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Ça = that, this, it (pronoun)

Look at these sentences using ça:

Oh! J'ai regardé ça aussi hier.Oh! I watched that too yesterday.

La grammaire française ? Je trouve ça trop difficile !French grammar? I find that too hard!

Ça me dérange quand on fume à côté de moi.It bothers me when people smoke next to me.

The pronoun ça is a contraction of cela, but it is used much more frequently, particularly in speech or informal writing.

Depending on the context, ça can mean it, this or that.

ATTENTION:
When referring to something in general, even if the thing is plural, ça is used and followed by the singular form:

Les lasagnes? J'adore ça!Lasagna? I love it!

Les probabilités, ça m'énerve !Probabilities get on my nerves!

See also the more advanced C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Oh! J'ai regardé ça aussi hier.Oh! I watched that too yesterday.
La grammaire française ? Je trouve ça trop difficile !French grammar? I find that too hard!
Les probabilités, ça m'énerve !Probabilities get on my nerves!
Ça me dérange quand on fume à côté de moi.It bothers me when people smoke next to me.
Les lasagnes? J'adore ça!Lasagna? I love it!

Q&A Forum 15 questions, 24 answers

ChapelA2Kwiziq community member

Ça vs C'est vs Il est

I have read the lessons on all these.   In a quiz, asking me to translate "It's getting on my nerves," I chose "Il est" because "it's" must be referring to something specific.  We don't know what, but no one says generally "It's getting on my nerves" without "it's" referring to something specific.  The correct answer is given as "Ça".  Even if "it's" was referring to something general, why would it be "Ça" instead of "C'est"?
Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Chapel,

You could say -

C’est énervant! = It’s annoying!

But 

Ça  m’énerve! =  It gets on my nerves !(It’s annoying!)

Or 

C’est ennuyeux = It’s boring

Mais 

Ça m’ennuie = It bores me ( it’s boring) 

Hope this helps!

ChristyA1Kwiziq community member

I do not understand why, and also see the disconnect between "Il est" not always being used in the specific situation. 

Ça vs C'est vs Il est

I have read the lessons on all these.   In a quiz, asking me to translate "It's getting on my nerves," I chose "Il est" because "it's" must be referring to something specific.  We don't know what, but no one says generally "It's getting on my nerves" without "it's" referring to something specific.  The correct answer is given as "Ça".  Even if "it's" was referring to something general, why would it be "Ça" instead of "C'est"?

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Hà ThuA2Kwiziq community member

when to use ca/il

there's a question to fill the blank: mais ... m'a vraiment surpris. the answer is "ca", why can't it be "il"?

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Il m'a surpris. -- He surprised me.
Ça m'a surpis. -- That surprised me.

when to use ca/il

there's a question to fill the blank: mais ... m'a vraiment surpris. the answer is "ca", why can't it be "il"?

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DA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ca - can't type an upper case Ç or ç (c-cedilla)

Kwiziq smartly points out that I "should" have used an upper case Ç (pasted in here) although there is no way to actually type that character in the exercise.  When I try holding the C key, it shows an upper case cedilla c, but does not allow me to enter it.  

Duh........

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Are you saying that holding down the key for "C" makes the uppercase cedilla (Ç) appear? If so, there should be a number (likely "1") over the letter. Press this and that should make the Ç appear.

By the way: a method that works pretty much all the time is this:

Ç = Hold ALT-key down and type 0199 on the numeric keypad, then release the ALT-key.

ç = ALT + 0231

Ca - can't type an upper case Ç or ç (c-cedilla)

Kwiziq smartly points out that I "should" have used an upper case Ç (pasted in here) although there is no way to actually type that character in the exercise.  When I try holding the C key, it shows an upper case cedilla c, but does not allow me to enter it.  

Duh........

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KarenC1Kwiziq community member

Translation of Oh! J'ai regardé ça aussi hier.

Two of the three options for this were "Oh! I watched this one yesterday too" and "Oh!  I watched it yesterday too."  I selected the first option, because "ça" is a demonstrative pronoun, not a personal pronoun.  But the microquiz said that "I watched IT" was the correct selection.  I was happier when I went to an explanation, because there, the translation was "I watched THAT."  Should "ça" ever be translated as "it"?  I'm sure this is nitpicky, but I'm a linguist fluent in Spanish, and the details matter to me! 

Thank you. 

Asked 3 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Ça is a demonstrative pronoun and, therefore, best translated as "that".

Translation of Oh! J'ai regardé ça aussi hier.

Two of the three options for this were "Oh! I watched this one yesterday too" and "Oh!  I watched it yesterday too."  I selected the first option, because "ça" is a demonstrative pronoun, not a personal pronoun.  But the microquiz said that "I watched IT" was the correct selection.  I was happier when I went to an explanation, because there, the translation was "I watched THAT."  Should "ça" ever be translated as "it"?  I'm sure this is nitpicky, but I'm a linguist fluent in Spanish, and the details matter to me! 

Thank you. 

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JohnB1Kwiziq community member

In the writing challenge "Reaing Lord of the Ring", and it was preventing him from sleeping was translated as et que ca l'empechait de dormir.Why que?

Asked 10 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi John,

it is simply 'that' which in French has to appear (unlike English) and links the two sentences together -

'...because it was three in the morning and ( that) it prevented him from sleeping!'

Hope this helps!

In the writing challenge "Reaing Lord of the Ring", and it was preventing him from sleeping was translated as et que ca l'empechait de dormir.Why que?

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FrenchA1Kwiziq community member

What is the difference between ce vs ça? Considering the fact, that they both mean that, this and it?

Asked 11 months ago
MlleC1Kwiziq community memberCorrect answer

"Ce" means "this/that" as in "this boy " or "this/that  month" . You would say "ce garçon" or "ce mois."  This is a demonstrative pronoun, pointing out which one you're talking about -- that one.

The "this" or "that" represented by "ça" is more of a standalone "this/that."

I know that : "Je sais ça."        I'm using that!   "J'utilise ça!"

What is the difference between ce vs ça? Considering the fact, that they both mean that, this and it?

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JoanneB2Kwiziq community member

J'adore ça vs. J'ladore. I still don't understand the difference.

Are there any more examples you could give us? I used the direct object le with the apostrophe and it was marked wrong. How can we tell what word should be accented? Is ça always correct as opposed to le, la? In other words, are there certain times when the direct object must be before the verb or certain times when it has to be after the verb? Thank you.

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Without the context it is difficult to say for certain but normally 'le' and the verb 'adorer' will be used for a person rather than a thing...

You will use 'ça' with foodstuff -

Vous aimez les épinards? oui, j'adore ça

Vous aimez Georges Clooney? oui, je l'adore 

Hope this helps! 

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Joanne,

Your apostrophe is in the wrong place, could that be your error?

It should be  -

Je l'adore 

JoanneB2Kwiziq community member

Hello, yes I realize that my apostrophe is in the wrong place here, but it wasn't in the wrong place when I answered the question. Can you please explain the difference between ça  and le. Why would "Je l'adore" be marked wrong?

J'adore ça vs. J'ladore. I still don't understand the difference.

Are there any more examples you could give us? I used the direct object le with the apostrophe and it was marked wrong. How can we tell what word should be accented? Is ça always correct as opposed to le, la? In other words, are there certain times when the direct object must be before the verb or certain times when it has to be after the verb? Thank you.

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TheA0Kwiziq community member

Can someone please explain me the difference between ça and çe?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi The,

If you look at the following lesson, it will explain when to use the demonstrative adjective 'ce' (note no cedilla).

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/use-ce-cet-cette-ces-duration-la-ci-to-express-that-those-or-this-these-duration-demonstrative-adjectives

Ça is the contraction of 'cela' and it is explained in the lesson you bookmarked.

Hope this helps!

ChristyA1Kwiziq community member

That is a B2 lesson, so understandable, I think, that we A1 learners are struggling a bit. 

Can someone please explain me the difference between ça and çe?

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RoyA1Kwiziq community member

In the sentence".....quand on fume....". "On" is translated as "people", I thought that "on" was singular.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Roy,

If you take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson, you will see the different uses of 'on' and their equivalence in English , one of which being 'people'-

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/on-can-mean-we-one-and-people

Hope this helps!

In the sentence".....quand on fume....". "On" is translated as "people", I thought that "on" was singular.

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MalikA0Kwiziq community member

Can anyone explain the note with an example?

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Malik !

Thanks to your feedback, I've now updated the lesson to make the note clearer :)

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Can you post a sentence as an example?

Can anyone explain the note with an example?

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NoraA2Kwiziq community member

ça vs celui/celle-là

In this lesson why was ça preferred over celui-là? Thanks - Nora
Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Nora,

Celui/Celle-là mean 'that one ' ,  when you are comparing two things and highlight one of them.

Ça is the contraction of Cela meaning simply (this or) that.

Just different pronouns for different situations...

Hope that helps!  ( J'espère que ça vous aidera!)

RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir Nora, Since I do not have the precise question referred to, this may be a bit of a guess. The definitive pronoun «ça» translates as «that, it» ; however, «celui-là» translates to «that one». Depending on the phrase in question it would be two different senses to the phrase.
JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Hi Nora, It will be a matter of context. Ça (informal) / Cela (formal) -- impersonal pronoun Celui / celle-là -- demonstrative pronoun The choice depends upon the context and to what is being referred in the sentence. Regards, Alan ( Non-native speaker)

ça vs celui/celle-là

In this lesson why was ça preferred over celui-là? Thanks - Nora

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NimA1Kwiziq community member

j'aime ça vs je l'aime

a quick question... what's the difference between j'aime ça and je l'aime
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Nim, J'aime ça usually translates as I love that with ça being the contracted version of cela; however, je l'aime translates as I love it, I love him or I love her. Sometimes it is easier to understand the difference between two phrases simply by study how each translates. J'espère que cela vous aidera.
GeoffB2Kwiziq community member

But from the examples:

Les lasagnes? J'adore ça!

Lasagna? I love it!

j'aime ça vs je l'aime

a quick question... what's the difference between j'aime ça and je l'aime

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MeghnaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ça and ça

Qu'elle est la différence entre ça et ca ?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Moushumi, Ça is a pronoun, "ca" does not exist in French. That said, sometimes capital letters don't include accents, so you might see "Ça veut dire" or "Ca veut dire." They mean exactly the same thing.

Ça and ça

Qu'elle est la différence entre ça et ca ?

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JoakimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ça or il

"Oh! J'ai regardé ça aussi hier." How can we know it is not "Oh! Je le ai regardé aussi hier." (with contractions)? Last time I asked this you pointed me to the c'est vs il est lesson but "ce" is not "ça" so I don't see how that helps.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Joakim ! Here is the nuance between "J'ai aussi regardé ça hier." and "Je l'ai aussi regardé hier.": - In the first sentence, "ça" brings emphasis to the thing you watched, therefore translating as "I watched THIS too yesterday."; - the second sentence is more neutral, and will be translated as "I watched IT too yesterday." . I hope that helps! À bientôt !

Ça or il

"Oh! J'ai regardé ça aussi hier." How can we know it is not "Oh! Je le ai regardé aussi hier." (with contractions)? Last time I asked this you pointed me to the c'est vs il est lesson but "ce" is not "ça" so I don't see how that helps.

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JoakimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ça vs il

What's the rule here, i.e. how can we now it is not "il me dérange quand on fume..."
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Joakim !

To know when to use ça versus il/elle, please have a look at the following lesson:
https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is

Thanks to your question, we've also added this link to the current lesson.
Merci et à bientôt !

JoakimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks for the lesson link, Aurélie, but that lesson seems to be about "c'est" vs "il est". "ça" is a third alternative, right?

Ça vs il

What's the rule here, i.e. how can we now it is not "il me dérange quand on fume..."

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