C'est, ce sont = this is, these are (demonstrative pronouns)

Remember that in sentences it is/they are ... + article/determinant (un, une, le, la, les, des...) + noun/pronoun, you will use c'est or ce sont instead of il/elle est or ils/elles sont.
See C'est vs il/elle est: Saying it is

Now look at these examples:

Est-ce ta trousse? - Oui, c'est la mienne.
Is this your pencil case? - Yes, this is mine.

À qui sont ces livres? Ce sont mes livres.
Whose books are these? These are my books

C'est ma maison.
This is my house.

Ce sont mes maisons.
These are my houses.

 

Note that ce is used with the verb être as follows: in its singular form, c'est, means it is /this is /that is, and in its plural form, ce sont, means they are /these are /those are.  

Both forms are used to refer to a thing or a person (i.e. a girl, a table, a house, ...), and they agree in number (singular or plural) with the thing they refer to. 

BUT

When c'est is followed by an adjective or an adverb on its own, you NEVER use ce sont, even if the thing referred to is plural:

C'est pratique, les ciseaux.
They're practical, scissors.

Et leurs anniversaires ? - C'est bientôt !
What about their birthdays? - They're soon!


Note that if c'est is followed by an adverb AND a noun, then the noun is the one that matters!

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's almost the holidays!

 

ATTENTION:

It is worth noticing that the first rule is not always followed rigorously by French speakers. You could indeed hear them using c'est when they should use ce sont:

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's almost the holidays!

C'est bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

However, they will never use ce sont for c'est !

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's almost the holidays!


C'est pratique, les ciseaux.
They're practical, scissors.


C'est ma maison.
This is my house.


Ce sont mes maisons.
These are my houses.


Ce sont les amis de mon frère.
These are my brother's friends.


À qui sont ces livres? Ce sont mes livres.
Whose books are these? These are my books


Est-ce ta trousse? - Oui, c'est la mienne.
Is this your pencil case? - Yes, this is mine.


C'est bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!


Et leurs anniversaires ? - C'est bientôt !
What about their birthdays? - They're soon!


Q&A

Carlos

Kwiziq community member

9 June 2019

3 replies

In the sentence "Ce sont mes livres" why do you write "Ce" this/that instead of "Ces" these?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

10 June 2019

10/06/19

Ce sont mes livres -- This are my books. Here the demonstrative pronoun ce is not like an adjective to "books". It is a demonstrative pronoun all by itself and hence is not matched in gender and number to "books".

Ces livres sont à moi. -- These books belong to me. In this case ces refers directly to the books and behaves like an adjective. Therefore it needs to be matched to "books".

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

11 June 2019

11/06/19

Hi Carlos,

C'est is for a singular , Ce sont for a plural .


because of the clash of the two vowels.

C'est mon fils , c'est ma fille He is / this is my son, she is/ this is my daughter 

Ce sont mes enfants These are my children / They are my children

Hope this helps!

Carlos

Kwiziq community member

11 June 2019

11/06/19

Thank you

Chase

Kwiziq community member

6 June 2019

2 replies

Ce sont nos livres vs Ces livres _ nous

Hi,

I have looked all over the site, but cannot seem to find where to learn the correct answer for "Ces livres _ nous/These books are ours" - it's very frustrating.

For me, I'd write "Ce sont nos livres" or "Ces livres sont les notres".

Could someone clarify the instance where I'd use "nous" at the end? Or at least direct me to the lessons explaining these instances? 

I've been stuck on Gold A1 for 3 days (99.97%) and it's extremely frustrating to continuously have these setbacks. All I want is my diamond badge so I can move on to A2.

Many thanks

Alan

Kwiziq community member

6 June 2019

6/06/19

Expressing possession with être à

Normally when you get a question wrong, you get a link to the appropriate lesson. Did that not happen here?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 June 2019

8/06/19

Hi Chase, 

You could also say -

Ces livres sont à nous.

Hope this helps!

French

Kwiziq community member

18 April 2019

3 replies

Why does mienne have an article before it? Isn't mine a possessive pronoun?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

18 April 2019

18/04/19

Bonjour -

Yes, "mine" is a possessive pronoun, and la mienne is its feminine singular equivalent. French possessive pronouns always begin with an article - see Le mien, le tien, le sien, etc = Mine, yours, his/hers/its (possessive pronouns)

French

Kwiziq community member

18 April 2019

18/04/19

I understand, so because it is followed by an article "la mienne" c'est is used.

French

Kwiziq community member

18 April 2019

18/04/19

Can I say "Cette robe que je porte au travail" instead of,

 "C'est la robe que je porte au travail"

Heba

Kwiziq community member

23 September 2018

1 reply

Confused

Bonjour,

In the examples on the right you say in number 4 on the second row:

C'est bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

But in explaining the lesson you say:

Ce sont bientôt les vacances!
It's the holidays soon!

Which is correct?!

Thank you.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 September 2018

24/09/18

Hi Heba,

Both are acceptable, although the plural version "ce sont" is more formal and considered a bit more "proper".

Here is a page that explains it well: http://www.oniris.be/forum/c-est-les-vacances-ou-ce-sont-les-vacances-t6977s0.html

MARIA

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

2 replies

In the sentence " J' utilise ces tomates. Ce cont les dernières". Why can't we say "elles sont les dernières" since we talk about specific tomatoes?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 June 2018

27/06/18

Hi Maria,

You could say:

"J'utilise ces tomates, elles sont très mûres, ce sont les dernières de la saison."

(I am using these tomatoes, they are very ripe , the last ones of the season.)

You cannot say, elles sont les dernières de la saison.

Hope this helps!

ch

Kwiziq community member

28 September 2018

28/09/18

Hi, Maria. It's because of "LES dernières." C'est/ce sont is needed when there's a noun following. I think that note about specific/general inadverantly called so much attention to itself that it took away from the greater point.

MARIA

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2018

1 reply

Bonsoir!

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

26 June 2018

26/06/18

Bonjour Maria, vous avez une question?

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

18 April 2018

1 reply

Can you use Ceux sont to mean Ce Sont?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

18 April 2018

18/04/18

Bonjour CrystalMaiden!

The answer is no, you would never say "ceux sont" in French :)

Bonne journée !

Rene

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

1 reply

Confused.

In previous lesson: use c'est for general things (la soupe, c'est délicieux=(drinking)soup is delicious), il, elle for specific things: la soupe, elle est délicieuse=the (specific) soup is delicious. I just don't know how to fit c'est pratique, les ciseaux, c'est ma maison, and c'est bientôt les vacances info the "general format". Can you help?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

21 October 2017

21/10/17

Bonsoir à nouveau, I am uncertain about your continued confusion with the c'est and ce sont demonstrative pronouns. Here is something from the lesson that may help: «Note that ce is used with the verb être as follows: in its singular form, c'est, means it is /this is /that is, and in its plural form, ce sont, means they are /these are /those are. » Here is a link to another site that could possibly help clear up the confusion: https://www.tolearnfrench.com/exercises/exercise-french-2/exercise-french-3555.php Bonne chance.

Cheryl

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

3 replies

Are you saying you use ce sont before a pronoun also?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

17/10/17

Bonjour Cheryl, I am quite uncertain of the meaning of your question. C'est and ce sont are both demonstrative pronouns. Would you be so kind as to clarify the meaning of «before a pronoun»? Merci,

Cheryl

Kwiziq community member

18 October 2017

18/10/17

It's ok I've worked it out myself - I think!. It's only C'est when it's a adjective or adverb. Pronouns like miennes would still be Ce sont???

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 October 2017

19/10/17

It would, e.g., be "Les valises, ce sont les miennes." I hope that was your question.

-- Chris. (not a native speaker)

Ajit

Kwiziq community member

20 July 2017

1 reply

It is bit confusing.

" Qui est cet homme? Does that not refer to a specific person? The why not "ill est? "

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

20 July 2017

20/07/17

Hi Ajit - I think you're referring to a different lesson (when to c'est versus il/elle est?). If so, that's explained here:
/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is

When referring to a specific person, you always used "C'est...".

Hope that helps.
I'll be right with you...