ceci / cela / ça / ce

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by oldirtybrza, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. oldirtybrza Member

    Montreal, QC.
    Canada (English)
    My example is "I found this" (as in, someone dropped something and I found it).

    The translation I found is "J'ai trouve ceci" (With the right accent, I can't do it for some reason at the moment). But I was wondering how I might know the difference between ceci and cela? Because I've seen "cela" used as "this".


    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one. See also celui-ci / celui-là / ceci / cela.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2013
  2. Iznogoud

    Iznogoud Senior Member

    French - Canada
    How do you know the difference between this and that or these and those? It's just as clear in French, which explains the inconsistent translations you might have encountered...
  3. oldirtybrza Member

    Montreal, QC.
    Canada (English)
    I see what you mean, and maybe there WAS a specific difference between "these" and "those", but I can still think of situations where I'd naturally choose "these" over "those". I guess the line between the two has been blurred over time.

    But I suppose there really is no difference these days? Thanks.
  4. Iznogoud

    Iznogoud Senior Member

    French - Canada
    That's pretty much my point. Sometimes, the distinction is obvious, so there is still a difference. Other times, either will do in either language, which accounts for some inconsistent translations.
  5. Docbike Senior Member

    english, UK
    Can anyone please clarify for me when to use ce, ca, ceci and cela prior to a verb, to mean this (it) or that (it)? Sorry if it's obvious to you all. :confused:
  6. agrouba

    agrouba Banned

    Arabic ;)

    Both mean This according to the dictionary....so

    Does it mean:

    this one or that one?

    Thanks for your help ;)
  7. BERENICE S Senior Member


    To make it short, and as easy as possible :
    "This" (ceci) is closer to the speaker than "that" (cela) :

    "Hier qu'il faisait beau. Cela est vrai"
    "Il pleut ce matin. Ceci n'est pas vrai"

  8. gws75 Senior Member

    American English
    Ceci and cela or pretty formal, rarely used in everyday speech. Ce and ca can be written or oral.
  9. nanne1989 Member

    english - ireland
    im finding it difficult to know which one to choose when translating the following sentence....

    It cannot be denied that the world has evolved significantly throughout the centuries to a planet whereby almost everything is being controlled by machines and new technologies. THIS, of course is a wonderful achievement...

    How would i translate the word THIS????

    Merci :)
  10. snarkhunter

    snarkhunter Senior Member

    France, Région parisienne
    French - France
    Just think of "ceci" and "cela" as direct equivalents of "this" and "that".

    So... "ceci".
  11. asperge-platane Senior Member

    français France
    la règle est que "ceci annonce ce qui suit et cela reprend ce qui précède"
    this se traduit donc en fonction du contexte, si cela fait référence à la phrase précédente, ou non
  12. bobepine

    bobepine Senior Member

    Canada, English & French
    Few would pick up on the error if you used "ceci", but the rule would have you use strictly "cela" in your example.
  13. BigCuzz Member

    English - UK
    Yes, but when to use "ce" and when to use "cela/ça"? with "être"? I know, only "cela/ça" with the other verbs, and with "être" it's usually lost in the "c apostrophe", but is there an easy answer? is it just like the difference between "it" and "that" ... ?
  14. bobface Member

    England, English
    Hi folks,

    Although actual usage is pretty blurred nowadays, there is a rule in both English and French for these words.

    This and ceci both refer to objects relatively close to the speaker, whilst that and celà make reference to something relatively further away. This can be either in distance or in time.

    As you've said, a lot of people don't even know this or pay attention to it, particularly in French, but if you want to be correct that is the rule!
  15. Lacuzon

    Lacuzon Senior Member

    French - France

    Usually, cela and voilà are used when speaking about something already told and ceci and voici when speaking about something you are about to talk :

    Some examples :

    Cela étant dit, nous pouvons parler à autre chose.
    Il a présenté ses excuses, voilà qui était nécessaire.
    Il ne pouvait pas passer par là, cela était une évidence

    Voici ce que j'en pense : It is...
    Ceci vous donnera un exemple : quand on veut...

    Moreover like with that/this, you can use ceci and cela to compare two things.
  16. Mnemosyne Senior Member

    New York, New York
    American English
    Bonjour à tous!!!!

    Encore au marché:

    Une femme demande des courgettes. Le vendeur lui dit: Oui, un kilo de courgettes. Avec ceci?

    Elle demande deux barquettes de fraises. Le vendeur dit: Voilà. Avec cela?

    Elle demande des aubergines. Et il répond, en lui donnant les aubergines: Un kilo d'aubergines. Avec ça?

    Alors, pourquoi est-ce qu'il change de ceci à cela à ça? Je comprends qu'on utilise ceci quand on parle de quelque chose de suivant, et cela quand on parle de quelque chose qui précède, mais le vendeur ne suit pas cette règle. Est-ce qu'il parle dans le langage de tous les jours? On peut mélanger ceci et cela comme ça, au hasard?
  17. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Il change en fait de mot pour ne pas répéter exactement la même chose. Il faut savoir que le français est beaucoup moins strict que l'anglais pour ceci/cela et utilise souvent l'un pour l'autre.
  18. Mnemosyne Senior Member

    New York, New York
    American English
    Ah, Maître Capello, aussi simple que ça? :) Un peu de chance pour nous non-francophones.

    Et à la langue écrite ou au langage formel, ça va aussi?
  19. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Dans la langue soutenue (écrite ou orale), on veillera toutefois à choisir le terme approprié: ceci pour ce qui est proche (physiquement ou dans l'esprit du locuteur) ou qui va suivre (dans le texte ou en paroles); cela pour ce qui est loin (physiquement ou dans l'esprit du locuteur) ou qui précède (dans le texte ou en paroles).

    Voir également les nombreux autres fils à ce sujet.
  20. Guill Senior Member

    Français - France
    À noter aussi que "ça" n'est pas à écrire dans un contexte formel.
  21. corle014 New Member

    United States
    American English

    I just learned about this in class today!

    Yes, "ceci" and "cela" are used formally and for writing. "Ce" and "ça" are used more often during oral conversation and in more casual contexts. When it comes to the verbe "être" one uses "ce" so "Ce est" becomes "c'est."
  22. corle014 New Member

    United States
    American English

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