The French demonstrative adjectives : ce, cette, ces
This, these, that, those, how do you translate these 4 demonstrative adjectives in French?
1. What is a demonstrative adjective?
Like in English, a demonstrative adjective in French is a word used to point at someone or something : this, that, these, those. Just like a possessive adjective, It is a determiner which is placed before the noun and can replace articles. It agrees in gender and number with the noun.
There are four demonstrative adjectives in French: 3 for singular nouns and 1 for plural.
2. How do you say this and that in French?
There are 3 words that mean this or that : ce, cet, cette. Their use depend on the gender of the noun
If the noun is masculine, then you should use ce. Example : ce garcon => this boy; ce vélo => this bicycle.
If the noun is masculine but starts with a vowel or silent H, then you should use Cet. Example : Cet enfant => this child; cet homme => this man.
If the noun is feminine, then you should use cette. Example : Cette fille => this girl, Cette école => this school.
Remark : for feminine nouns wether the noun starts with a vowel or not, you should use Cette.
The word "This" can have another translation in French which would be "ça" . However, this is a pronoun and not an adjective, so we won't focus on that in this lesson.
Example: Tu aimes ça? Means "Do you like this" ?
The same goes for that can also mean qui or que which are relative pronouns.
Example: L'homme que j'ai rencontré est gentil. => The man that I have met is kind.
3. These and those in French language
The translation for these and those in French is ces no matter the gender of the noun. Example: ces fleurs (f) => these flowers, ces enfants (m) => these kids.
Depending on the position of the object (close or far), we can add the suffixes ci or là to the demonstrative adjectives to give more precision.
Example : Ce livre-ci => this book , ce livre-là =that book.
Practice the demonstrative adjectives with exercises
Practice with online exercises to make sure you are able to use perfectly the demonstrative adjectives in French. Here is my selection of great exercises you could do.