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Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are used to emphasize or highlight something, or to distinguish one thing from another.

ce, cet, cette, ces

The adjectives agree in number and, when the forms allow, in gender with the nouns they modify:

masculine singular: ce, cet (when followed by a vowel sound)
feminine singular: cette
masculine and feminine plural: ces

The adjective may be used to introduce a topic, or with the suffixes -ci or -là (appended to the nouns they modify). Used by itself, it can be translated as either “this” or “that”; only when the suffixes are used does it become important to distinguish. The suffix -ci generally refers to objects, people, or events closer in space or time than those referred to by -là:

Ces livres sont trop chers. (These books are too expensive.)
Cette voiture est nerveuse. (This car is responsive.)
Cet homme m’agace! (That man irritates me!)
Cet hôtel-ci coûte moins cher que cet hôtel-là. (This hotel is less expensive than that one.)

celui, celle, ceux, celles

The demonstrative pronoun has four main forms:

  1. masculine singular: celui
  2. feminine singular: celle
  3. masculine plural: ceux
  4. feminine plural: celles

It is used in three different situations:

1. Followed by -ci or -là, sometimes mixed with the demonstrative adjective. (Note that when -ci and -là are used to suggest the former and the latter, -ci refers to the item mentioned more recently, and -là to the item mentioned earlier in the phrase.):

Ces tomates-ci sont plus fraîches que celles-là. (These tomatoes are fresher than those.)
Ceux-ci sont meilleurs que ceux-là. (These are better than those.)
Peut-on choisir entre l’argent ou le bonheur? Il me semble que celui-ci présuppose celui-là! (Can one choose between money and happiness? It seems to me that the latter assumes the former!)

2. Followed by a relative pronoun:

Ce film est celui que tu avais tant détesté. (This film is the one you so hated.)
Celui qui mange bien travaille bien. (He who eats well works well.)

3. Followed by a preposition and a relative pronoun:

Ce stylo est celui avec lequel le Président a signé la nouvelle loi. (This pen is the one with which the President signed the new law.)

ceci et cela (ça)

The indefinite demonstrative pronouns ceci and cela (ça), are used to refer to objects or events which have not been precisely identified:

Veux-tu un peu de ceci? (Would you like a little of this?)
Cela me semble vraiment bizarre! (That strikes me as really weird!)

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