French Demonstrative Adjectives & Pronouns

What are the French demonstrative adjectives and pronouns?

French demonstrative adjectives are ce, cet, ces and cette and translate to this and these. French demonstrative pronouns are celui, celle, ceux and celles and translate into both “the one” and “the ones”. This page offers a complete beginners guide to French demonstrative adjectives and pronouns with example sentences.

French demonstrative adjectives: ce, cet, ces, cette

Demonstratives adjective are used to point out specific things. In French they are ce, cet, cette and ces, and translate to this, that, these and those. They must agree with the noun they precede.

SINGULARce livrethis/that bookcette lampethis/that lamp
cet hôtelthis/that hotel
PLURALces livresthese/those booksces lampesthese/those lamps

Example sentences of demonstrative adjectives

Cet precedes a masculine noun that starts with a vowel.

  • Combien coûte ce matelas? How much does this mattress cost?
  • Je voudrais acheter ces gants. I’d like to buy these gloves?
  • Ces skis sont magnifiques! These skis are amazing!
  • Je préfère cette chanson. I prefer this song.
  • Je ne connais pas cet homme. I don’t know this guy.
  • Qu’est-ce que tu fais ce soir? What are you doing tonight?
  • Est-ce que tu connais ces gens? Do you know these people?

The particles -ci and -là can be attached to the noun to indicate this or these (here) or those (there, or over there).

  • J’adore cette chemise-ci! I love this shirt (here).
  • Je n’aime pas cette chemise-là. I don’t like that shirt.
  • Préfères-tu ces livres-ci ou ces livres-là? Do you prefer these books or those books?
  • Recommandez-vous ce restaurant-ci ou ce restaurant-là? Do you recommend this restaurant or that restaurant?

French demonstrative pronouns: Celui, Celle, Ceux, Celles

Demonstrative pronouns replace demonstratives adjectives + nouns and translate to the one or the ones. They must agree in number and gender with the nouns they replace. They can be followed by qui, qui and de.


Example sentences

  • J’aime ton livre mais je préfère celui de Pierre. I like your book but I prefer Pierre’s. 
  • Ce n’est pas mon livre. C’est celui de Véronique. It’s not my book. It’s Veronique’s.
  • Ce monsieur est celui qui travaillait ici autrefois. This man is the one who worked here in the past. 
  • J’aime ces hôtels mais je préfère ceux qui sont au bord de la plage. I like these hotels but I prefer the ones on the beach.
  • A qui est cette voiture? C’est celle de Thomas? Who does this car belong to? It’s Thomas’. 

Compound demonstrative pronouns

Compound demonstrative pronouns are used to compared two similar nouns. They’re the demonstrative pronouns (celui, celle etc.) followed by the particle -ci and là and are used to express this one or that one.

  • Quelles chemises est-ce que tu préfères, celles-ci ou celles-là? Which shirts to you prefer? These ones or those ones?
  • Quelle voiture recommandez-vous? Celle-ci est plus rapide que celle-là. Which car do recommend? This one is faster than that one.
  • Ceux-ci sont très chers mais ceux-làsont bon marchés. Thsese ones are very expensive but those ones are cheap.

Celui-là and celui-ci can also mean and also mean the former and the latter, respectively.

  • L’homme a téléphoné à la femme mais celle-ci n’a pas répondu. The man called the woman but the latter didn’t answer.

The compound demonstrative pronoun (e.g. celui-ci) can also be used in derogatory language to say something unpleasant about somebody.

Tu connais la soeur de Marie? – Ah celle-là. Elle est folle! Do you know Marie’s sister? Oh, that one! She’s nuts!

Ceci, cela and ça

Ceci, cela and ça on their one can mean this and that when referring to indefinite things or previously spoken ideas. In spoken French ça is short for ceci.

  • Ça, c’est une très bonne idée! That’s a good idea!
  • Regarde ça! Look at that!
  • Bois ceci! Drink this!
  • Mange cela! Eat that!
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