C’est versus Ce sont: This is versus These are

c'est versus ce sont

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In this French grammar lesson we will discuss c’est versus ce sont.

When do you use “this is” and when do you use “these are” in French?

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • how to form c’est and ce sont
  • when to use c’est: the singular form
  • when to use ce sont: the plural form
  • which exceptions exist
  • how c’est versus ce sont are used in sentences
  • how you can immediately test your knowledge on c’est versus ce sont
  • how c’est versus ce sont Anki files can be downloaded.

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about how c’est versus ce sont fits in French A1 grammar.

By the end of the lesson you will know all about how to use “this is” and “these are” in French!

Table of Contents

How to Form C’est and Ce Sont

C’est is a contraction of ce (this) and the verb être (to be).

As it is singular, you will use the il/elle/on form of être which is est.

Put everything together and you get c’est (this is)

Ce sont is a contraction of ce (this) and the verb être (to be).

As it is plural you will use the ils/elles form of être which is sont.

Put everything together and you get ce sont (these are).

When to Use C’est (the Singular Form)

When you want to refer to a singular person or thing, you will use c’est.

Please look at the following sentences to see how c’est is used in French.

C’est mon sac.

This is my bag.

C’est ma bière.

This is my beer.

C’est le drapeau du Japon.

This is the flag of Japan.

Est-ce votre montre ? Oui, c’est la mienne.

Is this your watch? Yes this is mine.

As you can see, everything we refer to is singular, so c’est is used.

When to Use Ce Sont (the Plural Form)

When you want to refer to a plural person or thing, you will use ce sont.

Please look at the following sentences to see how ce sont is used in French.

Ce sont mes sacs.

These are my bags.

Ce sont mes bières.

These are my beers.

Ce sont les drapeaux des pays européens.

These are the flags of the European countries.

Est-ce que ce sont vos montres ? Oui, ce sont les miennes.

Are these your watches? Yes these are mine.

As you can see, everything we refer to is plural, so ce sont is used.

The Exceptions

The previous chapters have shown you how c’est and ce sont are generally used in French.

However, there are also some exceptions.

In this chapter, two of those exceptions will be handled.

Luckily, you don’t see them that often, but it is important that you know them.

  1. You will use c’est, if it is followed by a sole adjective or adverb, even it’s refering to something plural.

I bet you are a bit confused after reading that.

Don’t worry. Read it again and then look at the following examples.

Et leurs fêtes ? – C’est bientôt !

What about their parties? – They’re soon!

C’est cher, les chevaux.

They’re expensive, horses.

After c’est there a sole adjective or adverb.

This means only one word.

This one word refers to something plural, so you may think that you should use ce sont.

But, because there’s only one word (the adjective/adverb) you will use c’est.

  1. If c’est is followed by an adverb and a noun, then it’s the noun that determines which form you should choose.

C’est bientôt mon diplôme !

It’s almost my graduation!

Ce sont bientôt les vacances !

It’s almost the holidays!

In the first sentence the graduation is singular, so you choose c’est.

In the second sentence the holidays are plural, so you choose ce sont.

Sentences Overview of C’est versus Ce Sont

The final section of this lesson on c’est versus ce sont is about seeing them in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding on c’est versus ce sont through examples.

This section contains all of the previous sentences, neatly organised in one place.

C’est mon sac.

This is my bag.

C’est ma bière.

This is my beer.

C’est le drapeau du Japon.

This is the flag of Japan.

Est-ce votre montre ? Oui, c’est la mienne.

Is this your watch? Yes this is mine.

Ce sont mes sacs.

These are my bags.

Ce sont mes bières.

These are my beers.

Ce sont les drapeaux des pays européens.

These are the flags of the European countries.

Est-ce que ce sont vos montres ? Oui, ce sont les miennes.

Are these your watches? Yes these are mine.

Et leurs fêtes ? – C’est bientôt !

What about their parties? – They’re soon!

C’est cher, les chevaux.

They’re expensive, horses.

C’est bientôt mon diplôme !

It’s almost my graduation!

Ce sont bientôt les vacances !

It’s almost the holidays!

Test Your Knowledge on C’est versus Ce Sont

It’s not enough just to read the article on this subject.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want. There’s no limit to it!

Question 1____ le drapeau du Japon. [This is the flag of Japan.]

 
Question 2____ mes sacs. [These are my bags.]
Question 3____ les drapeaux des pays européens. [These are the flags of the European countries.]
Question 4____ cher, les chevaux. [They’re expensive, horses.]
Question 5____ bientôt les vacances ! [It’s almost the holidays!]

Anki File for C’est verus Ce Sont

It is important to do the Anki excercises for this lesson, so that you can remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1 you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas.

At this moment the Anki File for this lesson doesn’t exist yet. However, in due time this will be available on Language Atlas.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or don’t know how to use Anki or merge Anki files please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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