MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

1529 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

90 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

Selin B. GCSE English Language tutor, A Level English Language tutor,...
£20 /hr

Selin B.

Degree: French and Italian (Bachelors) - York University

Subjects offered:French, Spanish+ 1 more

French
Spanish
English Language

“I am a friendly, enthusiastic, and hard working young person who loves to inspire and encourage young people to achieve and succeed. ”

£22 /hr

Tori M.

Degree: French and Spanish (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered:French, Spanish+ 2 more

French
Spanish
Maths
Extended Project Qualification

“Who am I? I am a first year university student studying French and Spanish, with lots of enthusiasm and an open-minded approach to teaching students of all ages and abilities. Teaching Style I believe that every student is different...”

£22 /hr

Jill M.

Degree: Modern Languages and Cultures (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:French, Spanish+ 2 more

French
Spanish
Maths
History

“I'm in my second year at Durham University studying French and Spanish. I love languages and am eager to help you with your French or Spanish studies in any way that I can!”

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

What is the present subjunctive and when is it used?

How do adjectives work in French?

How to stop making mood mistake after "que" in frenchstop making mood mistake after "que" in french

Analysez les méthodes utilisés par le dramaturge que vous avez étudié pour atteindre ses objectifs. A votre avis, dans quelle mesure est-ce qu’il atteint ces objectifs ? (AQA, Using example text of 'Le Mariage de Figaro')

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