I know it is wrong to translate from word to word, but can someone shed more light on this, please.


1 Answer 1


The words -ci and -là are particles you use with ce/cette/ces. Generally, cette chose-ci would be translated as this thing and cette chose-là would be translated as that thing, so ce look-là would be that look.

If somebody says cette chose without a particle (which they actually do most of the time), there are two possibilities:

  1. it's completely clear whether they mean this or that from context, so they don't bother adding the particle,
  2. it doesn't make any difference whether you use this or that, so there's no need for the particle.

There are occasionally cases where French speakers say cette chose-là when native English speakers would use this thing. I've encountered these cases reading French, and they've puzzled me somewhat, but I'm not a fluent French speaker, so I can't say exactly when this happens.

  • 1
    Unlike the this/that clearly distinct meanings, the form -là tends to be used for both in French, possibly because -ci is perceived to be more formal. You hear more and more Tu veux çui-là ou çui-là ? instead of Tu veux celui-ci ou celui-là ?
    – jlliagre
    Aug 7, 2022 at 23:02

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