French Concepts Explained /

Demonstrative adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives (this, these, that and those) are used to point or refer to things in a more emphatic way. You can use the usual article:
La chemise est belle.
The chemise is lovely.
Or, as the word demonstrative adjectives implies, you can "demonstrate", in the sense of showing something, which object you are referring to.
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. In this context the "far in time or distance" category doesn't matter in French. Being in a clothing store you could hear:
Cette chemise est belle,
This shirt is lovely,
mais ce manteau est trop cher pour moi.
but 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.
le manteau
ce manteau
l'homme, l'endroit
cet homme, cet endroit
la veste
cette veste
les manteaux/vestes
ces manteaux/vestes
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.
Certainly you have seen already the little words:
là ⇒ there ici ⇒ here Postposition:
Ce chapeau ici?Ce chapeau-ci?