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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kristen730757

Can someone explain this/there (ce, cet, cette, ces, cela, etc.) to me?

I've been trying my best and just can't get it! Can someone explain it in very simple terms to me :)

May 25, 2020

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/angus390025

The first four are determiners (a type of adjective used to identify a specific person or thing being indicated or experienced):

  • this car = cette voiture (feminine)

  • this book = ce livre (masculine)

  • cet arbre = this tree (masculine, special case used to avoid a glottal stop when the noun begins with a vowel, like we say "a grape" but "an apple")

  • ces livres = these books (plural, can be masculine or feminine)

cela is different. It is a demonstrative pronoun which English has as well:

  • I like that = j'aime cela

In French that is called a pronom démonstratif and another form of cela is ça. You can say "j'aime ça" instead of "j'aime cela" for example.

To add to the confusion, "ce" can also act as a demonstrative pronoun.

  • These are my brothers = Ce sont mes frères

Note that the English word "these" can act as a determiner (these brothers) or as a demonstrative pronoun (these are my brothers). The French word "ce" can swing both ways as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joseph297228

Great explanation, Angus


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kristen730757

Thank you for your thorough explanation that also made my head spin just a tad :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Duo871100

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Merci, Merci, Merci!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GScottOliver

It really just takes practice, but here’s a summary.

The words ce, cet, & cette can mean “this” or “that” as an adjective; ce is used with masculine nouns that begin with a consonant, cet with masculine nouns that begin with a vowel, and cette with feminine nouns. (If grammatical gender confuses you, just know that gender is part of a noun like its spelling and its meaning.) And ces is the plural of these.

Also, note that c’est is a contraction of ce+est. In this case it is an invariant pronoun, when the gender and number of the subject is unknown or unimportant.

The last one you asked about was cela: it means “that” as a pronoun. It can be shortened to ça. The pronoun “ceci” means “this”.

Remember those ci (here) and (there) endings. They’ll come up a little later on. Bonne chance !

Timor mortis conturbat me. 2020-05-24


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rob453220

Ce = masculine and word starts with consonant Cet = masculine and word starts with vowel or H - like homme Cette = feminine Ces = Plural

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