-là Suffix

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

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

1) Demonstrative adjective + noun + –

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

Par exemple…

Ce restaurant-là est trop cher.   That restaurant is too expensive.
Nous aimons bien cette voiture-là.   We really like that car.
Ces femmes-là sont fascinantes.   Those women are fascinating.

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

Il ne sortirait jamais à cette heure-là.   He would never go out at that hour.
Je l’ai vu ce dimanche-là.   I saw him that Sunday.
À ce moment-là, je n’en savais rien.   At that time, I didn’t know anything about it.

2) Demonstrative pronoun + –

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

Celui-là est trop cher.   That one is too expensive.
Nous aimons bien celle-là.   We really like that one.
Celles-là sont fascinantes.   Those (ones) are fascinating.

When talking about two or more things, the addition of – indicates that you’re referring to "the former" rather than "the latter":

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

 This can be a little tricky at first. In English, former vs latter refers to the relative position of the two nouns in the sentence, while the French indicates the physical nearness between the pronoun and the noun you’re referring back to. It might help to remember that means "there," as in là-bas (over there).

 Related lessons

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-là French suffix
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