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French Expression of the Day: c’est ça

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French Expression of the Day: c’est ça
Photo: Depositphotos
14:57 CET+01:00
This little phrase is used so frequently, we didn’t even think to explain it until now.

Why do I need to know c’est ça?

C’est ça (pronounced ‘say sah’) is one of those phrases you hear all the time without even realizing it - probably because it’s useful in lots of different situations.

What does it mean?

Literally translated as ‘it’s that’, c’est ça is most often used as a sort of confirmation, the way English speakers will say ‘exactly’, ‘that’s it’, or ‘that’s right’.

For example, Laquelle est ta voiture, la verte ? - Oui, c’est ça. (Which one’s your car, the green one? - Yes, that’s right.) or Je suis sûr que c’est ça ! (I’m sure that that’s it!)

C’est ça can also be used to identify an element of particular importance, like ‘That’s the… (problem, thing, etc.)’:

You could say, C’est ça le problème, ils l’ont jamais connu. (That’s the problem, they never met him.)

Tack a question mark at the end, and c’est ça becomes a search for confirmation, like ‘right?’ or ‘is that it?’

Tu t’appelles Guillaume, c’est ça ? - ‘Your name is Guillaume, right?’

Be careful, though. The French frequently use c’est ça with a good dose of sarcasm, like an anglophone would say, ‘yeah, right’.

Elle ne m’aime pas parce qu’elle est jalouse ! - Ouais, c’est ça... (She doesn’t like me because she’s jealous! - Yeah, right…)

Or, Vous étiez là toute la soirée, mais vous n’avez rien vu, rien entendu, c’est ça (You were there all night, but you didn’t see anything or hear anything, right?). 

Variations

Often, a oui is added before or after c’est ça, or the ça is transformed into a cela (which means the same thing but adds a little emphasis):

Et tu n’es pas venu parce que tu avais peur ? - Oui, oui, c’est cela ! (And you didn’t come because you were afraid? - Yes, yes, exactly!)

For more French Expressions and French Words of the Day you can CLICK HERE to see our full list

 
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