Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns

Demonstrative adjectives

Sometimes you need to be very specific when identifying things. To do so, you use demonstrative adjectives (this, that, these, those). In French, demonstratives, like all adjectives, agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

Masculine singular

ce livre

this book

cet auteur

this author

cet homme

this man Note that the demonstrative adjective ce adds a -t before a masculine singular noun that starts with a vowel or a mute h (cet appartement, cet arbre).

Feminine singular

cette lampe

this lamp

cette télévision

this television

cette histoire

this story

Masculine and feminine plural

ces cahiers (

these notebooks

ces arbres (

these trees

ces chemises (

these shirts

ces homards (

these lobsters To make a distinction between two elements, -ci and -là are added to the noun following the demonstrative adjective.

Préférez-vous cette chemise-ci ou cette chemise-?

Do you prefer this shirt or that shirt?

Combien coûtent ce livre-ci et ce livre-là?

How much do this book and that book cost?

Préférez-vous ces lunettes-ci ou ces lunettes-?

Do you prefer these glasses or those glasses?

Vous recommandez cet hôtel-ci ou cet hôtel-?

Do you recommend this hotel or that hotel?

Possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives modify nouns and are used to express relationship and ownership.They agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

Masculine singular

mon ordinateur

my computer

notre ordinateur

our computer

ton ordinateur

your computer

votre ordinateur

your computer

son ordinateur

his/her computer

leur ordinateur

their computer

Feminine singular

ma vie

my life

notre vie

our life

ta vie

your life

votre vie

your life

sa vie

his/her life

leur vie

their life

Masculine and feminine plural

mes cousin(e)s

my cousins

nos cousin(e)s

our cousins

tes cousin(e)s

your cousins

vos cousin(e)s

your cousins

ses cousin(e)s

his/her cousins

leurs cousin(e)s

their cousins

Note that the masculine singular form of the possessive adjective (mon, ton, son) is used before singular feminine nouns beginning with a vowel or a mute h.

Mon amie Suzanne travaille à Rennes.

My friend Suzanne works in Rennes.

Ton amitié est importante.

Your friendship is important.

Son honnêteté est suspecte.

His honesty is suspect.

Son, sa, ses can mean either his or hers, since they modify the noun (not the owner). The context will usually prevent any ambiguity about the identity of the owner. If there is ambiguity,the sentence needs to be rephrased for clarity.

son roman

his/her novel

sa pièce

his/her play

ses contes de fée

his/her fairy tales

Another way of expressing possession is to use à + a noun or a disjunctive pronoun.

C’est à qui?

Whose is it?

C’est à Pierre?

Is it Pierre’s?

Non, ce n’est pas à Pierre.

No, it’s not Pierre’s.

C’est à moi.

It’s mine.

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns replace nouns used with possessive adjectives. They agree in gender and number with the noun they replace, not with the possessor.


le mien -  mine

le tien -  yours

le sien -  his/hers

le nôtre -  ours

le vôtre -  yours

le leur  - theirs


la mienne -  mine

la tienne -  yours

la sienne -  his/hers

la nôtre -  ours

la vôtre  - yours

la leur  - theirs


les miens -  mine

les tiens -  yours

les siens  - his/hers

les nôtres  - ours

les vôtres -  yours

les leurs -  theirs


les miennes  - mine

les tiennes  - yours

les siennes -  his/hers

les nôtres -  ours

les vôtres -  yours

les leurs  - theirs

J’apporte mes notes et tu apportes les tiennes.

I bring my notes and you bring yours.

Tu fais tes devoirs et elle fait les siens.

You do your homework and she does hers.

Nous aimons votre chien et vous aimez le nôtre.

We like your dog and you like ours.

Les leurs sont de grande valeur.

Theirs are quite valuable.

Vous prenez vos billets et nous prenons les nôtres.

You take your tickets and we take ours.

When the possessive pronoun is preceded by à or de, the article is contracted as shown below.

Il a téléphoné à son avocat et elle a téléphoné au sien.

He called his lawyer and she called hers.

Elle a besoin de mon aide et tu as besoin de la sienne.

She needs your help and you need hers.

Expressing possession with être + à

Remember that the most common way of expressing possession is by using être + à + the disjunctive pronoun.

Cette valise est à moi.

This suitcase is mine.

Ce blouson en cuir est à lui.

This leather jacket is his.

Ces vélos sont à eux.

These bikes are theirs.

Ces journaux sont à elles.

These newspapers are theirs.

When one wants to stress the ownership or identify different items of a similar nature, the possessive pronoun is used.

C’est le sien? —Non, c’est le mien!

Is it his? —No, it’s mine!

C’est ton avis et c’est aussi le sien.

It’s your opinion and it’s also his.

Contrary to English, sometimes a possessive adjective rather than a possessive pronoun is required in French.

C’est un de vos associés?

Is he a business partner of yours?

C’est un de mes collègues.

He is a colleague of mine.

Possessive pronouns are also used in idiomatic expressions.

À la tienne!

Cheers! (informal singular)

À la vôtre!

Cheers! (formal or plural)

Après des mois de cauchemar, elle est de nouveau parmi les siens.

After some nightmarish months, she is back with her family again.

Leur benjamin a encore fait des siennes!

Their youngest son has been acting up again!

Il faut y mettre du tien!

You have to make an effort!

Si elle n’y met pas du sien, elle ne réussira jamais.

If she does not make an effort, she’ll never succeed.

Possessive pronouns with aussi and non plus

The possessive pronoun is also often used with aussi and non plus to confirm an affirmative or negative statement.Son appartement coûtait cher.His apartment was expensive.

Le mien aussi.

—So was mine.

Nos meubles sont très modernes.

Our furniture is very modern.

Les miens aussi.

—So is mine.

Vos réponses ne sont pas correctes.

Your answers are not right.

Les siennes non plus.

—His either. (Nor are his.)

Son appartement n’est pas bruyant.His apartment is not noisy.

Le tien non plus.

—Yours either. (Nor is yours.)

Demonstrative pronouns

Earlier, you studied the demonstrative adjectives ce, cet, cette, ces (this, that, these, those) used to point out things and people.

ce restaurant

this restaurant

cette galerie

this gallery

ces chaises

these chairs

ces bagues

these rings

A demonstrative pronoun replaces a demonstrative adjective + a noun. It agrees in gender and number with the noun it replaces. It can refer to people or things. In a sentence, it can be the subject or object of the verb and be followed by que, qui, de, or another prepositional phrase.



the one (masculine)


the one (feminine)



the ones (masc.; masc. and fem.)


the ones (feminine)

Cette dame est celle qui habitait autrefois à côté.

That woman is the one who used to live next door.

Il a adopté la méthode de Gérard.

He adopted Gérard’s method.

—Non, c’est celle de Francine.

—No, it’s Francine’s.

À qui est ce téléphone?

Whose phone is it?

—C’est celui de Juliette?

—Is it Juliette’s?

Compound demonstrative pronouns

Compound demonstrative pronouns are used to compare elements of the same nature or to indicate a choice between two objects or two people. The particles -ci and -là are added to demonstrativepronouns to indicate this one, that one, etc.



this one (masculine)


that one (masculine)


this one (feminine)


that one (feminine)



these (ones)


those (ones) (masc.; masc. and fem.)


these (ones) (fem.)


those (ones) (feminine)

Celui-ci est en argent. Celui-là est en or.

This one is silver. That one is gold.

Celle-ci coûte cher. Celle-là est bon marché.

This one is expensive. That one is cheap.

Ceux-ci sont vrais. Ceux-là sont faux.

These are real. Those are fake.

Celles-ci sont belles. Celles-là sont laides.

These are beautiful. Those are ugly.

Note that celui-ci (celle-ci) and celui-là (celle-là) may carry a condescending or derogatory meaning when used to talk about a person who is not present. Therefore, be careful if you decideto use it to refer to a person.

Tu connais son frère?

Do you know his brother?

—Ah, celui-là! Il est odieux!

—Ah, that one! He is obnoxious!

Tu as posé la question à ta voisine?

Did you ask your neighbor?

—Ah, celle-là, je ne lui adresse jamais la parole!

—Ah! That one! I don’t talk to her!

The demonstrative pronoun ce

The demonstrative pronoun ce (c’) is invariable and is often the subject of the verb être. It refers to an idea previously introduced.The adjective following ce (c’) is always in the masculine evenif it refers to a feminine antecedent. See the example sentences below:

Les erreurs qu’elle a faites! C’est idiot!

The mistakes she made! It’s so stupid!

Cette ville en hiver! C’est si beau!

This city in the winter! It’s so beautiful!

Ceci, cela, and ça

The indefinite demonstrative pronouns ceci (this), cela (that), and ça (this/that, familiar) refer to indefinite things or ideas.Ceci may initiate a statement and also announce a following sentence. Cela may reflect on something already mentioned.

Mangez ceci!

Eat this!

Enlevez cela!

Remove that!

Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

This is not a pipe.

Ça, c’est de l’art!

That’s (really) art!

Ça ne fait rien.

It does not matter.

Ça m’est égal.

I don’t mind.