ce/cet/cette/ces + [durée] + -ci/-la = this/that/these/those [duration]

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In this grammar lesson you will learn how to express duration in French.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • how to express duration in French
  • how the expression is used in French sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on how to express duration in French
  • how to download Anki files for how to express duration in French

Please refer to the French B2 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about how this fits in the overall structure of French B2.

By the end of the lesson, you will know all about how to express duration in French!

Table of Contents

Introduction

MasculineFeminineTranslation
Singularce/cetcettethis/that
Pluralcescesthese/those

In the lesson on ce, cet, cette, ces, you learnt how to say “this/that” and “these/those”.

In this lesson you will learn how to use ce, cet, cette, ces to express duration.

Express Duration

If you want to express that something happened relatively close to today, then you will use:

  • ce/cet/cette/ces + [durée] + -ci = this [duration]

Cette année-ci est bissextile.

This year is leap year.

Ces jours-ci, Anna boit trop.

These days Anna drinks too much.

Je suis très occupé ces jours-ci.

I am very busy these days.

If you want to express that something happened relatively far from today, then you will use:

  • ce/cet/cette/ces + [durée] + -la = this [duration]

On s’est rencontrés ce soir-là.

We met that night.

Ce soir-là, j’avais vraiment le blues.

That night, I was really sad.

Paul était à Boston cette année-là.

Paul was in Boston that year.

Cette année-là, Noël tombait le samedi.

That year, Christmas fell on Saturday.

Elle a monté sa propre entreprise cette année-là.

She set up his own company that year.

Please note that in this expression you will use année and not an.

Please also note that in French, ce/cet/cette/ces + [durée] + -la is used a lot more often than ce/cet/cette/ces + [durée] + -ci.

If you want to say “these days” then you will say:

  • ces jours-ci = these days

Ces jours-ci Carla boit trop.

These days Carla drinks too much.

BUT, if you want to say “those days” then you will say:

  • à cette époque-là = those days

J’étais étudiant à cette époque-là.

I was a student at that time.

Example Sentences on How to Express Duration in French

The final section of this lesson on how to express duration in French is about seeing the expression in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of how to express duration in French through examples.

Here you can find all of the sentences used in the previous chapter, neatly organised in one place.

Cette année-ci est bissextile.

This year is a leap year.

Ces jours-ci, Anna boit trop.

These days Anna drinks too much.

Je suis très occupé ces jours-ci.

I am very busy these days.

On s’est rencontrés ce soir-là.

We met that night.

Ce soir-là, j’avais vraiment le blues.

That night, I was really sad.

Paul était à Boston cette année-là.

Paul was in Boston that year.

Cette année-là, Noël tombait le samedi.

That year, Christmas fell on Saturday.

Elle a monté sa propre entreprise cette année-là.

She set up his own company that year.

Ces jours-ci Carla boit trop.

These days Carla drinks too much.

J’étais étudiant à cette époque-là.

I was a student at that time.

Quiz Yourself on How to Express Duration in French

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

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.

Anki File for How to Express Duration in French

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

By downloading the Anki File for French B2 you can practice every French B2 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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