Learning a language necessarily means studying grammar. It’s part and parcel of languages learning.
In this blog, I will highlight some grammar rules on French demonstrative adjectives.
Before doing so, I feel it is important to do a little reminder of what demonstrative adjectives actually are in English and what the difference is between demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns.
It can all be so confusing, we’re better to be safe than sorry! Let’s the grammar fun begins!
Demonstrative adjectives in English
There are four demonstrative adjectives in English: this, that, these, those. This and that are the singular form of these and those. They are words used to point out which person or thing is referred to.
This and these are used when speaking about something relatively close.
For example, I like this pair of shoes (the one just here). I like these shoes (the ones just here).
That and those are used when speaking about something further away, something you can point to.
For example, I prefer that pair of boots over there. I prefer those boots over there.
Difference between demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives
It is important to understand the grammar jargon and to make a difference between demonstrative pronouns (also called independent demonstratives) and demonstrative adjectives (also called demonstrative determiners).
What exactly is a demonstrative adjective?
A demonstrative adjective modifies* a noun.
This and that are used to modify singular nouns whereas these and those are used to modify plural nouns.
For example, I enjoyed this book (this modifies book). She loves those earrings (those modifies earrings).
* a word that modifies a noun is called a modifier. It is a word, phrase, or clause which functions as an adjective or an adverb to describe a word or make its meaning more specific.
What is a demonstrative pronoun?
Just like demonstrative adjectives, demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these and those. They are also used to show specific people or things. However, they don’t actually modify nouns.
They replace other nouns and stand alone. There are used more like pronouns.
For example, This is interesting. I prefer those.
Does it all make more sense? Brilliant. We can start studying French demonstrative adjectives now we know precisely what we are talking about!
Demonstrative adjectives in French
In French, demonstrative adjectives are called “les adjectifs démonstratifs”. They agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (feminine or masculine) with the noun they introduce or modify.
|Cette soupe est délicieuse.
|This soup is delicious.
|Ce / Cet
|Ce garçon est coquin.
Cet arbre est vieux.
|This boy is cheeky.
This tree is old.
In the masculine singular form, you have to use cet if the following word starts with a vowel. It is to ease the pronunciation thanks to the liaison between the t at the end of cet and the vowel.
|Ces robes sont belles.
|These dresses are beautiful.
|Ces livres sont passionants.
|These books are fascinating.
In the plural form, if the words following ces starts with a vowel or an h, you have to do the liaison between the s of ces and the vowel or the h of the following word.
-ci and -là
Just like in English, the French language differentiates things that are close and things that are further away.
As I mentioned before, this and these are used in English to designate something relatively close, and that and those are used to speak about something further away.
It is similar in French. Indeed, you would add the suffix -ci after the modified noun when something is close and the suffix -là when something is further away.
Aimes-tu de ces chaussures-ci? Ou préfères-tu ces chaussures-là?
Do you like these shoes (here)? Or do you prefer those shoes (there)?
Let’s practice a little bit to check if you have understood this grammar lesson correctly.
Fill in the blank with the correct French demonstrative adjective (ce, cet, cette, ces).
Then check your answers.
- Enzo, as-tu lu ___________ livre?
- Noah, aimes-tu ___________ baskets?
- Qui est ___________ belle petite fille?
- Comment s’appelle ___________ homme?
- ___________ chien est agressif!
1.Enzo, as-tu lu ce livre?
- Noah, aimes-tu ces baskets?
- Qui est cette belle petite fille?
- Comment s’appelle cet homme?
- Ce chien est agressif!
So, here you have it, a little grammar lesson about demonstrative adjectives in French. I hope it was clear enough and that you now rock this grammar rule!
Also Read: 17 EFFORTLESS WAYS TO SAY GOODBYE IN FRENCH