Demonstrative Adjectives

French demonstrative adjectives
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Adjectifs démonstratifs

Demonstrative adjectives (this, that) are used to indicate a specific noun or nouns. In French, they must agree with the noun(s) in number and sometimes gender.

Par exemple…

Cet arbre est mignon. This tree is cute.
Ces montagnes sont hautes. Those mountains are tall.

Characteristics of demonstrative adjectives

  1. Used in place of an article, not with one
  2. Placed directly in front of a noun or an adjective + noun
  3. Agree with the demonstrated noun in number and sometimes gender
  4. Demonstrative adjective + noun can be replaced by a demonstrative pronoun

French demonstrative adjectives

  this / that these / those
masculine  ce ces
masc + vowel cet ces
feminine cette ces

+ There are three singular adjectives:

  1. Masculine: ce
  2. Masculine in front of a vowel: cet
  3. Feminine: cette

+ When a singular demonstrative adjective precedes a masculine noun or adjective that begins with a vowel or h muet, cet is used to avoid a hiatus – learn more.

Par exemple…

ce homme cet homme this/that man
ce ancien château cet ancien château this/that former château

+ There is only one plural demonstrative adjective: ces.

  Cettes does not exist, and neither does cets.

Par exemple…

ces femmesthese/those women
ces hommesthese/those men

  French vs English

French demonstrative adjectives make no distinction between "this" and "that" – ce, cet, and cette can each mean either one. Likewise, ces can mean "these" or "those." When you need to make the distinction, you can attach a suffix to the noun:

Par exemple…

cette chaise-ci this chair
ces chaises-là those chairs
Je vais à cet hôtel-ci, pas à cette maison-là. I’m going to this hotel, not that house.

 Demonstrative Adjective Quizzes

Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on French demonstrative adjectives with these fill-in-the-blanks exercises:

Note: You must be logged into your Progress with Lawless French account to take these tests. If you don’t have one, sign up – it’s free!

 Related lessons

Learn Spanish En español

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Ce, cette, ces - French demonstratives


Ce, cet, cette - French demonstrative adjectives

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2 Responses

  1. Armaan Kapila 7 September 2018 / 12:10

    If you were to say, “I like those ones/these ones”, is that using demonstrative adjectives? And in french would the noun have to be added to the end of the statement?
    Finally, what if the things being referred to was a collection of different objects such as “wash those dishes before these ones.” Thank you:)

    • lkl 7 September 2018 / 12:26

      No, “those ones / these ones” are demonstrative pronouns: J’aime ceux-là / ceux-ci.

      If there’s a noun added to the end, then you’re using a demonstrative adjective: J’aime ces livres.

      “Wash those dishes before these ones” – those dishes = demonstrative adjective + noun (cette vaisselle-là), these ones = demonstrative pronoun (celle-ci).