-ci Suffix

French suffix -ci
cette voiture-ci / celle-ci
this car / this one
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Le suffixe -ci

Unlike other French suffixes, -ci does not create new words, but rather adds additional meaning to the nouns and pronouns it’s attached to.

1) Demonstrative adjective + noun + –ci

French demonstrative adjectives on their own don’t distinguish between "this/these" and "that/those," so you can add –ci to a noun in order to specify "this" noun / "these" nouns as opposed to "that" noun / "those" nouns.

Par exemple…

Ce restaurant-ci est trop cher.   This restaurant is too expensive.
Nous aimons bien cette voiture-ci.   We really like this car.
Ces femmes-ci sont fascinantes.   These women are fascinating.

In addition to specifying location/nearness of a noun, –ci can emphasize "this" in reference to time.

Il ne sortirait jamais à cette heure-ci.   He would never go out at this hour.
Je vais le voir ce dimanche-ci.   I’m going to see him this Sunday.

2) Demonstrative pronoun + –ci

Similarly, French demonstrative pronouns on their own don’t distinguish between "this/these" and "that/those," so –ci can be added to them as well.

Par exemple…

Celui-ci est trop cher.   This one is too expensive.
Nous aimons bien celle-ci.   We really like this one.
Celles-ci sont fascinantes.   These (ones) are fascinating.

When talking about two or more things, the addition of –ci often indicates physical location. In the above examples, the speaker is talking about things that are visible, so –ci indicates they are referring to the nearer of the item(s).

 However, the suffix can also be used for "grammatical location": the location of the noun in the sentence relative to the suffix referring back to it. In English, this is expressed with "the latter," which is equivalent to –ci, and "the former," equivalent to –:

J’étudie le français et l’espagnol, et je parle celui-ci tous les jours.   I’m studying French and Spanish, and I speak the latter every day.
Les pommes et les bananes sont délicieuses, mais je préfère celles-ci.   Apples and bananas are delicious, but I prefer the latter.

 This can be a little tricky. In English, "latter" vs "former" refers to the position between the two nouns in the sentence: "latter" means the second noun and "former" means the first noun.

In French, however, the suffixes refer to the position between the suffix and the noun it’s referring back to. So –ci means "here" as in "the noun that is closer to where I am in the sentence right now" (= latter) and – means "there" as in "the noun that is farther away from where I am in the sentence right now" (= former).

 Related lessons

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Cette voiture-ci - French suffix

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