"Those are small."

Translation:Ceux-là sont petits.

March 18, 2013

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why not 'ceux sont petits' ?


Deep deep and scary jungle of celless ceux :)


Am I right in saying then that "Ce sont petits" COULD mean those are small (or these are small) but that "Ceux-là sont petits" is just more precise?


No, that does not work. "ce sont" is followed by (modifier +) noun, no adjective.

So, these are small = ceux-ci sont petits and those are small = ceux-là sont petits

  • feminine versions: celles-ci or celles-là sont petites


Right, I think I get you. So you can't say "C'est petit" or "Ce sont petits", because "petit/s" is an adjective?


Yes, the singular form works: "c'est petit" = it is / this is small. I edited the above comment accordingly.


@sitesurf, But you just wrote and duolingo says too that c'est can't be used with an adjective or adverb.


"c'est petit" is as concrete as "this is small" or "that is small" or "it is small", when you comment on something with a demonstrative or a personal pronoun.

"il fait chaud, il fait froid, il est nécessaire, il faut, il pleut, il est cinq heures"... just like "it is hot, it is cold, it is necessary, it is raining, it is five o'clock..." have "il/it" not representing anyone or anything.


Yes, it can:

  • c'est petit = this/that/it is small
  • c'est souvent = this/that/it is often



"Yes, it can:

<pre>c'est petit = this/that/it is small" </pre>

Here, is Ce referring to a concrete entity or just an imaginary entity like "Il " in "Il faut manger- It is necessary to eat","il fait chaude- It is hot".


Does "ceux sont petits" mean different.


"ceux sont petits" is incorrect. You need "ceux-ci sont" to translate "these are" or "ceux-là sont" to translate "those are".

You can also translate "these/those are" to "celles-ci/celles-là sont".

The only construction where "celui/celle/ceux/celles" can be used without their suffixes is when they are followed by "de" or "que":

  • celui de mon frère est bleu = my brother's (one) is blue
  • c'est celle de ma mère = it is my mother's (one)
  • ce sont ceux que je porte = they are these/those (the ones) I am wearing
  • voici celles que j'ai achetées = here are these/those (the ones) I have bought.


Great explanation Sitesurf! Thanks again :-)


why is it so common to have these suffixes here when they are rarely used with 'ce' or 'cette'?


they are indeed used with "ce" or "cette" as well:

  • ce jour-là (that day in the past)
  • cette nuit-ci (tonight)


as implied in sitesurf's answer, note that ce/cette are articles, not pronouns. Well 'ce' can also be a pronoun, in which case 'ceci' and 'cela' are the variations you were looking for. Or maybe what you were looking for is celui/celle, the true singular of ceux/celles. They too get ci-ça'd: celui-ci, celui-là, celle-ci, celle-là.


"ce, cet, cette and ces" are demonstrative adjectives

"ce, c', ceci, cela, celui-ci, celui-là, celle-ci, celle-la, ceux-ci, ceux-là" are demonstrative pronouns.


So ceux-ci = these, ceux-là = those is what Duolingo teaches. But is it right to translate them so literally?
In my grammar book it's explaines that ceci and cela (and all their forms) are used for comparisons. Ceci refers to the first or closer thing, cela to the second or more distant.

If I have a sentence like this where I refer to only one thing wouldn't I use ceci?
Because I think it's like the German "diese" and "jene" and we would always use the first option first and then additionally the second (and a third... etc). If we needed only one pronoun we would not get to the second option. Only ever the first.

Okay, maybe there was another sentence preceding this one and it had ceci in it and that's why now we need cela. But we can't know so Duo should at least accept both.

Or did I get this whole thing wrong?


It is mostly a matter of degree of emphasis:

  • c'est mon stylo = it is my pen

  • ceci est mon stylo = this is my pen

  • cela/ça ne coûte pas cher = that does not cost much

  • ceci est rouge mais cela est vert = this is red but that is green

  • celui-ci est mon stylo et celui-là est le tien = this one is my pen and that one is yours


as I said, it's a jungle, albeit very beautiful! :)


Oh my, thanks for this!
This post https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2036883 just reminded me that I probably should stop worrying about all these rules and just use what sounds best. And here we have a perfect example.


After reading all the comments, I still do not understand why "Ceux sont petits" is not correct.



The reason that "ceux sont petits" is not correct is that "ceux" can not stand alone.

"Ceux" (and "celui", "celle", "celles") must be followed by a relative pronoun, a preposition or (as in this case) a demonstrative suffix - "ci" or "la".

Checkout link for more information on demonstrative pronouns.



That is not always correct. When "ceux" follows a mention of what noun it is replacing, it can stand alone, since it is clear what it is referring to. It could be that the rules are more complicated than that, and that rules only applies in certain cases, but I can say for sure that I have seen "ceux" standing alone (outside of colloquial speech).


"ceux" can live without -ci or -là in specific cases:

  • ceux de (possessive)
  • ceux qui (these/those who/which/that)
  • ceux que (these/those whom/which/that).


  • ces livres sont ceux de ma fille
  • ces hommes sont ceux qui sont venus hier
  • ces livres sont ceux que j'aime le plus
  • ces livres sont ceux qui me plaisent le plus
  • ces hommes sont ceux que j'ai vus hier

But "ceux" cannot stand alone as a subject.


That clears it up. Thanks Sitesurf! Your answers are very helpful, and they always manage to remain more concise than my own....



Thanks for that although that doesn't contradict my original point which was that "ceux" if not followed by a demonstrative suffix must be followed by either a preposition or a relative pronoun.


Agreed, of course!



Well I suppose it is possible that Laura Lawless is wrong ;)

If you come across any counter examples from a reputable source it would be interesting to have a look at them.


Can we say "Cela sont petits?"


No, because "cela" is singular and "sont petits" is plural


Do you know if there is a plural form of ceci and cela?


Masculine plurals: Ceux-ci, ceux-là, Feminine plurals: celles-ci, celles-là


But these are the plural forms of celui-ci, celui-là, celle-ci and celle-là.

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