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 :)
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.
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 là (there) endings. They’ll come up a little later on. Bonne chance !
Timor mortis conturbat me. 2020-05-24