List of French of Pronouns

 

french-pronouns

There are links and exercises to every pronoun type in the image.

Just click on the headline below and you’ll find a link 🙂

Subject pronouns

We will not go far in our studies without the subject pronouns.

On is a very interesting pronoun. The translation of on is one.

However, on represents a very common (but informal) way of saying we. For instance:

  • On va partir?: Are we going to leave?
  • On est lĂ : We are here.

Ils and elles can also be a bit confusing for a native English speaker.

However, the rules are quite easy to understand.

We’ll use ils for a group of people including at least one man:

  • Ils vont partir: They are going to leave.

We’ll use elles for a group of people including only women:

  • Elles vont partir: They are going to leave.

Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns allow us to repeat actions on ourselves.

I think you’ve already familiar with one reflexive pronoun?

  • Je m’appelle: I call myself

The m (me) represents a pronoun in this sentence.

Sometimes, we can translate directly into English. For instance:

  • Je me suis blessĂ©: I hurt

Other times it does not really make sense:

  • Je me lève tard: I get (myself) up late

Direct- and indirect pronouns

Why are the direct and indirect pronouns important?

There are several reasons for this.

One is that some of them are tied to different verbs. Without knowing them, you will not even be able to express yourself on a basic level. For instance:

  1. Je l’ai écouté: I listened to him.
  2. Je lui ai écouté: I listened to him.

Which sentence is correct?

Number 1.

Why? The verb Ă©couter is tied to direct pronouns.

This can be difficult to understand, but it’s super important.

I suggest that you read my article on direct- and indirect object.

In that article, there are also exercises for both types of pronouns :-).

Disjunctive/stressed pronouns

I’ve given some examples in the image. Do you see a pattern in the examples?

The stressed pronouns comes after a preposition.

If you translate some of the phrases you’ll see that the grammar is the same in English. For instance:

  • Avant nous: Before us

We don’t say before we, right?

So, one area of application is after prepositions. Another area of application is after c’est. For instance:

  • C’est moi ou c’est toi?: It’s you or me?
  • C’est nous deux: It’s both of us

Possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns tend to be difficult to understand for native English speakers.

There are many different versions, and we need to know the gender of the noun we are referring to.

In the article that I’ve linked to above, I explain them one by one.

However, let’s look at them briefly in this article.

I will give you 4 examples. Examples that are easy to understand :-):

  • C’est ton sac? Oui, c’est le mien.: Is it your bag? Yes, it’s mine.

We will choose le mien because we are referring to a noun in the singular masculine form (le sac).

  • C’est ta table? Oui, c’est la mienne: Is it your table? Yes, it’s mine.

We will choose la mienne because we are referring to a noun in the singular feminine form (la table).

  • Ce sont tes sacs? Oui, ce sont les miens.: Are these your bags? Yes, they are mine.

We will choose les miens because we are referring to a noun in the masculine plural form (les sacs).

  • Ce sont tes tables? Oui, ce sont les miennes: Are these your tables? Yes, they are mine.

We will choose les miennes because we are referring to a noun in the feminine plural form (les sacs).

Indefinite pronouns

This is a group of pronouns (or the lack of) that have different rules. You could even say that this group is a bit messy.

What do I mean by the lack of? Look at this phrase:

  • Ils ne sont pas venus: They did not come.

We could replace this phrase by:

  • Aucun d’eux n’est venu: No one of them came.

There are many important indefinite pronouns that will help you to express yourself in French.

Personne is one example. It would be difficult to figure out that it means no one (along with the negation ne).

For instance, we could say:

  • Personne ne m’écoute!: No one listens to me.
  • Personne n’est venu: No one came.

But, native French speakers will often skip the negation ne or n’. Let’s rewrite these sentences:

  • Personne m’écoute: No one listens to me.
  • Personne est venu: No one came.

Tout le monde is another important indefinite pronoun. One could think that the translation would be “The entire world”:

However, the correct translation is everyone:

  • Tout le monde est content: Everyone is happy.
  • Tout le monde est venu: Everyone came.

The conjugated verb that comes after tout le monde should be in the singular form. In this case we’ll insert est instead of sont.

This is actually quite interesting. One could think that tout le monde would be the equivalent to they.

You should remember this as tout le monde is a very useful pronoun to have in your tool box :-).

 

Where to begin?

 

Do you feel confused by all the different pronouns?

It’s usually a bad idea to just study the grammar related to the pronouns.

I’ve done this, and it did teach me the rules, but not how to speak French.

Thus, my suggestion is that you write a couple of sentences based on what you want to do or your interests.

You can use Google translate to translate your phrases. It’s a good start.

We need to be a bit creative :-).

For instance, let’s say that you want to go to a restaurant with your friends:

  • Nous allons au restaurant: We are going to the restaurant.
  • On veut aller au restaurant: We are going to the restaurant.

We can use two different subject pronouns to express this. Nous is the formal way of saying we, and on is the informal but more common way of saying we.

Now let’s say that some of your friends are often late.

We’ll use ils or elles.

You’ll use elles if it’s a group of women:

  • Elles sont souvent en retard: They are usually late.
  • Ils sont souvent en retard: They are usually late.

In the restaurant, you’ll probably ask the waitress or waiter something.

Should you use tu or vous? They both mean you, right? However, one is in the plural form and one is in the singular form.

Furthermore, we’ll often use vous often in formal settings, or when we address people that we don’t know.

In this case, we’ll go with vous. We could for instance say:

  • Vous avez une table pour quatre personnes: Do you have a table for four people?

Reflexive pronouns and direct- and indirect pronouns

Let’s continue

Reflexive pronouns are tied to many French verbs.

Before going to the restaurant, you might want to shower and maybe put on makeup.

  • Je vais me doucher: I am going to shower
  • Je vais me maquiller: I am going to put on makeup.

In these two examples, we’ve used to different pronouns – je and me.

Let’s say the same thing in the plural form:

  • Nous allons nous doucher: We are going to put on makeup.
  • On va se maquiller: We are going to put on makeup.

We can use both on and nous to say we. In the examples we’ve used both of them :-).

Did you notice that the reflexive pronoun change? Se and nous.

Like I said, we’ll learn a lot by following this process.

Direct and indirect objects are a bit more difficult.

You need to learn the verbs that take an indirect object and vice versa.

Let’s say that you met another friend at the restaurant, and that you talked to him/her.

  1. Je lui ai parlé: I talked to him/her – (lui, indirect pronoun)
  2. Je l’ai parlé: I talked to him/her – (l’, direct pronoun)

Only sentence number 1 can be correct. The verb parler is connected to indirect pronouns.

 

 

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