orange" would count as correct.


Duo definitely would count 'cette orange' as correct, because it is correct - just not as specific.

You can think of the distinction as if you were saying 'this orange right here' for 'cette orange-ci' and 'that orange over there' for 'cette orange-là.' That's not technically perfect, but it's what helps me remember the difference between the two.


Alright I understand! Thanks people! :))


'Cette orange-ci' and 'cette orange-là' are formal, although they may be used in spoken French is some rare cases, when it is absolutely necessary. In most cases, 'cette orange' = 'this/that orange' (you point at them to differentiate them).

This is a general rule in informal French. We do not use much 'ici', 'ceci', 'ce... -ci', etc. There is an exception, though: people say 'ceci dit' all the time, although it is incorrect; they should say 'cela dit' ('that said').

Informal French:

  • I want this one and that one = Je veux celui-là et celui-là.
  • Your parents are here? = Tes parents sont là ?



So what would I say if I wanted to talk about a specific orange in a pile or oranges in informal french? Not "cette orange"?


Answering your question here. For a specific orange in a pile of oranges, in informal French you would say 'cette orange' or more likely 'cette orange-là', pointing at it.


It appears in "Demonstratives 3(-ci -la) . I think section 46


But why is it cette orange and not cet? I would've made the same mistake.


Une orange / cette orange

Un ours / cet ours

Une abeille / cette abeille

Un agneau / cet agneau


I see, because orange is feminine! Thanks :)


It's 'cette' because 'orange' is feminine. It's rather confusing, for sure.


But wouldn't it cancel out because "orange" begins with a vowel?


It doesn't though, and I'm not sure about the exact reason. I think it may be because the 'te' is silent, so when speaking, 'cette orange' sounds just like 'cet orange'. If you were trying to say 'ce orange' (which is obviously incorrect) you would be pronouncing two vowel sounds right together which is hard to say and is not proper French.

I hope this helps! Bonne chance! :)

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