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Ce vs Ceci/Cela vs Cet/Cette/

I see alot of examples using Ce to mean this and that and these. At first I had no issue with this but then I was introduced to the world of Ceci/Ci and Cela/Ca as well as Cet/Cette. How on earth am I supposed to know when I'm supposed to use them?

I apologise if this has been covered, but the discussion search function is awful and returns nothing.

October 23, 2017



Ce/cet/cette = this

Ce is used with masculine words, cet is used with masculine words that start with a vowel (e.g. cet appartement), and cette is used with feminine words.

These precede a noun, for example: ce chat est blanc, cette fleur est petite.

Ceci/cela = this/that

They are used alone, for example: je n'aime pas ceci, j'aime cela.

Cela contracts into ça. You would use cela in more formal situations/writing and ça in informal situations.

Ceci is generally not used unless the distinction between "this" and "that" is important/you want to place emphasis on this.



  • Ce is used before être, as well as devoir or pouvoir + être
  • Ça is used before any other verb (ça m’énerve!)


  • Ceci can refer to something that's about to be said
  • Cela can refer to something that has already been said


Thanks for your help! There was an answer that helped me in another thread, so, I'll post that here.

Ce, cet, and cette all mean "this" or "that", but you wouldn't use these words on their own. They mean "this (noun)" or "that (noun)". Ce is used for male nouns that begin with a consonant. Cet is used for male nouns that begin with a vowel or the letter h. Cette is used for all female nouns.

Such as:

Ce livre - This book / That book

Cet homme - This man / That man

Cette femme - This woman / That woman

You will also see "ces", which is used for plural nouns.

Ces enfants - These children / Those children

Ceci and cela can stand on their own and often take the place of ce + noun, cet + noun, or cette + noun. You will also commonly see "ça" which also means "that", and is often used in place of cela. For example:

J'aime ce jeu. - I like this/that game.

J'aime ceci/cela/ça. - I like this/that.

J'aime cet ordinateur. - I like this/that computer.

J'ame ceci/cela/ça. - I like this/that.

J'aime cette voiture. - I like this/that car.

J'aime ceci/cela/ça. - I like this/that.

If you want to explicitly point out whether you're referring to "this" or "that", you can add a suffix to the end of a noun.

J'aime ce chapeau-ci. - I like this hat.

J'aime ce chapeau-là. - I like that hat.

J'aime cette chemise-ci. - I like this shirt.

J'aime cette chemise-là. - I like that shirt.

From https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24945135


Look up and take the time to learn the difference between a "demonstrative pronouns' and 'demonstrative adjective"


Thanks, will do :)


Appreciate the revision that this post me donne ;)

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