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French

What’s the Difference Between Ce, Cette, Cet, and Ces?



Find out which are used with masculine, feminine, singular, and plural nouns.
What’s the Difference Between Ce, Cette, Cet, and Ces?

Published by The LingoNomad


Featured article photo: Arc de triomphe du Carrousel in Paris, France (CC0 Licensed)

It is not uncommon for beginners in French to find it overwhelming in differentiating masculine and feminine words to decide grammatical genders when forming sentences. Pair that binary decision with the consideration of whether a word is singular or plural, and now you are loaded with a bootload of mental processing to sort out to express yourself correctly.

Don’t get me wrong, I do stand with the classic advice that it’s better to not worry so much correct grammar if you’re a beginner, what’s more important is always coherence. But at some point, you got to make that step to be a little more concerned with grammar to improve your fluency.

Now, let’s start differentiating ce, cette, cet, and ces one by one.

Ces

Ces means these/those, and you can use it regardless of whether the nouns that follow it are masculin or féminin.

Par exemple:

  • Ces tasses (These cups)
  • Ces vêtements (These clothes)
  • Ces serviettes (These towels)
  • Ces bouteilles (These bottles)
  • Ces savons (These soaps)

Ce, cette, and cet means this/that.

So basically, only ces is used with plural nouns whereas ce, cette, and cet are used with singular nouns.

Now, let’s differentiate between ce, cette, and cet.

Ce and Cette

Both ce and cette are for singular nouns, but ce is masculin and cette is féminin.

Par exemple:

  • Ce garçon (This boy)
  • Ce coussin (This pillow)
  • Ce miroir (This mirror)
  • Ce lit (This bed)
  • Ce mur (This wall)

  • Cette femme (This woman)
  • Cette fille (This girl)
  • Cette couverture (This blanket)
  • Cette porte (This door)
  • Cette fenêtre (This window)

Cet

Cet is also used with masculine singular nouns, but only for nouns starting with a vowel.

Par exemple:

  • Cet homme (This man)—remember, h is a vowel in French!
  • Cet armoire (This wardrobe)
  • Cet étagère (This bookshelf)
  • Cet assiete (This plate)
  • Cet hamac (This hammock)

Your Turn

Fill in the blanks with Ce / Cette / Cet / Ces. Leave your answers as comments below and don't hesitate to ask questions! :)

  1. _____ nuit
  2. _____ livre
  3. _____ télévisions
  4. _____ sac
  5. _____ avions
  6. _____ règles et procédures
  7. _____ objectifs
  8. _____ question
  9. _____ estimation
  10. _____ type d'action

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