MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

1431 views

How do I know whether to use 'ce' or 'se'?

‘Ce’ and ‘Se’ are homophones. They sound exactly the same, but their meanings and spellings are completely different:

-‘Ce’ is a demonstrative pronoun. The translation for ‘ce’ is generally “that”, “this” or “it” in English.

-'Se' is a reflexive pronoun. The translation for ‘se’ is “oneself/himself/herself” in English.

So how do I know whether to use Ce or Se?

The rule is simple: there are two possible cases.

1-If the pronoun you are trying to spell is not in front of a verb (so if it is in front of a noun, an adjective, etc.), then you must use ‘ce’.

Example in front of a noun:

> ‘Ce/se chien est très vieux’ (=That dog is very old)

> here, the pronoun you are trying to spell is in front of a noun (chien=dog)

> So the correct spelling would be ‘Ce chien est très vieux’.

Example in front of an adjective:

> ‘J’ai acheté ce/se beau pull’  (=I bought this pretty sweater)

> here the pronoun you are trying to spell is in front of an adjective (beau= pretty)

> So the correct spelling would be ‘J’ai acheté ce beau pull’.

2)If the pronoun you are trying to spell is in front of a verb, then you need to replace the pronoun with the phrase ‘cela est’ (= “it is”) and check if your sentence still makes sense. If it does, then you can use ‘ce’. If it doesn’t make sense, then you must use “se”.

Example where ‘cela est’ makes sense:

> ‘Ce/se n’est pas facile’ (=It’s not easy)

> here the pronoun is in front of a verb (n’est= is not). To know which spelling to use, replace the pronoun with the phrase “cela n’est” (no tricks here! ‘cela n’est’ is just the negative version of ‘cela est’ and means= it is not). Check if your sentence still makes sense.

> ‘Cela n’est pas facile’ (=it is not easy)

The sentence makes sense. Therefore you can use ‘ce’ and the correct spelling would be ‘Ce n’est pas facile’

Example where ‘cela est’ does not make sense:

> ‘Juliette ce/se lave’ (=Juliette is washing (herself))

> here, the pronoun is in front of a verb (laver= to wash). To know which one to use, replace the pronoun with the phrase “cela est”. Check if your sentence still makes sense.

> ‘Juliette cela est lave’ (=Juliette it is washing)

The sentence makes no sense. Therefore, you must use ‘se’ and the correct spelling would be ‘Juliette se lave’.

Voilà, now you know when to use 'ce' and 'se'! Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions!

Leila S. A Level French tutor

2 years ago

Answered by Leila, who has applied to tutor A Level French with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

91 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£20 /hr

Alexander W.

Degree: Combined Honours (French and Latin) (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:French, Latin

French
Latin

“French and Latin Student at Durham University with teaching experience in England and abroad across all levels.”

MyTutor guarantee

Alice J. A Level French tutor, IB French tutor, 13 Plus  French tutor...
£20 /hr

Alice J.

Degree: Business and Management (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:French

French

“My name is Alice Julien. I am an undergraduate student at Durham University and I study Business. I am half French and half Irish, and fully bilingual in both French and English. I am friendly and patient and really eager to be able to...”

MyTutor guarantee

Jennifer F. 13 plus  French tutor, GCSE French tutor, A Level French ...
£36 /hr

Jennifer F.

Degree: Interpreting and Translation (Masters) - Bath University

Subjects offered:French, History+ 3 more

French
History
German
English
-Personal Statements-

“Hello!My name is Jennifer and I am a student at the University of Durham, studying French and German.ExperienceI spent last year abroad as part of my course, where I gained teaching experience both in France and Germany and impro...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

£20 /hr

Leila S.

Degree: International Politics (Bachelors) - Kings, London University

Subjects offered:French

French

“Top tutor from the renowned Russell university group, ready to help you improve your grades.”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other A Level French questions

When do I use the subjunctive in French?

When do adjectives change to agree with the noun they modify in French?

What is the difference between the two French verbs 'to know'; savoir and connaître?

Analysez les messages principaux du livre que vous avez étudié. Que pensez vous de ces messages?

View A Level French tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok