French Expression of the Day: c’est ça

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 26 Feb, 2019 Updated Tue 26 Feb 2019 14:57 CEST
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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?). 


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



The Local 2019/02/26 14:57

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