C'est, ce sont = this is, these are (demonstrative pronouns)

Remember that in sentences it is/they are ... + article/determinant (un, une, le, la, les, des...) + noun/pronoun, you will use c'est or ce sont instead of il/elle est or ils/elles sont.
See C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is

Now look at these examples:

Est-ce ta trousse? - Oui, c'est la mienne.
Is this your pencil case? - Yes, this is mine.

À qui sont ces livres? Ce sont mes livres.
Whose books are these? These are my books

C'est ma maison.
This is my house.

Ce sont mes maisons.
These are my houses.

 

Note that ce is used with the verb être as follows: in its singular form, c'est, means it is /this is /that is, and in its plural form, ce sont, means they are /these are /those are.  

Both forms are used to refer to a thing or a person (i.e. a girl, a table, a house, ...), and they agree in number (singular or plural) with the thing they refer to. 

BUT

When c'est is followed by an adjective or an adverb on its own, you NEVER use ce sont, even if the thing referred to is plural:

C'est pratique, les ciseaux.
They're practical, scissors.

Et leurs anniversaires ? - C'est bientôt !
What about their birthdays? - They're soon!


Note that if c'est is followed by an adverb AND a noun, then the noun is the one that matters!

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's almost the holidays!

 

ATTENTION:

It is worth noticing that the first rule is not always followed rigorously by French speakers. You could indeed hear them using c'est when they should use ce sont:

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's almost the holidays!

C'est bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

However, they will never use ce sont for c'est !

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

C'est pratique, les ciseaux.
They're practical, scissors.


C'est ma maison.
This is my house.


Ce sont mes maisons.
These are my houses.


Ce sont les amis de mon frère.
These are my brother's friends.


À qui sont ces livres? Ce sont mes livres.
Whose books are these? These are my books


Est-ce ta trousse? - Oui, c'est la mienne.
Is this your pencil case? - Yes, this is mine.


C'est bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!


Et leurs anniversaires ? - C'est bientôt !
What about their birthdays? - They're soon!


Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's almost the holidays!


Q&A Forum 16 questions, 35 answers

ReneB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

ce sont

Hello, I m trying to understand this sentence:

J'utilise ces tomates. Ce sont les dernières.

Are we using ce sont here before the article les?  My first reaction was to say elles sont...
thank you.

Asked 1 week ago
ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Bonjour Rene,

Madame Cécile has addressed the question as to why “Elles sont” can’t be used here->

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/questions/view/in-the-sentence-j-utilise-ces-tomates-ce-cont-les-dernieres-why-can-t-we-say-elles-sont-les-derniere

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Ce sont les dernières. --The're the last ones.

Ces usually requires a noun to follow:
Ces tomates sont les dernières. -- These tomatoes are the last ones.

ReneB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks for the replies... not very clear. :-(

Do I have to use "ce sont" because the following word is the article "le"?  I think there is a rule that says "c'est"and "ce sont" before "un, let, and possessive pronouns".  Am I on the right track?

ReneB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks for the replies... not very clear. :-(

Do I have to use "ce sont" because the following word is the article "le"?  I think there is a rule that says "c'est"and "ce sont" before "un, let, and possessive pronouns".  Am I on the right track?

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Ce is often used as a pronom neutre, a neutral pronoun. Most of the time it is followed by a form of être.

Ces is a demonstrative pronoun and is followed by a noun.

Maybe this helps to clarify further: https://french.stackexchange.com/questions/6226/when-to-use-ils-sont-ces-sont-or-ce-sont

ce sont

Hello, I m trying to understand this sentence:

J'utilise ces tomates. Ce sont les dernières.

Are we using ce sont here before the article les?  My first reaction was to say elles sont...
thank you.

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CarlosB1Kwiziq community member

In the sentence "Ce sont mes livres" why do you write "Ce" this/that instead of "Ces" these?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Carlos,

C'est is for a singular , Ce sont for a plural .


because of the clash of the two vowels.

C'est mon fils , c'est ma fille He is / this is my son, she is/ this is my daughter 

Ce sont mes enfants These are my children / They are my children

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Ce sont mes livres -- This are my books. Here the demonstrative pronoun ce is not like an adjective to "books". It is a demonstrative pronoun all by itself and hence is not matched in gender and number to "books".

Ces livres sont à moi. -- These books belong to me. In this case ces refers directly to the books and behaves like an adjective. Therefore it needs to be matched to "books".

CarlosB1Kwiziq community member

Thank you

In the sentence "Ce sont mes livres" why do you write "Ce" this/that instead of "Ces" these?

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ChaseB1Kwiziq community member

Ce sont nos livres vs Ces livres _ nous

Hi,

I have looked all over the site, but cannot seem to find where to learn the correct answer for "Ces livres _ nous/These books are ours" - it's very frustrating.

For me, I'd write "Ce sont nos livres" or "Ces livres sont les notres".

Could someone clarify the instance where I'd use "nous" at the end? Or at least direct me to the lessons explaining these instances? 

I've been stuck on Gold A1 for 3 days (99.97%) and it's extremely frustrating to continuously have these setbacks. All I want is my diamond badge so I can move on to A2.

Many thanks

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Chase, 

You could also say -

Ces livres sont à nous.

Hope this helps!

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Expressing possession with être à

Normally when you get a question wrong, you get a link to the appropriate lesson. Did that not happen here?

Ce sont nos livres vs Ces livres _ nous

Hi,

I have looked all over the site, but cannot seem to find where to learn the correct answer for "Ces livres _ nous/These books are ours" - it's very frustrating.

For me, I'd write "Ce sont nos livres" or "Ces livres sont les notres".

Could someone clarify the instance where I'd use "nous" at the end? Or at least direct me to the lessons explaining these instances? 

I've been stuck on Gold A1 for 3 days (99.97%) and it's extremely frustrating to continuously have these setbacks. All I want is my diamond badge so I can move on to A2.

Many thanks

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FrenchA1Kwiziq community member

Why does mienne have an article before it? Isn't mine a possessive pronoun?

Asked 6 months ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour -

Yes, "mine" is a possessive pronoun, and la mienne is its feminine singular equivalent. French possessive pronouns always begin with an article - see Le mien, le tien, le sien, etc = Mine, yours, his/hers/its (possessive pronouns)

FrenchA1Kwiziq community member

I understand, so because it is followed by an article "la mienne" c'est is used.

FrenchA1Kwiziq community member

Can I say "Cette robe que je porte au travail" instead of,

 "C'est la robe que je porte au travail"

Why does mienne have an article before it? Isn't mine a possessive pronoun?

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HebaA2Kwiziq community member

Confused

Bonjour,

In the examples on the right you say in number 4 on the second row:

C'est bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

But in explaining the lesson you say:

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

Which is correct?!

Thank you.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Heba,

Both are acceptable, although the plural version "ce sont" is more formal and considered a bit more "proper".

Here is a page that explains it well: http://www.oniris.be/forum/c-est-les-vacances-ou-ce-sont-les-vacances-t6977s0.html

Confused

Bonjour,

In the examples on the right you say in number 4 on the second row:

C'est bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

But in explaining the lesson you say:

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

Which is correct?!

Thank you.

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MariaA2Kwiziq community member

In the sentence " J' utilise ces tomates. Ce cont les dernières". Why can't we say "elles sont les dernières" since we talk about specific tomatoes?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Maria,

You could say:

"J'utilise ces tomates, elles sont très mûres, ce sont les dernières de la saison."

(I am using these tomatoes, they are very ripe , the last ones of the season.)

You cannot say, elles sont les dernières de la saison.

Hope this helps!

ChC1Kwiziq community member
Hi, Maria. It's because of "LES dernières." C'est/ce sont is needed when there's a noun following. I think that note about specific/general inadverantly called so much attention to itself that it took away from the greater point.

In the sentence " J' utilise ces tomates. Ce cont les dernières". Why can't we say "elles sont les dernières" since we talk about specific tomatoes?

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MariaA2Kwiziq community member

Bonsoir!

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Maria, vous avez une question?

Bonsoir!

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CrystalMaidenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Can you use Ceux sont to mean Ce Sont?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour CrystalMaiden!

The answer is no, you would never say "ceux sont" in French :)

Bonne journée !

Can you use Ceux sont to mean Ce Sont?

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ReneB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Confused.

In previous lesson: use c'est for general things (la soupe, c'est délicieux=(drinking)soup is delicious), il, elle for specific things: la soupe, elle est délicieuse=the (specific) soup is delicious. I just don't know how to fit c'est pratique, les ciseaux, c'est ma maison, and c'est bientôt les vacances info the "general format". Can you help?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir à nouveau, I am uncertain about your continued confusion with the c'est and ce sont demonstrative pronouns. Here is something from the lesson that may help: «Note that ce is used with the verb être as follows: in its singular form, c'est, means it is /this is /that is, and in its plural form, ce sont, means they are /these are /those are. » Here is a link to another site that could possibly help clear up the confusion: https://www.tolearnfrench.com/exercises/exercise-french-2/exercise-french-3555.php Bonne chance.

Confused.

In previous lesson: use c'est for general things (la soupe, c'est délicieux=(drinking)soup is delicious), il, elle for specific things: la soupe, elle est délicieuse=the (specific) soup is delicious. I just don't know how to fit c'est pratique, les ciseaux, c'est ma maison, and c'est bientôt les vacances info the "general format". Can you help?

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CherylA1Kwiziq community member

Are you saying you use ce sont before a pronoun also?

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Cheryl, I am quite uncertain of the meaning of your question. C'est and ce sont are both demonstrative pronouns. Would you be so kind as to clarify the meaning of «before a pronoun»? Merci,
CherylA1Kwiziq community member
It's ok I've worked it out myself - I think!. It's only C'est when it's a adjective or adverb. Pronouns like miennes would still be Ce sont???
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
It would, e.g., be "Les valises, ce sont les miennes." I hope that was your question.

-- Chris. (not a native speaker)
Cheryl asked:View original

Are you saying you use ce sont before a pronoun also?

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AjitB1Kwiziq community member

It is bit confusing.

" Qui est cet homme? Does that not refer to a specific person? The why not "ill est? "
Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Ajit - I think you're referring to a different lesson (when to c'est versus il/elle est?). If so, that's explained here:
/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is

When referring to a specific person, you always used "C'est...".

Hope that helps.

It is bit confusing.

" Qui est cet homme? Does that not refer to a specific person? The why not "ill est? "

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Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Reviewing this, I find I'm confused anew. From the earlier lesson:

Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau. But above: À qui sont ces livres? Ce sont mes livres. Since the books under discussion are specific, why would one not say, Ils sont mes livres?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Susan ! This is the case 1 explained in the following lesson: C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is "1. c'est in sentences "it/he/she is + a/the/my... + thing/people" If "it/he/she is" is followed by un/une/le/la...(any form of article / determinant) - it is a beautiful dress / she is a nice person - then you will use c'est. " À bientôt !
Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Tnx, as ever, for your help. What I'm finding confusing is what appears to be a conflict between the two rules. You say: mon pull, and il est (because its specific, not general), but you also say, ces livres and ce sont (also specific, not general). Other than that the first being singular and the second, plural, what is it that makes these two examples different? I've read and re-read both lessons on this, and I'm still, unfortunately, missing the point (not that that hasn't happened before). I hope you will clarify further.

Reviewing this, I find I'm confused anew. From the earlier lesson:

Tu aimes mon pull ? -Oui, il est très beau. But above: À qui sont ces livres? Ce sont mes livres. Since the books under discussion are specific, why would one not say, Ils sont mes livres?

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IvoA1Kwiziq community member

When do you use "Cela est" instead of "C'est"?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Emily !

"Cela est" can be used but would sound overly pompous, and nowadays you would only encounter it when people are making fun of a "posh" accent, as no one would use "cela est" in an non-ironic way these days.

Bonne journée !

AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Ivo ! You never really use "Cela est" as the contraction "c'est" is done for pronunciation reasons: it's just easier to say "c'est", no one ever say "cela est" :) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
EmilyKwiziq community member

In other words, one will never ever find herself using the construction "Cela est"? 

When do you use "Cela est" instead of "C'est"?

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NazaninA1Kwiziq community member

Finally again i didnt get when il/elle and when c'est?

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Nazanin ! Here is a link to the actual lesson on "c'est versus il est/elle est" :
/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is 

Please have a look at it, and let us know if you're still struggling with this concept, and what bothers you specifically, and we'll be happy to try and clarify it for you :)

À bientôt !

Finally again i didnt get when il/elle and when c'est?

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JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ces sont versus ce sont

Asked 3 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
What is your question? It is either "ce est -->c'est" or "ce sont". There is no "ces sont" meaning "they are" as far as I know. But, mind you, I am not a native speaker...

-- Chris.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Just to clarify, here is an example as I understand it: (1) Les pommes sont fraîches. Ces pommes sont fraîches. (2) Les pommes sont fraîches. Ce sont fraîches. In the first example "ces" is a demonstrative pronoun and needs to agree in gender and number with "pommes". In the latter example "ce sont" is a fixed phrase meaning "they are" as a whole. Hope that helps, -- Chris.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Understood. Do you also find that the answering of questions is not so much in the focus of kwiziq? I have asked a couple of questions here which never got a reply. And I see other's having the same problem. Is Laura's forum better in that respect? -- Chris.
JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Hi Chris, In fairness, they don't have a lot of staff and they are in the process of constant development as I understand it. I have a point about the use of "pour" in future usage acknowledged as valid but not yet addressed because of time constraints. The thing about Laura's Forum is that there are some very knowledgeable members who are willing to help and I do get answers there. Regards, Alan
Jim asked:View original

Ces sont versus ce sont

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SusanB2Kwiziq community member

Why is it 'ce sont mes livres' not 'c'est'?

Above it says when a thing is about to be mentioned always use 'c'est'. The previous mention is in another sentence.
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Susan, Thanks for your question. You're right, the explanation isn't clear - we'll get it fixed as soon as possible.
SusanB2Kwiziq community member
Thank you.

Why is it 'ce sont mes livres' not 'c'est'?

Above it says when a thing is about to be mentioned always use 'c'est'. The previous mention is in another sentence.

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Getting that for you now.