Demonstrative Pronouns

Definite Demonstratives

  Singular Plural
Masculine celui ceux
Feminine celle celles

Whenever a choice is involved and you are pointing out an object or group of objects, use a definite demonstravive.

Il veut celui-ci ! Il ne veut pas celui-là !
He wants this one! He doesn't want that one.

In many cases either -ci or -là a is appended to the end- -ci denoting nearness and -là denoting distance).

  You can point out an object, by appending -ci or -là to a noun and preceding it with a demonstrative adjective.

ce livre-ci   this book  ce livre-là     that book

At other times the demonstrative pronouns is modified by a prepositional phrase or relative clause.

On a peu de besoins quand on est vivement touché de ceux des autres. -- G.E. Lessing
One has few needs when you have been vividly touched by those of others.

La plus perdue de toutes les journées est celle où l'on n'a pas ri.
-- Chamfort
The most lost (wasted) of all days is the day when one has not laughed.

Le secret d'ennuyer est celui de tout dire. -- Voltaire
The secret of boring is that of saying everything.

At no time is a definite demonstraive left by itself. Either -ci or -là will be appended to it or it will be modified by a prepositional phrase, relative clause, or particles??.

(are used when a choice is involved and you are pointing out an object or objects from a group of other objects. If that is not the case, its probably best to use a subject pronoun or the pronoun ce to represent an object.)

Indefinite Demonstratives

When referring to something indefinite, use cela,  ça (the informal version of cela), or ce. Something indefinitethat which has no gender like ideas, states, and events,

Whenever être is the verb, use ce.. It is shortened to just c' before most être verb forms.(See elision)

Le pôle nord a fondu cet été. C'est triste.
The north pole melted this summer. That's sad.

Je sais enfin ce qui distingue l'homme de la bête: ce sont les ennuis d'argent.-- Jules Renard
I finally know what distinguishes man from beast (animals) - it is money worries.

Être amoureux, c'est voir dans celui ou celle qui vous aime ce qu'on  y souhaite et non pas ce qu'on y trouve. -- Paul Reboux
Being in love is to see in the person who loves you what you wish and not what you find.

When être is in a form that doesn't begin with e, then either ce or ça can be used.

When être isn't the verb then use cela and ça.

Il vient toujours un temps où il faut choisir entre la contemplation et l'action.  Cela s'appelle devenir un homme. -- Albert Camus
There always comes a time when it is necessary to decide between contemplation and action; this is called becoming a man.

Il est bon de lire entre les lignes, cela fatigue moins les yeux.
-- Sacha Guitry
It is good to read between the lines; this fatigues less the eyes.

Cela and ça are also often used to represent the definite. Informally, it's often used to make general statements about people or objects.

Le poisson, ça pue.
Fish stinks.

Les snobs, ça croit tout savoir.
Snobs think they know everything.

Ça is also used when the name of an object is unknown.

Qu'est ce que c'est ça ?
What's that?

Humm, donne-moi plus de ça !
Hmmm, give me more of that! (The person doesn't know what it is.)

Children, because they often don't know the names of many things, often recurr to ça.

Donne-moi ça !
C'est un sac.
Donne-le-moi !

When referring to a specific, known object, ça is derogatory.

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