Basically, there are 3 categories of adjectives:
- regular: placed after the noun they qualify
- irregular: placed before the noun (re. BANGS)
- mixed: before or after the noun with nuances in meaning.
See here ( paragraph 5) for a full explanation: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/de-vs-du-de-la-des_2.htm
The reason why you have to use "ce" is not what AlejoFernandez proposes here.
The reason is that in both expressions "c'est" or "ce sont", "ce" is a pronoun that has to remain invariable.
"Ces" is a demonstrative adjective (= these/those): ce livre (singular) - ces livres (plural)
Sitesurf I think you've explained this to me before but it escapes me!
Here is why: I think the problem is the English equivalent to the word "ces" as used in "ces sont".
Duo translates "c'est..." to "This is..." or "It is..."
Then we know the English plural of "This is..." and "It is..." is "These are..."
You would then have to 'forgive' our misunderstanding when:
1) This book is interesting = Ce livre est interessant
2) These books are interesting = Ces livres sont interessants
3) These are good signs = Ce sont de bons signes
These two "These" in (2) and (3) are different in the French translations.
Or am I wrong in these translations?
Help! Some of us don't have a degree in English to know what a "demonstrative article" means. I just wanna speak French.
A think that in 2, the word "these" works as an adjective for books (what books? these books), while in 3, "these" substitutes books and they work as a (pro)noun. For what I understand, "ces" is the adjective form of "these", and "ce" is the pronoun form of "these" (and of "this" as well). Hope this helps!
I am not sure I have a clear explanation why "ceux" and "celles" cannot be used as subjects by themselves (without their suffixes: -ci or -là).
They can be used by themselves in 2 constructions:
- possessive: voici ceux/celles de mon mari = here are my husband's
- antecedent to a relative pronoun:
As subjects: ceux/celles qui arrivent = these/those arriving
As objects: ceux/celles que j'ai trouvé/e/s = here are these/those I found.
So for the time being, please remember these demonstrative pronouns can appear as:
- celui-ci, celui-là, celle-ci, celle-là, ceux-ci, ceux-là, celles-ci, celles-là
- celui de/que, celle de/qui/que, ceux de/qui/que, celles de/qui/que
You'd use the reinforced forms if you were indicating a particular group: 'ceux-ci sont' for 'these are', or 'ceux-la sont' for 'those are' (swans being masculine). Or, say, 'ceux du voisin sont' for 'the neighbour's ones are'. But if you're not explicitly indicating which group you're referring to, you always use the neutral 'ce sont', although I'm not sure I can explain why.
I found this elsewhere on Duolingo which (thank you!) helped answer this very tricky point. I pass it on.
First of all, we have to understand that Ce could be a demonstrative adjective or a indefinite demonstrative pronoun:
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
Indefinite Demonstrative Pronoun
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
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!
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
Not at all! Swans were widely eaten in Europe until the 17th century, and in Great Britain they were reserved for royalty, so they were evidently very good eating. The most likely reason people stopped eating them is that turkeys were imported from the Americas and turned out to be much more docile and easier to raise. Swans are pretty vicious.
I've read several modern accounts of swan-eating, and most of them claim it's delicious. You do need to get them fairly young though - older birds are tough and greasy.
Either way, "un bon cygne" is a perfectly clear and understandable phrase, and saner than many I've seen on DL!
Without "de", the French sentence is impossible. The reason why you need "de" is that it is the replacement for "des" in front of a plural adjective.
Please look at the construction, step by step:
- this is a red sign = c'est un signe rouge = singular
- these are red signs = ce sont des signes rouges = plural
In French "un" and "une" do have a plural form: "des" is the indefinite article that English does not have.
Now, when the adjective is placed in front of the noun, "des" becomes "de".
It is a fixed phrase and as usual with time and repeated use, some fixed phrases lose their article.
If you say "c'est un bon signe", you point to one specific sign. If you say "c'est bon signe", you mean a more general "it/this looks positive" or "it is a promising prospect".
Another example: "c'est dommage" (it's a pity) might use an article (un) or an adjective (dommageable), but the bare noun is part of the phrase and its meaning is broader than "c'est un dommage" (lit. it is a damage).
You don't use "ça" as a substitute to "ce" with the verb "être": "c'est" and "ce sont" are fixed.
- ce sont = they are, or these/those are
- they are = ils/elles sont (except when the next word is a noun) or "ce sont" (when followed by a noun)
- these are = ceux-ci/celles-ci sont
- those are = ceux-là/celles-là sont