Ce, cet, cette, ces [duration] -là / -ci = that/those or this/these [duration] (demonstrative adjectives)

Using the demonstrative adjectives ce/cet/cette/ces (see Ce/cet/cette and ces = this/that and these/those (demonstrative adjectives)) on their own is good enough in most cases to express this/that, but sometimes, especially with durations, you need to emphasise how far in the past something happened (that day), or how close to now things are happening (these days).

Look at such cases in French:

Elle se maria cette année-là.
She got married that year.


Note that in this expression you use année and NOT an

Ce soir-là, quelque chose d'extraordinaire se produisit.
That night, something extraordinary happened.

Oh non, j'étais en vacances cette semaine-là !
Oh no, I was on holidays that week!

Dans ces moments-là, on ne sait jamais quoi faire.
In those moments, one never knows what to do.

Je ne me sens pas super ces jours-ci.
I don't feel great these days.



To say that + duration, use the agreed demonstrative adjective ce, cet, cette or ces + duration(s) + -là

To say this + duration, use the agreed demonstrative adjective ce, cet, cette or ces + duration(s) + -ci

Note that ce ...-là (that/those ...) forms are much more commonly used than their counterparts ce...-ci (this/these ...). 

ATTENTION:
To express in those days in French, you won't colloquially use "ces jours-là", but rather à cette époque-là or en ce temps-là.
However, ces jours-ci is perfectly correct to say these days:

À cette époque-là, les femmes n'avaient pas le droit de vote.
In those days, women didn't have the right to vote.

 

 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

À cette époque-là, les femmes n'avaient pas le droit de vote.
In those days, women didn't have the right to vote.


Oh non, j'étais en vacances cette semaine-là !
Oh no, I was on holidays that week!


Ce soir-là, quelque chose d'extraordinaire se produisit.
That night, something extraordinary happened.


Elle se maria cette année-là.
She got married that year.


Dans ces moments-là, on ne sait jamais quoi faire.
In those moments, one never knows what to do.


Je ne me sens pas super ces jours-ci.
I don't feel great these days.


Q&A Forum 9 questions, 9 answers

CaroleC1Kwiziq community member

extraordinaire as an adjective

This was a sentence in the lesson:  Ce soir-là, quelque chose d'extraordinaire se produisit.

Why is it not "quelque chose extraordinaire"?  Why is it "d'extraordinaire?" 

Thanks for the explanation!

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Carole,

It is a particularity of some expressions -

Quelque chose, rien, quelqu'un,  have to have a 'de' before the adjectives that follow them.

e.g

Il n'y a rien de bon à manger ici = There's nothing good to eat here

C'est quelqu'un de très motivé He is a very motivated person

Take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/how-to-say-something-special-quelque-chose-de-special

Hope this helps!

extraordinaire as an adjective

This was a sentence in the lesson:  Ce soir-là, quelque chose d'extraordinaire se produisit.

Why is it not "quelque chose extraordinaire"?  Why is it "d'extraordinaire?" 

Thanks for the explanation!

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SeanB2Kwiziq community member

Last Week vs. That Week

Why is this sentence "Tu m'as bien aidé cette semaine-là." translated as last week and not that week? Merci!

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Sean,

Can’t find that particular example in the lesson, was it in a quiz ?

Last Week vs. That Week

Why is this sentence "Tu m'as bien aidé cette semaine-là." translated as last week and not that week? Merci!

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FahadC1Kwiziq community member

When should we use ‘dans’, ‘à’, or ‘en’ with this?

Are ‘à’ and ‘en’ only used with

à cette époque-là

and

en ce temps-là

?

Asked 5 months ago

When should we use ‘dans’, ‘à’, or ‘en’ with this?

Are ‘à’ and ‘en’ only used with

à cette époque-là

and

en ce temps-là

?

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MaryaA1Kwiziq community member

I don’t get the first sentence. Isn’t it elle s’est mariée cette année-là

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Marya, 

It is indeed the passé simple which is a narrative tense equivalent to the passé composé . If you want to know more about it , take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/recognise-all-er-verbs-in-le-passe-simple-including-aller

Hope this helps!

GaryB2Kwiziq community member

Passé simple

I don’t get the first sentence. Isn’t it elle s’est mariée cette année-là

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BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Bonsoir

For the quiz question "Life was harder in those days" I was marked incorrect for saying:

La vie était plus dure ces jours-là

the answer was:

La vie était plus dure à cette époque-là

Why was my answer marked incorrect?

Merci

Asked 10 months ago
BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
nevermind i just saw it in the lesson, apologies

Bonsoir

For the quiz question "Life was harder in those days" I was marked incorrect for saying:

La vie était plus dure ces jours-là

the answer was:

La vie était plus dure à cette époque-là

Why was my answer marked incorrect?

Merci

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Nuit et soir

Hi, The quiz answer to It was that night that my insomnia started is cette nuit-là, but the example "That night, something extraordinary happened" is translated as ce soir-là. Is there a lesson on when to use nuit and when soir?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Paul,

Aurélie tells me there is no specific lesson on when to use nuit and soir.

Normally 'nuit' is night and 'soir' is evening.

'Nuit' is associated with dark and sleeping so you will say, Bonne Nuit! to someone only before you go to bed wishing them to have a good night sleep.

You will say 'bonsoir!'   to someone you greet in the evening.

In the examples you mention, the first one is definitely 'nuit' as it involves sleeping or lack of. I guess the second one is more vague so it could be either depending on the context.

Hope this helps!

 

Nuit et soir

Hi, The quiz answer to It was that night that my insomnia started is cette nuit-là, but the example "That night, something extraordinary happened" is translated as ce soir-là. Is there a lesson on when to use nuit and when soir?

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Mary AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Cet with année

Usually "cet" goes before a noun that begins with a vowel.

But in this lesson we have "cette année" and "cette epoque."

Evidently, these are exceptions.  Is there an explanation for this?  Are there other exceptions?

Thank you for your help.

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Mary Ann !

The answer is that cet comes before masculine nouns that begin with a vowel or mute h.

For feminine nouns such as année or époque, you use cette.

See our related lesson:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/demonstrative-adjectives-ce-cet-cette-and-ces-mean-this-that-and-these-those

Bonne journée !

Cet with année

Usually "cet" goes before a noun that begins with a vowel.

But in this lesson we have "cette année" and "cette epoque."

Evidently, these are exceptions.  Is there an explanation for this?  Are there other exceptions?

Thank you for your help.

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StevenC1Kwiziq community member

se marier - simple past or passé composé?

In the examples we have "Elle se maria cette année-là." and in the quiz "Je me suis marié ce jour-là". I think the first is the simple past, the second passé composé - but why choose one over the other? Or are they equivalent?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Steven,

'Elle se maria' is in the passé simple ( past historic).

'Je me suis marié' is in the passé composé .

They have the same value, but the passé  simple is essentially a written tense used for narrating actions in the past (mainly found in literature) and the passé composé is its spoken equivalent.

You will not hear the passé simple spoken in every day speech.

Hope this helps!

 

se marier - simple past or passé composé?

In the examples we have "Elle se maria cette année-là." and in the quiz "Je me suis marié ce jour-là". I think the first is the simple past, the second passé composé - but why choose one over the other? Or are they equivalent?

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JoakimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Articles

Why is it that "cette époque-là" needs to be prefixed with "à" while "cette semaine-là" can do without ?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Joakim ! I guess it's similar to the difference between saying "that week..." and "AT that time...". It's just something to remember, you cannot say "cette époque-là" or "à cette semaine-là" in French :) À bientôt !

Articles

Why is it that "cette époque-là" needs to be prefixed with "à" while "cette semaine-là" can do without ?

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