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En ce moment Or À ce moment-là?

May 23, 2023

These two French phrases en ce moment and à ce moment-là often confuse French learners. While both phrases refer to a particular moment in time, they are used in different ways. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between these two phrases and provide examples for better understanding.

 

➤ En ce moment = right now

 

En ce moment is a phrase that translates to right now or at the moment in English. It is used to refer to a specific time period that is happening currently. This phrase is commonly used to talk about ongoing events or situations. For example:

  • Je suis occupé en ce moment. (I am busy right now.)
  • En ce moment, je lis un livre intéressant. (Right now, I am reading an interesting book.)
  • En ce moment, il fait chaud à Paris. (Currently, it is hot in Paris.)

As you can see from these examples, en ce moment is used to describe something that is happening currently or ongoing.

 

➤ À ce moment-là = at that time

 

On the other hand, à ce moment-là refers to a specific moment in the past. It translates to at that moment or at that time in English. This phrase is used to describe an event that occurred at a particular time in the past. For example:

  • À ce moment-là, je ne savais pas quoi faire. (At that moment, I didn't know what to do.)
  • J'étais en vacances à ce moment-là. (I was on vacation at that time.)
  • À ce moment-là, il a réalisé qu'il avait fait une erreur. (At that moment, he realized that he had made a mistake.)

As you can see, à ce moment-là is used to describe a specific moment in the past and is usually used in conjunction with a past tense verb.

 

➤ More Examples

 

  • En ce moment, je regarde la télévision. (Right now, I am watching TV.)
  • À ce moment-là, j'ai réalisé que j'avais perdu mes clés. (At that moment, I realized that I had lost my keys.)
  • En ce moment, je fais mes devoirs. (Currently, I am doing my homework.)
  • À ce moment-là, il pleuvait. (At that time, it was raining.)

 

➤ Conclusion

 

The main difference between en ce moment and à ce moment-là is that en ce moment is used to describe an ongoing event or situation, while à ce moment-là is used to describe an event that occurred at a specific moment in the past. Another way to differentiate between the two phrases is to look at the tense of the verb used with each phrase. En ce moment is often used with present tense verbs, while à ce moment-là is used with past tense verbs.

Complete the sentences with en ce moment or à ce moment-là:

1. ____________, je suis en train de regarder un film avec mes amis.

2. Les magasins sont bondés ___________ car c'est la période des soldes.

3. ___________ , je n'étais pas très intéressé par cette proposition, mais maintenant je pense que c'est une bonne idée. 

4. ___________ , il pleuvait des cordes et j'étais en train de conduire. 

5. Qu'est-ce que tu fais ___________ ?

6. ___________, je ne peux pas parler, je suis en réunion.

7. ___________, je ne savais pas quoi faire de ma vie.

8. Je me sens fatigué ___________, j'ai besoin de faire une pause.

9. ___________, il neigeait et il faisait très froid.

10. ___________, il y avait beaucoup de monde dans la rue.

 

Answers:

1. en ce moment / 2. en ce moment / 3. à ce moment-là / 4. à ce moment-là / 5. en ce moment / 6. en ce moment / 7. à ce moment-là / 8. en ce moment / 9. à ce moment-là / 10. à ce moment-là

 

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