French Demonstrative Pronouns – Celui, Celle, Ceux, Celles

les pronoms démonstratifs

French demonstrative pronounsDemonstrative pronouns replace demonstratives adjectives + nouns (e.g. ch chien) 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.

MASCULINEFEMININE
SINGULARceluicelle
PLURALceuxcelles

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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