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I have a doubt related to the following sentence:

Il doit faire attention à ne pas tomber. Celui-ci est son plus gros danger.

Is that correct or should I rather say ?

Il doit faire attention à ne pas tomber. Ceci est son plus gros danger.

I don't see the difference between the two pronouns in the specific case of such a sentence (even the answer to a similar question has not really helped me).

Many thanks for any hint on what option is correct and why.

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La formulation la plus naturelle à l'oreille serait probablement :

Il doit faire attention à ne pas tomber. C'est le principal danger. ( ou bien : le danger principal. Les deux se disent.)

  • pourquoi C'est ?

L'élément de la phrase précédente que l'on veut remplacer est une action et pas un objet, on ne pourrait absolument pas avoir Celui-ci. En revanche, on pourrait employer Ceci, mais c'est un style un peu plus ancien ou plus formel.

Pour plus de détails, je renvoie moi aussi à la réponse de Laure à cette question, mais qui m'a semblé excellente. Est-ce la formulation de la réponse en français qui t'a gêné ?

(La suite est anecdotique et ne concerne pas directement la question principale.)

  • on parle plus facilement d'un grand danger que d'un gros. Mais ici principal m'a semblé meilleur, c'est un choix subjectif.

  • utiliser un possessif (son) avec danger est étrange. Ce danger le menace, le concerne, le guette, oui. Mais on ne peut pas lui "attribuer", ce n'est pas "son" danger, si l'on veut se l'expliquer. La relation entre le danger et le protagoniste de la phrase est rendu suffisamment évident par le contexte.


English version :

The best-sounding translation would probably be :

Il doit faire attention à ne pas tomber. C'est le principal danger. ( or else : le danger principal. Both variants can be fitting.)

  • why C'est?

The previous element to be replaced by a pronoun is an action, not an object, so Celui-ci is out. Ceci, however, could be used here, but it denotes a more formal tone.

I, for one, find very good Laure's answer to the question you quoted. Was it because of the use of french in the answer?

(The following points are out of the main question's scope. Just a few remarks, possibly useful?)

  • a "gros danger" is barely used in written context, it's slightly familiar. A "grand danger" might be prefered. Here I found principal danger to be the more natural-sounding but it is indeed a subjective matter.

  • it's quite odd to use a possessive with danger, which is not really related to the protagonist, i.e. he doesn't "own" it nor is it a property of his. The link between the two is made clear by the context without any possessive.

  • thank you so much: It's much clearer now; I think Laure's answer was also good, but missed (at least to me) the contrast between celui-ci and ceci (probably because that was not the point of the question). – mannaia Dec 10 '14 at 21:44

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