Demonstrative pronouns: ‘this’, ‘that’, etc. in French

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Demonstrative pronouns: ‘this’, ‘that’, etc.

Demonstrative pronouns replace nouns which have just been mentioned. In English, we use the pronouns ‘this one’, ‘that one’, ‘these’, and ‘those’. They must agree in gender and in number.

- J’adore la barbe de Victor. - Oui, mais moi je préfère celle de Marcel. -I love Victor’s beard. -Yes but I prefer Marcel’s. (celle = la barbe, feminine singular)
De tous les livres que j’ai lus, ceux de Victor sont mes préférés. Of all the books I’ve read, those of Victor’s are my favorites. (ceux = les livres, masculine plural)
We add the suffixes -ci and -là to specify something or someone.

celui-ci, celui-là
celle-ci, celle-là
ceux-ci, ceux-là
celles-ci, celles-là
- Ces chaussures sont magnifiques! - Moi, je préfère celles-là. -These shoes are amazing! -I prefer those ones. (celles-là = the other shoes that are there, not here)
-Ci refers to something which is close by, -là refers to another thing which is further away.
- Je voudrais une baguette s’il vous plaît. -I’d like a baguette please.
- Celle-ci ? -This one?
- Non, celle-là, elle est moins cuite. -No, that one. It’s less brown.
Note: Simple demonstrative pronouns (celui, celle, etc.) are always followed by a complement (celui que, celle qui, ceux de, etc.) Compound demonstrative pronouns (celui-ci, celle-là, etc.) aren’t followed by a complement.
- Quelle bouteille veux-tu ? -Which bottle do you want?
- Celle que tu as dans la main / Celle de Victor / Celle-ci / Celle-là. -The one you have in your hand/Victor’s one/This one/That one.

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