Mastering French Demonstrative Pronouns (Pronoms démonstratifs)

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In this comprehensive blog post, I am going to explain the French Demonstrative Pronouns (Pronoms démonstratifs).

Demonstrative pronouns in French are words like “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those” in English. They are used to point to something already talked about in a sentence. To make sense, they need to match the gender and number of the things they’re replacing. The French demonstrative pronouns are:

  1. Celui (masculine singular) – “this one” or “that one” for a masculine singular noun.
  2. Celle (feminine singular) – “this one” or “that one” for a feminine singular noun.
  3. Ceux (masculine plural) – “these” or “those” for masculine plural nouns.
  4. Celles (feminine plural) – “these” or “those” for feminine plural nouns.

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

Each of the four demonstrative pronouns in French can refer to something nearby or far away. This means that “celui” and “celle” can both mean “this one” or “that one,” while “ceux” and “celles” can both mean “these” or “those.” The context usually helps your listener understand which one you’re referring to. However, if you want to emphasize one over the other, you can use a suffix (as explained below). Demonstrative pronouns cannot be used on their own; they must be part of specific sentence structures.

With a Suffix

Similar to demonstrative adjectives, you can differentiate between “this one” and “that one,” “these,” and “those” in French by adding the suffixes “-ci” (meaning “here”) and “-là” (meaning “there”).

For example:

  1. Quel gâteau a-t-elle préparé, celui-ci ou celui-là? (Which cake did she make, this one or that one?)
  2. Je ne sais pas si je préfère cette peinture-ci ou cette peinture-là. (I don’t know if I prefer this painting or that painting.)
  3. Quelle voiture est plus rapide, celle-ci ou celle-là? (Which car is faster, this one or that one?)
  4. Je ne sais pas si je veux ces bijoux-ci ou ces bijoux-là. (I don’t know if I want these pieces of jewelry or those pieces of jewelry.)
  5. Quelle émission de télévision préférez-vous, celle-ci ou celle-là? (Which TV show do you prefer, this one or that one?)
  6. Je ne sais pas si j’aime ce parfum-ci ou ce parfum-là. (I don’t know if I like this perfume or that perfume.)
  7. Quelle piste de ski est la plus difficile, celle-ci ou celle-là? (Which ski slope is the most challenging, this one or that one?)
  8. Je ne sais pas si je veux ces lunettes de soleil-ci ou ces lunettes de soleil-là. (I don’t know if I want these sunglasses or those sunglasses.)
  9. Quelle fille l’a fait, celle-ci ou celle-là? (Which girl did it, this one or that one?)
  10. Je ne sais pas si je veux ceux-ci ou ceux-là. (I don’t know if I want these or those.)

In Prepositional Phrases

In prepositional phrases, French demonstrative pronouns are typically introduced by “de” to indicate possession or origin. Here are two examples:

  1. Quel film veux-tu voir ? Celui de la France ou celui du Canada ? (Which film do you want to see? The one from France or the one from Canada?)
  2. Je ne peux pas décider entre ces deux robes. Celle de soie est plus jolie mais aussi plus chère que celle de coton. (I can’t decide between these two dresses. The silk one is prettier but also more expensive than the cotton one.)
  3. Quel plat préfères-tu ? Celui de l’Italie ou celui de l’Inde ? (Which dish do you prefer? The one from Italy or the one from India?)
  4. Il y a deux maisons à vendre. Celle du coin est plus grande, mais celle de la colline a une meilleure vue. (There are two houses for sale. The one on the corner is bigger, but the one on the hill has a better view.)
  5. Quel roman as-tu aimé le plus ? Celui de l’auteur célèbre ou celui du nouvel écrivain ? (Which novel did you like the most? The one by the famous author or the one by the new writer?)
  6. J’ai deux chats. Celui à poils longs est plus câlin que celui à poils courts. (I have two cats. The long-haired one is more affectionate than the short-haired one.)
  7. Quelle musique écoutons-nous ? Celle de jazz ou celle de rock ? (What music are we listening to? The jazz one or the rock one?)
  8. Je recherche un sac. Celui en cuir est élégant, mais celui en toile est plus pratique pour tous les jours. (I’m looking for a bag. The leather one is stylish, but the canvas one is more practical for everyday use.)
  9. Quelle pizza préfères-tu ? Celle de la pizzeria locale ou celle de la chaîne de restauration rapide ? (Which pizza do you prefer? The one from the local pizzeria or the one from the fast-food chain?)
  10. Nous avons deux billets pour le concert. Celui de samedi soir est complet, mais celui de dimanche après-midi a encore des places. (We have two tickets for the concert. The Saturday evening one is sold out, but the Sunday afternoon one still has seats.)

In these sentences, “de” is used to show that the demonstrative pronouns are referring to possession or origin.

Followed by a Relative Pronoun, Plus a Dependent Clause

  1. Celui qui a menti sera puni. (He who / Whoever lied will be punished.)
  2. Ceux qui sont polis recevront un cadeau. (Those who are polite will receive a gift.)
  3. Celle qui a gagné la course est très rapide. (She who won the race is very fast.)
  4. Ceux qui aiment les animaux apprécient le zoo. (Those who love animals enjoy the zoo.)
  5. Celui qui étudie dur obtiendra de bonnes notes. (He who studies hard will get good grades.)
  6. Ceux qui ont terminé leur travail peuvent partir tôt. (Those who have finished their work can leave early.)
  7. Celle qui chante si bien est notre professeur de musique. (She who sings so well is our music teacher.)
  8. Ceux qui assistent à la réunion auront des informations importantes. (Those who attend the meeting will have important information.)
  9. Celui qui a résolu le mystère est un détective compétent. (The one who solved the mystery is a skilled detective.)
  10. Celles qui ont apporté des gâteaux ont contribué à la fête. (Those who brought cakes have contributed to the party.)
this, thatceluicelle
these, thoseceuxcelles


Mastering French demonstrative pronouns is essential for precise and effective communication in the French language. These pronouns add depth and specificity to your expressions. To improve your proficiency, practice using them in various contexts and pay close attention to the agreement with the nouns they refer to.

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