Ceci and cela

A reader alerted me to the fact that in my French translation of yesterday’s entry, I used ceci dit incorrectly. This is what I had written:

Toutes ces raisons sont valides, mais ceci étant dit, je ne donne jamais de réductions pour les gros projets (…)
(These are all valid reasons, but having said all this, I never give volume discounts (…))

Ceci is cataphoric and as such, refers to what follows. I should have used cela, which is anaphoric and refers to what comes before. This proper use of the two terms is however not absolutely rigid, particularly in spoken French, where ceci and cela have a tendency to be used indiscriminately.
Thanks Jean-Paul!

By | 2016-10-18T15:49:45+00:00 August 2nd, 2007|Technical corner|5 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Tony August 2, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Lamentable! You should give up translation and go into plumbing, or forestry. But you have taught me two new words which I am bitterly ashamed not to have known; I shall take special care in future not to get my anaphorae confused with my cataphorae.

  2. céline August 2, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve taught you anaphoric and cataphoric? Chic, that makes me feel quite euphoric!

  3. Emmanuelle August 3, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Same here Tony!

  4. Jim August 9, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Anaphorae? Cataphorae? I beg you, no! Anaphor and cataphor are the substantives refering to the pronouns used. The plurals are anaphors and kataphors, respectively. The adjectives are anaphoric and kataphoric. Anaphora and cataphora are the nouns refering to the phenomena (which by the way is generically ‘coreference’) and usually have no plurals.

  5. céline August 9, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Jim, long time no comment, lovely to hear from you!

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