French Grammar Explained /

Demonstrative adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives (this, these, that and those) are used to point or refer to things in a more emphatic way.
Uh... What?
Look at my example. You can use the usual article like here:
La chemise est belle.
The shirt is lovely.
Or, as the word demonstrative adjectives implies, you can "demonstrate", in the sense of showing something, which object you are referring to, like here:
Cette chemise est belle.
This/That shirt is lovely.
In English, there are two types of demonstrative adjectives:
Near in time or distance
this, these shirt(s) (here)
Far in time or distance
that, those shirt(s) (there)
And here comes the good news: time or distance doesn't matter in French!
Woop woop!
So, in a clothing store you could hear:
Cette chemise est belle.
This shirt is lovely.
Ce manteau est trop cher pour moi.
That coat is too expensive for me.
As you can see here in our example, the demonstrative adjectives as well as the articles agree in number and gender with the noun they precede.
... Yes... You're right. I totally saw that too...
le manteau
ce manteau (masculine)
l'homme, l'endroit
cet homme, cet endroit (masculine starting with a vowel or a silent h)
la veste
cette veste (feminine)
les manteaux/vestes
ces manteaux/vestes (plural)
You can also be a bit more precise if the situation calls for it. Look at this dialogue. Imagine you are in a hat shop:
- Tu as vu ce chapeau noir ? Il est très joli !
- Ce chapeau-ci ? - Non, ce chapeau-.
As you can see here, the speakers need to specify which hat they mean, using ci or to make sure they are both talking about the same object.
You have certainly already seen the little words:
là ⇒ there ici ⇒ here Attention !
Ce chapeau ici?Ce chapeau-ci?