Ceci, cela = this, that (demonstrative pronouns)

Look at these uses of ceci and cela in context:


L'environnement est une cause importante. Je comprends cela.
The environment is an important cause. I understand that.

Ceci est essentiel donc soyez attentifs à la leçon.
This is essential so pay attention to the lesson.

Cela dit, il est quand même un très bon ami.
That said, he's still a very good friend.


Ceci and cela (this and that) refer to an indefinite expression or an idea.


Like in English, 'ceci' (this) is used when introducing the notion, whereas 'cela' (that) is refering to an idea already mentioned.

Faire mes devoirs ou dormir, je préfère ceci plutôt que cela.
Doing my homework or sleeping, I prefer this rather than that.

Note: when they are both used, ceci usually refers to the 'former' and cela the 'latter' idea.
 

In a more common, less formal speech, you can also replace ceci and cela indiscriminately with ça .

ATTENTION: fixed expressions such as ''that said'' (cela dit) can never become ça dit.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources


Cela dit, il est quand même un très bon ami.
That said, he's still a very good friend.


Faire mes devoirs ou dormir, je préfère ceci plutôt que cela.
Doing my homework or sleeping, I prefer this rather than that.


Ceci est essentiel donc soyez attentifs à la leçon.
This is essential so pay attention to the lesson.


L'environnement est une cause importante. Je comprends cela.
The environment is an important cause. I understand that.


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 9 answers

ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Query regarding ceci/cela/ça

Bonjour Madame Cécile !

In a quiz, I was given the following sentences->

1. Ils sont riches. J'ai lu ________ quelque part. 

(They're wealthy. I read that somewhere.)

Now, the correct answer was cela/ça. Though I got it right but I would like to ask why “ceci” is inappropriate.

2. Elle pourra partir plus tôt : je lui ai promis ________. (She will be able to leave earlier: I promised her that.)

Here, too I would question whether “ceci” is acceptable or not.

3. ________  sera prévu. (It will be taken care of. )

The accurate answer is “Ce” but why can’t one use “Ça/Ceci/Cela” .

Merci beaucoup pour votre aide.

Je vous souhaite une bonne journée.

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Shrey,

This (ceci) and that (cela/ça) have an element of distance just as 'here' (ici) and 'there' ()  but in temporal terms, so in No1 & No 2 of your examples I would have used, 

ça

If No 3  was in a different tense it would be -

C'est prévu ----> C'était prévu -----> Ce sera prévu ( using 'ce')

but you would use ça for the following -

'Ça/Cela a été prévu' for the sake of euphony.

But interesting question, nevertheless!

 

 

ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Madame Cécile !

Je voudrais vous remercier pour votre réponse.

I would just like to know what exactly do you mean by “temporal terms” which brings a distinction between ‘ceci’ and ‘cela’. 

I request you to explain this with two or three examples which would surely enhance my learning.

ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Madame Cécile ! 

Sorry for posting another follow-up to my query but I only desire perfection which I have been acquiring since a long time from teachers at Kwiziq and hence asking a related question.

These two sentences are from the lesson-

1.L'environnement est une cause importante. Je comprends cela.

This sentence highlights the fact that the environment is an important cause. The speaker then confirms by mentioning that he is understanding the above said line. This depicts a  sense of ‘distance’ between the thoughts of the speaker.

2.Ceci est essentiel donc soyez attentifs à la leçon.

This sentence highlights that the concept that the professor is teaching at the very moment is crucial and hence one must draw attention towards the lesson.

Madame, is my understanding correct as per what you were trying to explain ?

Merci beaucoup et À bientôt !

CécileKwiziq team member

Sorry, Shrey, I meant to come back to you earlier ...

To answer your first query, what I meant is that just as in English if you have 'this' and 'that' , 'ceci' will always be the first example and 'cela' the second and in relative distance in space or time, 'ceci' will be nearer than 'cela'.

Having said that ( or should it be this!), when they are used on their own the distinction is much more vague just as in English and there will be some exceptions to this rule.

The interpretation of your examples sound correct to me...

Bonne continuation!

Query regarding ceci/cela/ça

Bonjour Madame Cécile !

In a quiz, I was given the following sentences->

1. Ils sont riches. J'ai lu ________ quelque part. 

(They're wealthy. I read that somewhere.)

Now, the correct answer was cela/ça. Though I got it right but I would like to ask why “ceci” is inappropriate.

2. Elle pourra partir plus tôt : je lui ai promis ________. (She will be able to leave earlier: I promised her that.)

Here, too I would question whether “ceci” is acceptable or not.

3. ________  sera prévu. (It will be taken care of. )

The accurate answer is “Ce” but why can’t one use “Ça/Ceci/Cela” .

Merci beaucoup pour votre aide.

Je vous souhaite une bonne journée.

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SallyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I thought that "Faire mes devoirs ou dormir, je préfère ceci plutôt que cela." meant "I prefer the latter (dormir) rather than the former (devoirs)"

But the Note says that ceci means former and cela means latter.  Which is correct?

Asked 5 months ago
ClaireA1Kwiziq community member

Yeah, I could have sworn that ceci was the latter and cela was the former. 

SallyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

If we are correct, then the Lesson is incorrect and should be changed.  If we are incorrect, then some textbooks need to be changed!

Sally asked:View original

I thought that "Faire mes devoirs ou dormir, je préfère ceci plutôt que cela." meant "I prefer the latter (dormir) rather than the former (devoirs)"

But the Note says that ceci means former and cela means latter.  Which is correct?

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LukasC1Kwiziq community member

Cela étant dit = That being said?

One of the test questions was to translate "That being said" to French. Is "Cela étant dit" a correct translation? It was not accepted as such, but some web searching shows that at least other people think that one is correct in addition the official answer "cela dit".
Asked 2 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
"Cela étant dit" is certainly grammatically correct. I suspect, however, that it sounds very stilted and unnatural to French ears. I have encountered "cela dit" but have never heard someone use "cela étant dit".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Lukas, Je suis d'accord avec Chris. J'ai utilisé «cela dit» et je l'ai aussi entendu usé.
LukasC1Kwiziq community member
Thanks to you both! I became a little bit wiser :)

Cela étant dit = That being said?

One of the test questions was to translate "That being said" to French. Is "Cela étant dit" a correct translation? It was not accepted as such, but some web searching shows that at least other people think that one is correct in addition the official answer "cela dit".

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