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Demonstrative pronouns refer to a previously-mentioned noun in a sentence.

There are two kinds of demonstrative pronouns: variable demonstrative pronouns (celui, celle, ceux, celles) which agree with their antecedent, and invariable demonstrative pronouns, which you'll learn about in this lesson. Invariable demonstrative pronouns, also called indefinite demonstrative pronouns or neuter demonstrative pronouns, do not have a specific antecedent and thus do not have different forms for gender and number. Indefinite demonstrative pronouns can refer to something abstract, like an idea or a situation, or to something indicated but unnamed. There are four indefinite demonstrative pronouns: 1. Ce is the impersonal, simple indefinite demonstrative pronoun. It can mean "this" or "it," and is used mainly with the verb tre, either in the basic expression c'est or in various impersonal expressions. C'est une bonne ide ! That's a good idea! C'est difficile faire. It's hard to do. C'est triste de perdre un ami. It's sad to lose a friend. tudier, c'est important. Studying is important. Ce may also be followed by devoir or pouvoir + tre. Ce doit tre un bon restaurant. This must be a good restaurant. Ce peut tre difficile. This might be difficult. In a less common and more formal usage (especially in written French), ce can be used without a verb: J'ai travaill en Espagne, et ce en tant que bnvole. I worked in Spain (and this) as a volunteer. Elle l'a tu, et pour ce elle est condamne.

She killed him, and therefore/for this she is condemned.

Note that ce is also a demonstrative adjective.

2-3. Ceci and cela are used as the subject of all other verbs: Ceci va tre facile. This is going to be easy. Cela me fait plaisir. That makes me happy. Ceci and cela are used with pouvoir or devoir when those verbs are not followed by tre. Ceci peut nous aider. This could help us. Cela doit aller dans la cuisine. That has to go in the kitchen. Ceci and cela can also be direct and indirect objects: Donnez-lui cela de ma part. Give him this from me. Qui a fait cela ? Who did this? Notes: Ceci is the contraction of ce + ici (this + here), while cela is the contraction of ce + l (this + there). Ceci is rare in spoken French. Just as l commonly replaces ici in spoken French (Je suis l - I'm here), French speakers tend to use cela to mean either "this" or "that." Ceci only really comes into play when one wants to really distinguish between this and that: Je ne veux pas ceci, je veux cela. I don't want this, I want that.

4. a is the informal replacement for both cela and ceci. Donne-lui a de ma part. Give him this from me. Qui a fait a ? Who did this? a me fait plaisir. That makes me happy. Qu'est-ce que c'est que a ? What is that? Je ne veux pas ceci (or a), je veux a. I don't want this, I want that.