6

If I'm not wrong, 'ceci' is used for singular substantives naming things, but what pronoun would you use in plural?
... ne sont pas des pipes?

What if we are talking about persons, singular/plural and masculine/feminine? How would you complete these sentences?
... n'est pas un professeur?
... n'est pas une professeure?
... ne sont pas des professeurs?
... ne sont pas des professeures?

Any other variation would apply to the pronoun? Please correct any mistake you find in the sentences.

I also found in Google the expression 'ce ne sont pas des'. What would be valid sentences for the beginning 'ce ne sont pas des'? For example, would it be correct to write 'ce ne sont pas des professeures'?

2 Answers 2

13

Ceci is invariable and singular.

Unlike ce, it doesn't accommodate the plural very well.

Ceci n'est pas un cigare.
Ceci n'est pas une pipe.
Ceci n'est pas des cigares.
Ceci n'est pas des cigarettes.
Ceci ne sont pas des cigares. ❌❓ (We hear Ceux-ci ne sont pas des cigares. ✅)
Ceci ne sont pas des cigarettes.

Ce n'est pas un cigare. ✅ (colloquial variant: C'est pas...)
Ce n'est pas une pipe.
Ce n'est pas des cigares. ✅ (Colloquial, more commonly: C'est pas des...)
Ce n'est pas des cigarettes. ✅ //
Ce ne sont pas des cigares. ✅ (more formal)
Ce ne sont pas des cigarettes. ✅ //

Ceci is normally only used for things so for a teacher, ce is expected:

Ce n'est pas un professeur.
Ce n'est pas une professeure. ✅ (some people still object the feminine and would say un professeur even for a female teacher.)
Ce n'est pas des professeurs. ❓ (Dubious : C'est pas des professeurs. ✅)
Ce n'est pas des professeures. ❓ //
Ce ne sont pas des professeurs.
Ce ne sont pas des professeures.

4
  • 1
    I thought 'ceci' was for things but I guess there's no distinction when we refer to persons so 'ce ne sont pas des professeures' would be perfectly valid, right?
    – cdlvcdlv
    Apr 2, 2023 at 15:35
  • 1
    @cdlvcdlv Ceci isn't the best pronoun to use with people. That's the reason why I replaced references to people to references to objects in my reply, where I was more focused on a plural ceci than on the distinction people/thing. It would be rude to use ceci for humans, even more if they are present. On the opposite, ce can perfectly used for people.
    – jlliagre
    Apr 2, 2023 at 18:46
  • 1
    So, is ceux-ci the appropriate plural pronoun?
    – qrsngky
    Apr 3, 2023 at 3:14
  • 3
    Ceux-ci has a slightly different meaning, it's opposed to ceux-là similar to these ones / those ones.
    – jlliagre
    Apr 3, 2023 at 9:01
0

jlliagre answer's is perfectly complete.

Even if it not the purpose of your questions, additional elements about the feminine form of teacher might interest you.

In French, many professions used to be neutral, neutral having the same form as masculine: so un professeur could refer to a man as well as a woman. There are debates in France (and in other French speaking regions) to find feminine forms for professions that did not have one already. Une professeure for instance is somewhat recent but would be considered as valid for most today.

Some other examples:

  • Un acteur / une actrice has been used for very long.
  • The feminine form of auteur is not well established: auteure? autrice?

(The list could rapidly be very long.)

Some would argue that feminine forms should not be created since the neutral form was the standard. On the other hand, others would argue that neutral (and so, masculine-like) forms induce discrimination against women.

1

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.