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For example:

Cette année-là

Ce type-là

What does -là at the end of the words mean?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The suffixes ci (see point III) and (II) are used to reenforce the demonstrative adjective (ce, cette).

Their meaning is similar to the one of this (-ci) and that (-là) in English. Note that it's optional, so that ce chat is perfectly valid. Usually it implies this cat rather than that cat, which is why you'll less often see the -ci ending than the -là one, unless there's a need to differentiate.

If there is no noun following this or that, you'll just translate with ceci or cela (often shortened to ça). This one or that one translate to celui-ci or celui-là.

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1  
In the case of cette année I wouldn't say it's optional, because without it, you would be referring to the current year rather than to some year past. –  Phong Aug 29 '12 at 20:10
1  
"Usually it implies this cat rather than that cat, which is why you'll less often see the -ci ending than the -là one," But if it implies "this cat" should i more often see the -ci ending?? You mentioned this (-ci) ... –  DrStrangeLove Aug 29 '12 at 22:18
    
@Phong well if you say cette année-ci without any other form of context, it would also mean the current year, not any one in the past. But I agree that sometimes the meaning differs with or without suffix. Note that by "optional", I meant "grammatically" optional :-) –  Joubarc Aug 30 '12 at 6:58
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@DrStrangeLove maybe I wasn't too clear on that point. Bascially people will say ce chat-là for that cat, but for this cat they'll more often say ce chat. So you see more often -là than -ci because -ci is often omitted. And I'm not sure I'm more clear, but there you go. –  Joubarc Aug 30 '12 at 7:01

That one.

  • Cette année-là je vivais à Paris. → That year I was living in Paris.

  • Ce type-là est asocial. → That guy is unsociable.

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-là et pas un(e) autre,

  • ni l'année en cours
  • ni un autre type présent,

pour compléter les exemples donnés.

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