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Ce, cet, cette, ces [duration] -là / -ci = that/those or this/these [duration] (demonstrative adjectives)

Using the demonstrative adjectives ce/cet/cette/ces (see Ce/cet/cette and ces = this/that and these/those (demonstrative adjectives)) on their own is good enough in most cases to express this/that, but sometimes, especially with durations, you need to emphasise how far in the past something happened (that day), or how close to now things are happening (these days).

Look at such cases in French:

Elle se maria cette année-là.
She got married that year.


Note that in this expression you use année and NOT an

Ce soir-là, quelque chose d'extraordinaire se produisit.
That night, something extraordinary happened.

Oh non, j'étais en vacances cette semaine-là !
Oh no, I was on holidays that week!

Dans ces moments-là, on ne sait jamais quoi faire.
In those moments, one never knows what to do.

Je ne me sens pas super ces jours-ci.
I don't feel great these days.



To say that + duration, use the agreed demonstrative adjective ce, cet, cette or ces + duration(s) + -là

To say this + duration, use the agreed demonstrative adjective ce, cet, cette or ces + duration(s) + -ci

Note that ce ...-là (that/those ...) forms are much more commonly used than their counterparts ce...-ci (this/these ...). 

ATTENTION:
To express in those days in French, you won't colloquially use "ces jours-là", but rather à cette époque-là or en ce temps-là.
However, ces jours-ci is perfectly correct to say these days:

À cette époque-là, les femmes n'avaient pas le droit de vote.
In those days, women didn't have the right to vote.

 

 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Oh non, j'étais en vacances cette semaine-là !
Oh no, I was on holidays that week!


Ce soir-là, quelque chose d'extraordinaire se produisit.
That night, something extraordinary happened.


Elle se maria cette année-là.
She got married that year.


Dans ces moments-là, on ne sait jamais quoi faire.
In those moments, one never knows what to do.


Je ne me sens pas super ces jours-ci.
I don't feel great these days.


À cette époque-là, les femmes n'avaient pas le droit de vote.
In those days, women didn't have the right to vote.


Micro kwiz: Ce, cet, cette, ces [duration] -là / -ci = that/those or this/these [duration] (demonstrative adjectives)
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Q&A

Steven

Kwiziq community member

16 April 2018

1 reply

se marier - simple past or passé composé?

In the examples we have "Elle se maria cette année-là." and in the quiz "Je me suis marié ce jour-là". I think the first is the simple past, the second passé composé - but why choose one over the other? Or are they equivalent?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

16 April 2018

16/04/18

Hi Steven,


'Elle se maria' is in the passé simple ( past historic).


'Je me suis marié' is in the passé composé .


They have the same value, but the passé  simple is essentially a written tense used for narrating actions in the past (mainly found in literature) and the passé composé is its spoken equivalent.


You will not hear the passé simple spoken in every day speech.


Hope this helps!


 

Joakim

Kwiziq community member

12 November 2016

1 reply

Articles

Why is it that "cette époque-là" needs to be prefixed with "à" while "cette semaine-là" can do without ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 November 2016

16/11/16

Bonjour Joakim !

I guess it's similar to the difference between saying "that week..." and "AT that time...".
It's just something to remember, you cannot say "cette époque-là" or "à cette semaine-là" in French :)

À bientôt !

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