"You are eating that."
Translation:Tu manges ça.
Of course you would use it in spoken French in some situations. Same as happens with formal words in English. E.g. you could say "Cela m'est égal" ("That's all the same to me") for a little more stress on "cela/ça" or for a hint of comic effect. Just like you can use "notwithstanding" instead of "nevertheless".
Personal pronouns as subjects, direct objects and some indirect objects are placed before the verb:
- je lave ma chemise = subject
- je la lave = direct object representing "ma chemise"
- je leur lave les cheveux = indirect object (the direct object is "cheveux"): "leur" stands for "à+ils/elles" (to them) in this case.
- elle se lave = direct object, reflexive: herself
So, you have to know the various classes of personal pronouns:
- subject: je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles
- direct object: me, te, le, la, nous, vous, les
- indirect object (preposition à): me, te, lui, nous, vous, leur
- reflexive pronouns: me, te, se, nous, vous, se
"Y" and "en" are also pronouns you have to place before the verb, remembering that "y" stands for "à + something mentioned before" and "en" for "de + something mentioned before:
- je pense à mon école
- j'y pense: "y" stands for "à mon école"
- je parle de mon école
- j'en parle: "en" stands for "de mon école".
Yes, it's a reflexive verb, and yes, it's best to learn their rules separately.
However, the basic principle, which applies regardless of whether the verb is reflexive or not, is that only certain pronouns get moved before the verb. Me is one of them, but cela/ça is not.
So sdrc22's basic point stands: When it comes to pronouns, French (like the Romance languages in general) tends to have a weird word order that does not correspond to English word order. The key thing to know is that this affects only some very basic pronouns, such as e.g. me, te, but not others such as cela:
- Je vois cela. (Normal word order)
- Je te vois. (Special word order for certain pronouns)
Anyone: feel free to correct me if I'm wrong or if there is an exception to what I'm saying.
evelim: Most direct object pronouns do go before the verb, including the five: me, te, se, nous, vous; as well as with others: le, la, les (when used as OBJECTS, not articles), lui, leur, y, and en.
All others, including nouns and demonstrative pronouns, go after the verb as in English. These include pronouns like cela or ça.
"ça" is the spoken contraction of "cela" which means "that thing".
"This thing" is translated to "ceci", although the French do not use it much.
"Cela, ça and ceci" can be used as subjects or objects of any verbs.
"Ce", as a pronoun is almost exclusively used as the subject of the verb "être" (and "pouvoir").
"cela" is "that": you eat that = tu manges cela (or ça, as a contraction)
"celui" is "the one": you eat the one I gave you = tu manges celui que je t'ai donné (celui here is food but it can also be any other masculine object or animal or human being)
cet homme est celui que j'ai vu hier = this man is the one I saw yesterday
It's not supposed to be informal. "Tu manges ça" and "Vous mangez ça" are equally correct answers. However, if you enter something like "Vous manges ça", then an algorithm has to guess what you tried to enter, and occasionally it may be wrong. Perhaps more relevantly, if you enter something unusual like "Vous êtes en train de manger ça", then it is possible that it's not in the database of correct answers yet, but that the variant "Tu es en train de manger ça" is in the database because someone has proposed it and it was accepted. In that case, the algorithm may well guess that that's what you tried to write.
Is there a pronunciation difference in the "c" with the cedilla (ça) vs. without (ce)? For some reason I always remember that ça uses the cedilla, but I don't know why. Is it just spelling, or some other reason? The accents on vowels change the sound of the vowels, but I don't hear a difference with the c's.
Thank you. I don't recall ever learning there were hard vs. soft vowels!