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French lesons are getting realy confusing

I'am at routine 3, where ceci and cela is introduced, and... WTF do they mean? What is the difference between them and Ce? Looking at the comment seccion of that unit, I see that everyone is just as confused as me, and the tips dosen't show ANYTHING about it!

I have searched in the web, but each page say something completly different from the other!

April 8, 2020



They are indefinite demonstrative pronouns.

Ceci this
Cela that


What is the difference between them and Ce?


Ce is a demonstrative determiner. It comes only before a noun.
     Ce monsieur, ce chien, ce garçon.

Pronouns don't need a noun. They can be, on their own, subject of a sentence for instance:
     Ceci est ma maison. This is my house.
     Cela s'est passé hier. That happened yesterday.



But ce can also be a pronoun. e.g., ce sont mes frères.


This might help. Look along the left margin to further delve into the subject. https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/cest-and-ce-sont-this-is-these-are-demonstrative-pronouns


The Tips & Notes will explain things like that, if you have them. There are several versions of the French course, however, and you may not have Tips & Notes.

Here you go: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/30080154
And the master list of all Tips & Notes: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29888394
You'll want to "Follow" that last one ;-)


So... if it's near: ceci

If it's far away: cela

If it dosen't matter: cela

If using the verb être, ce.

Spoken french transform both into ça



I just saw on a lesson: "cet appartment coûte cent mile dollars"

Isn't the "cet" supposed to be used ONLY with the verb être? I'm not understanding anything!


The cet is an adjective, meanIng "this" and is only used instead of ce because it’s before a vowel.

Ce = masculine singular

Cet = masculine singular in front of a word that begins with a vowel

Cette = feminine singular

Ces = plural of either gender

It’s a bit like the singular forms of some other adjectives eg beau, bel, vieux vieil.


spoiler alert.. next comes Celle-ci, celui-ci and ceux-ci


And then lequel, laquelle and lesquels. Oh yeah also lesquelles.


There are a family of words and phrases which help explain where each fits.

(the) dogs = les chiens <-- generally speaks of any dogs or the dogs

(the) dog = le chien

a dog = un chien <-- generally speaks of one dog or a dog

your dog = votre chien (more formal), ton chien (familiar)

my dog = mon chien <-- expresses ownership of the dog

this/that dog = ce chien <-- points to a specific dog, but doesn't say more

I want to hit that dog with this book. = Je veux frapper cela chien avec ce livre.

That (referring to hitting the dog) would be terrible. = Ça serait terrible.

Cela and Ceci are typically used together to distinguish between things near and far.

"C'est" means "It/This/That is". C'est un chien = It's a dog. This is a dog. That's a dog. <-- context is needed to clarify further

"Ce sont" means "These/Those are". Ce sont les chiens = They are dogs. <-- we know it's plural only because of the verb!

"Ça" tend to mean "It/This/That" but often refers back to a noun phrase mentioned previously. I think in many cases Cela and Ceci may be also used that way.

Corrigez comme nécessaire!


" je veux frapper cela chien avec ce livre" is terribly wrong, it should be " je veux frapper ce chien avec ce livre"


Merci. I'oublie la regle pour «ceci» et «cela».

However, isn't it extreme to say "terribly wrong"? Isn't that redundant? Isn't "wrong" just "wrong"?


Yeah sorry it's just shocked me at first


So, you've just started, huh? :-)


One use ce with a noun, like 'this dog' --> 'ce chien' One use ceci et cela alone in a sentence


Merci. J'ai oublié la regle.


Lesson XIX, "CE AND CELUI," from an old Teach Yourself book may be helpful; note that there are exercises with a key.


When I see english speaker trying to understand my native language I go crazy! Sometime we can't even explain it to ourself. So trying to explain it to a language who has a different system is... Challenging.

But here's my attempt :

Ceci = this thing ( near)

Cela = that thing ( far)

Celui-ci = this specific thing ( near)

Celui-la = that specific thing ( far)

Ce = this ( used before a noun)

Ça = that ( a quick way to point something, or often use to pack up a whole topic... " do you remember that girl? I want to talk about 'that'." = " tu te souvient de cette fille? Je veux parlé de 'ça'."

Sa = ( thats) her (things)... (pointing the possession of a feminine subject ( including feminine non-living object and items)

C'est = this is ( a contracted form of : cela est)

S'est =... ( i can't even think about explaining it... It's when your topic is doing something to him/her/it-self. Like " he hurt himself" = " il s'est fait mal". " the house got prettier" = " la maison s'est embellit"

Se =... ( as above in a more present way " elle se fait une tarte" = " she is doing ( to herself) a pie.

Note : I am a native french speaker but from elsewhere than France. In this part of the world we are raised in French and English and our French has something like 3 layers of casual speaking with contracted forms and very abstract concept. We have our own " French". So I might have a different vision of its grammatical reasoning.


I just saw on a lesson: "cet appartment coûte cent mile dollars"

Isn't the "cet" supposed to be used ONLY with the verb être? I'm not understanding anything!


C'est = cela est ( so it's "cela" + verbe "être" in a contracted form) But about "cet" it's also to demonstrate. Sometime it's "ce" and sometime it's "cet" I just know which to choose because I speak it but I can't explain it. Maybe someone can here.

Also, the casual french we speak here, we've replaced "ce" and "cet" for "st' ". So we wouls say "St'appartment là coûte cent milles piastre" see the big difference here.

[deactivated user]

    Wow thats alot


    It gets confusing because in English we use the words "this" and "that" to do a lot of different things grammatically. In French those different things often require different words.

    To further complicate things while English distinguishes a difference between "this" and "that" but ignores what the word is doing grammatically, French distinguishes what the word is doing grammatically, and often ignores the difference between "this" and "that."

    It is not necessary to fully understand all that right now. For where you are in the course... "Ce" can mean either "this" or "that" when the difference is not especially important to the meaning of the sentence. When the difference needs to be stressed "ceci" means "this" and "cela" means "that."

    Note that "ceci" is related to the word "ici" meaning "here", and "cela" is related to the word "là" meaning "there." The phrase: "This here and that there" or in French: "Ceci ici et cela là" will help you remember which is which.

    [deactivated user]

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