Mastering French Demonstrative Adjectives (Adjectifs Démonstratifs)

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In this comprehensive blog post, I am going to explain French Demonstrative Adjectives (Adjectifs Démonstratifs).

French demonstrative adjectives are like special describing words used instead of regular words like “the” or “a” to show exactly which thing we mean. Just like in English, they can be like “this” and “these” for things nearby, or “that” and “those” for things farther away.

But in French, it’s a bit more complicated because these special words need to match not just how many things there are but also if they are boy things or girl things. So, you need to figure out how many and what kind of things you’re talking about to use the right special describing word.

Check also: French Verb Dormir Conjugation, Meaning, Translation, Examples

Masculine Singular

“Ce” is the special describing word you use in French when you’re talking about one boy thing, like a book. Here are two examples of how to use “ce” in a sentence with their English translations:

  1. Ce livre est intéressant. (This book is interesting.)
  2. Ce chien est mignon. (This dog is cute.)
  3. Ce prof parle trop. (This (That) teacher talks too much.)
  4. J’aime ce livre. (I like this (that) book.)
  5. Ce film est captivant. (This movie is captivating.)
  6. Ce restaurant est délicieux. (This restaurant is delicious.)
  7. Ce jardin est magnifique. (This garden is beautiful.)
  8. Ce gâteau est délicieux. (This cake is delicious.)
  9. Ce musée est intéressant. (This museum is interesting.)
  10. Ce voyage est passionnant. (This trip is exciting.)

To clarify, in French, you use “cet” instead of “ce” when it comes before a masculine noun that starts with a vowel sound or a silent “h.”

  1. Cet homme est sympa. – This (That) man is nice.
  2. Je connais cet endroit. – I know this (that) place.
  3. Cet ami est généreux. (This (That) friend is generous.)
  4. Elle aime cet animal. (She likes this (that) animal.)
  5. Cet hôtel est luxueux. (This (That) hotel is luxurious.)
  6. Nous visitons cet île. (We are visiting this (that) island.)
  7. Cet arbre est immense. (This (That) tree is enormous.)
  8. Ils ont acheté cet ordinateur. (They bought this (that) computer.)
  9. Cet enfant est intelligent. – This (That) child is intelligent.
  10. Elle préfère cet restaurant. – She prefers this (that) restaurant.

Feminine Singular

“Cette” is the special describing word you use in French when you’re talking about one girl thing, like a car. Here are some examples of how to use “cette” in a sentence with their English translations:

  1. Cette idée est intéressante. – This (That) idea is interesting.
  2. Je veux parler à cette fille. – I want to talk to this (that) girl.
  3. Cette voiture est rapide. (This car is fast.)
  4. Cette maison est belle. (This house is beautiful.)
  5. Cette robe est élégante. – This (That) dress is elegant.
  6. Elle a visité cette ville. – She visited this (that) city.
  7. Cette musique est apaisante. – This (That) music is soothing.
  8. Elles ont choisi cette couleur. – They chose this (that) color.
  9. Cette actrice est talentueuse. – This (That) actress is talented.
  10. Nous aimons cette plage. – We love this (that) beach.

Masculine or Feminine Plural

Indeed, “ces” serves as the plural demonstrative adjective for both masculine and feminine nouns in French. There is no separate form like “cettes” for plural feminine nouns; “ces” is used for all plural demonstrative adjectives. This simplifies the rules for using demonstrative adjectives in the plural form.

  1. Ces livres sont stupides. – These (Those) books are stupid.
  2. Je cherche ces femmes. – I’m looking for these (those) women.
  3. Ces chiens aboient fort. – These (Those) dogs bark loudly.
  4. Nous adorons ces plages de sable. – We love these (those) sandy beaches.
  5. Ces films sont passionnants. – These (Those) movies are exciting.
  6. Elles portent ces robes élégantes. – They are wearing these (those) elegant dresses.
  7. Ces écoles sont renommées. – These (Those) schools are renowned.
  8. Nous avons goûté ces gâteaux délicieux. – We tasted these (those) delicious cakes.
  9. Ces montagnes sont magnifiques. – These (Those) mountains are magnificent.
  10. Ils écoutent ces chansons pop. – They are listening to these (those) pop songs.

Use the Suffixes

The words “ce,” “cet,” and “cette” can all be used to say “this” or “that” in French. Most of the time, people will understand from the situation whether you mean “this” or “that.” But if you want to make it very clear, you can add -ci to mean “here” or -là to mean “there.” Here are some examples to show how it works.

  1. Ce prof-ci parle trop. – This teacher talks too much.
  2. Ce prof-là est sympa. – That teacher is nice.
  3. Cet étudiant-ci comprend. – This student understands.
  4. Cette fille-là est perdue. – That girl is lost.
  5. Cet ami-ci est fidèle. – This friend is loyal.
  6. Cet ami-là est drôle. – That friend is funny.
  7. Ce gâteau-ci est délicieux. – This cake is delicious.
  8. Ce gâteau-là est trop sucré. – That cake is too sweet.
  9. Cette chanson-ci est triste. – This song is sad.
  10. Cette chanson-là est joyeuse. – That song is cheerful.

Similarly, “ces” can represent “these” or “those,” and once again, you have the option to use the suffixes for added clarity:

  1. Je veux regarder ces livres-là. – I want to look at those books.
  2. Je préfère ces pommes-ci. – I prefer these apples.
  3. Ces fleurs-ci sont plus jolies que ces fleurs-là. – These flowers are prettier than those flowers.
  4. Je vais acheter ces chaussures-là. – I’m going to buy those shoes.
  5. Ces photos-ci sont plus anciennes que ces photos-là. – These photos are older than those photos.

No Contractions

Without contractions, the demonstrative adjective “ce” does not change when placed in front of a vowel. However, when you see “c’est,” the “c'” is not a demonstrative adjective but an indefinite demonstrative pronoun. These pronouns can refer to something abstract, like an idea or an unnamed thing. Here are some examples:

  1. C’est une bonne idée! – That’s a good idea!
  2. C’est triste de perdre un ami. – It’s sad to lose a friend.
  3. C’est la vie. – That’s life.
  4. C’est magnifique de voir un coucher de soleil. – It’s magnificent to see a sunset.
  5. C’est difficile d’apprendre une nouvelle langue. – It’s difficult to learn a new language.
  6. C’est drôle de regarder des films comiques. – It’s funny to watch comedy movies.
  7. C’est important de prendre soin de notre planète. – It’s important to take care of our planet.
  8. C’est fou de penser à tout ce qui se passe dans le monde. – It’s crazy to think about everything happening in the world.
  9. C’est étrange de voir des étoiles pendant la journée. – It’s strange to see stars during the day.
  10. C’est excitant de voyager dans un pays inconnu. – It’s exciting to travel to an unknown country.

Tips and Hints

Indeed, despite the numerous rules, figuring out the right demonstrative adjective to use in French isn’t as complicated as it may appear. There are just four options to choose from: “ce” for masculine singular nouns before a consonant, “cet” for masculine singular nouns before a vowel, “cette” for feminine singular nouns, and “ces” for all plural forms, as illustrated in the table below:

EnglishMasculineMasculine Before a VowelFeminine
this, thatcecetcette
these, thosecescesces

Because there are only four options for French demonstrative adjectives, the most important thing to know is the gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) of French nouns. Learning a noun’s gender and number is crucial because words like articles, some pronouns, some verbs, and demonstrative adjectives need to match the nouns they go with. This is where the real effort comes in if you want to become really good at French.


In conclusion, understanding and mastering French demonstrative adjectives are essential for effective communication in the French language. Learning how to match these adjectives with the gender and number of nouns is a key step in becoming proficient in French grammar and expression.

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